Prior to launching Dassana, CEO and co-founder Gaurav Kumar was involved in a fair number of startups. His most recent one prior to Dassana was RedLock, a cloud security company he sold to Palo Alto Networks for $173 million in 2018. He said that everywhere he went, he used logging software and it almost invariably resulted in a big bill, something he set out to change when he launched Dassana.
Logging involves a lot of data related to application performance, operations and security. If you try to cut costs around logging, it generally means that you are getting less visibility into your systems. He said his goal in starting Dassana was to reduce the cost around logging without that corresponding loss of data.
The way they are doing that is by changing the way log data is stored, which he says makes it not only cheaper, but also makes it easier to search and query against that data.
“These days, the logs are extremely structured, meaning they have very defined fields. So what we are able to do is store these logs in a columnar fashion, much like how the Big Data Hadoop ecosystem evolved over the last like 15-20 years now, and that allows you to analyze large volumes of data,” he said.
“I would say that we are the only vendor that for the first time is bringing this structured Columnar Compression to logs.” If you’re wondering why existing logging vendors haven’t done this yet, he says it’s only because of recent advances in columnar compression that his company has been able to take advantage, and legacy vendors with older technology are at a disadvantage because of that.
Dassana is able to separate storage and compute, which means you pay separately for storage versus when you query the data. When combined with the compression techniques, customers can reduce logging bills by as much as 10x-20x, he claims.
In addition, because the data is structured in a database-like fashion, it enables customers to query the data using SQL, a language that many IT people are familiar with.
It’s early days for the company, which is making the service generally available starting today. It has a dozen employees, but Kumar says the company is aggressively hiring, and believes by being a mostly distributed company, he can build a more diverse team because he’s not confined to one geography like the Bay Area.
He also says that the company doesn’t necessarily look for a background in computer science, and that enables him to find a broader pool of applicants, but he admits that hiring is a struggle in general, and the more filters you apply, the more difficult it is.
Dell Technologies Capital led the company’s funding with help from several industry angels.