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November 21, 2019

AIOps Startup with ‘Open’ Emphasis Raises Cash

Tech investors are betting that automated IT operations will be among the first significant enterprise applications for AI.

Artificial intelligence for IT operations, or AIOps, and the application of machine learning to data is beginning to attract venture capital as investors look for nuts-and-bolts automation applications that will deliver quick returns on investment.

The latest beneficiary is BigPanda, an autonomous operations startup, which this week announced a $50 million funding round. The Series C investment will be used to extend its “open” AIOps platform from IT and network operations through to DevOps teams.

BigPanda, Mountain View, Calif., said the round was led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia, Battery Ventures and Mayfield Fund. The AIOps startup has so far raised more than $120 million.

BigPanda’s value proposition is filling the gap between legacy tools and the issues faced by IT, network and DevOps teams attempting to support hybrid cloud deployments and emerging cloud-native applications. Those architectures bring with them complexity and velocity that are outstripping operators’ ability to keep pace.

The result, the startup says, are more frequent incidents and outages that last longer with broader impact on overall operations.

BigPanda’s platform includes “open box” (as opposed to “black box”) machine learning that provides operators with a measure of explainable AI that is touted as offering more control and “testability.” That feature addresses skepticism among some early adopters who expressed doubts about the reliability of recommendations delivered by AIOps tools.

The AIOps platform also includes a root cause capability designed to accelerate the tracking and resolution of incidents and outages. The tool utilizes machine learning to analyze what the startup says are the three key IT data sets: alerts, changes and topology incidents.

The third leg in the AIOps stool is an “open integration hub” designed to allow enterprise users to ingest data sets generated across all infrastructure monitoring tools. The hub comes in the form of open APIs that are designed to work with existing tools, the startup said.

Those features reflect growing enterprise demand for automated monitoring tools as IT managers are bogged down in routine operations.  For example, a survey released this week by Internap Corp. (NASDAQ: INAP), the datacenter, cloud and networking specialist, found that nearly half of IT administrators it polled said infrastructure tasks like server monitoring and maintenance were the primary drain on their time.

Many viewed the handoff of monitoring tasks and workloads to the cloud as a way to expand their job descriptions as infrastructure converges around automation and data analytics tools, the cloud migration study found.

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