Let's Talk Cloudmeter: Behind the Software with CEO Mike Dickey
The Big Data boom has called many companies’ attention to the wealth of information that can be gleaned from user activity online. But once you’ve pulled together all that raw data, what do you do with it? This week Cloudmeter rolled out two new products – Cloudmeter Insight and Cloudmeter Stream- to help companies turn their data into something more useful. We sat down with CEO and co-founder Mike Dickey and COO Ronit Belson to talk about how their new products will change the way companies interact with their users, as well as what they think the future of data analytics holds.
What is Cloudmeter and what do you do?
LOCATION: Mountain View, CA
PRODUCTS:Cloudmeter Stream, Cloudmeter Insight
Cloudmeter is a big data solution that takes real-time network data and transforms it into actionable information for businesses and IT. The end user experience is more important now than ever, and we’re helping companies understand and optimize those experiences, especially as more businesses move to the cloud.
Let’s talk about the new products that you’re introducing this month. What can users look forward to trying out?
We’re introducing Cloudmeter Stream and Insight this month. Stream is designed to help companies leverage the valuable information that flows through their networks. Cloudmeter Insight presents the most advanced end-user management SaaS solution, which focuses directly on helping customers understand and improve the end user experience. It’s the first APM product in a market to offer session replay as a SaaS. Both of our products use what we call ultra-light capture agent, a new technology that we’re launching. It’s a software-only agent that we use to capture the data out of the network traffic and feed it through these products. We can install the agent on all your servers and use it to feed data to both of our products. It’s passive, it’s lightweight, it uses very limited system resources, and it’s also very cloud friendly. You can use it in EC2, Rackspace, and virtualized environments.
When are these products going to be available to the general population? Are you doing a soft rollout and just letting a few people use them, or are they available to the public all at once?
Cloudmeter Stream products have been available to everyone since April 16, and you can download it via our website. Our Cloudmeter Insight products will available as an early access preview release. We are using an invite-based system; we have started to give out more and more invitations to our existing customers, friends and family. Between now and the end of summer we will be giving more and more invites and expanding that program. Most likely, by the end of the summer it will be launched as generally available and open for anybody to sign up.
What does a typical customer look like for Cloudmeter, both on a company level and on an end-user level? Who are your products designed to benefit most?
We have customers of all sizes today- SAP, Saks Fifth Ave, and Netflix, to name a few. The person within the organization that uses the product varies depending on what they are using the product for. We can give examples of how our customers have used Stream, where we’ve targeted the big data space. Insight is a completely new product, and we’re really targeting a slightly different audience with Cloudmeter Insight. For that we’re targeting IT application operations, the people who are responsible for managing health and availability of the application troubleshooting any kind of problems that happen, but our existing customer base varies.
One of our customers is SerenataFlowers.com, the second largest flower retailer in Europe. They were Omniture users when they approached us. At the time they had two main requirements. One, they wanted to get more information for better analytics, and the second is that they wanted to move away from tagging. The way customers get data today is by using tags, but you can’t really tag everything, due to tags’ overhead and other technical limitations. Serenata wanted better data in order to understand not just which pages their customers were on, but what these pages contain. If you think of a typical ecommerce site where you have a lot of products on the page, for every product you have pricing, recommendations, discounts, etc. The only thing they could see before they implemented Cloudmeter is what page was the customer on and what did he click on. They didn’t have visibility into what else was showing on the page at that time. They felt they are missing critical information that can help them optimize their customers’ experience. . For example, one of the questions they were interested in was, “Should I have the highest priced product together with the lowest product on page, or am I better off showing products that are on the same price range? In order to answer that question, they really needed to capture information on everything that was included on the page when the customer clicked on the specific product. They just couldn’t get that information with page tags.
When Serenata implemented our solution, we were able to push it both to Omniture as well as to an internal big data warehouse. Today, Cloudmeter Stream feeds their data into Omniture and Hadoop. With us they are able to leverage the goldmine of big data information that runs through their networks to optimize their customers’ experience. As they started to use our product, they figured out additional use cases for the data we capture and process.
Data collection is getting more complicated for many companies because of the increased use of mobile devices. Does Cloudmeter present a solution for that problem, or is it something that you in the data analytics industry are still scratching your heads?
Yes, absolutely. Our core technology works at the network traffic level, and by using the network traffic we’re able to extract the information that you are looking for regardless of what device the end user is using. They can be using their favorite web browser on the desktop computer or laptop computer and Cloudmeter works just the same as if the same user were looking at your web application from an iPad or from a Galaxy S or whatever device they might be using to access it.
What do you think is next for data analytics and data collecting? What will the landscape of the industry look like a year from now?
I think there’s a growing awareness in the importance of the data that you are capturing and feeding into your analytic solutions, and the importance of having the highest quality data available and having that available in a timely manner. We’ve heard from many customers more and more over time that they struggle with the limitations of the technologies that they are using for data capture. There’s certainly a lot of talk today about big data and about big data analytics. I think the next focus is going to be on where big data comes from, and getting the best quality information into these analytics solutions.
To finish up, if you had to boil it down to one reason, why should our readers check out Cloudmeter?
For our Stream product we’re taking the chaos of network assets and turning them into a gold mine of structured information that you can use with your other big data tools like Splunk, GoodData, and Hadoop, and making that data the highest quality data available in a very timely manner. We do that without having to make any code changes either to the back end servers or the end user interface. Cloudmeter Insight product is the first Software as a Service APM product that uses visual session replay capabilities so that you can actually see the individual visitor sections and all the technical information behind them. It’s very focused on end user experiences, and uses the same lightweight passive-capture technologies that we use for our Stream product, so that there’s minimal impacts to your server loads and no impact to your application performance.
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