April 2, 2020 By Jason McGee 6 min read

Join me as I sit down with Chris Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of LogDNA, to discuss how our partnership has helped provide a modernized log management solution for customers.

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Video Transcript 

Jason McGee: I’m Jason McGee, and I am CTO for IBM Cloud platform.

Chris Nguyen: I’m Chris Nguyen, I’m CEO and co-founder of LogDNA.

Jason: So great to be here with you Chris, I think we just got a chance to talk about our partnership and what we’re doing. Why don’t you kick off with, you know, tell us a little bit about LogDNA and what you guys do, and then we’ll talk about kind of our partnership together.

Chris: Absolutely, thanks for having me—this is a super fun moment. LogDNA—we help developers, engineers, and DevOps teams monitor and debug their production issues. We aggregate all the logs, whether it’s from servers or OS and platforms, and we put it into a powerful platform that gives you full visibility into your infrastructure, which is pretty fun.

Jason: That’s great. Yeah so, you know at IBM Cloud, we’re trying to build this platform for developers. And logging and observability are so important for developer productivity, and so you and I started work together a few years ago to kind of combine the best of what you guys were doing and bring it to the IBM Cloud platform. It’s been a really journey—why don’t you tell me a little bit about like the growth that you guys have seen over the last year.

Chris: It’s been awesome. Like we—I love being a customer of IKS, and we see the scale and the flexibility that it made perfect sense when we met two years ago. Your world and our world goes hand-in-hand. 

And it’s nice—we’re big believers in multicloud, we’re big believers in Kubernetes, and it’s nice that the bets we made two years ago actually paid off, and it’s actually the future what we think about together.

I think what was nice is the simplicity of IBM Cloud match our simplicity of what we think about. Simple is also powerful—from a usability perspective, from a scale, from a search—and it’s very seamless. That’s the best part, it’s the key to developers and IBM Cloud with the power of LogDNA, so it’s a great win-win scenario.

Jason: Yeah, I mean—so let’s talk about you as a client of IBM Cloud. You know, one of the things that attracted me to LogDNA—really two things—one was this incredible user experience that you guys have built around the developer need for understanding their environments. And two, especially two or three years ago, very forward-looking on, Kubernetes as a platform for running things.

So, you know, what’s worked well for you on IBM Cloud? What do you like about it?

Chris: I think simplicity to scale. So when we think about scale—we do a lot, and we have a pretty lean team that could manage that and scale.

So, I think nowadays, with the power of Kubernetes, you don’t have to maintain it as much, right? So, there’s like—I think you mentioned that 70/30 rule—in the past, you know, 70% is spent on maintaining infrastructure. It’s flipped now, right, and we love that.

So it allowed us to deploy LogDNA on your infrastructure pretty efficiently, and from a customer perspective, it’s easy to use and it matches with the best out there. So, we love it, and we’re super proud to be to call ourselves customers.

Jason: Yeah, and one of the things I think is really interesting is that you take logging as a use case. It’s not maybe what people typically think of with Kubernetes, you know? It’s very data-intensive, lots of information, high ingest rates on logs coming in, a lot of processing—not where people really started with Kubernetes. Any struggles there?  Do you feel that like, you know, I’m doing something on the edge?

Chris: I think we always had the foresight of…the volume of data is growing exponentially. So when you think about that, we had to think about building a platform that’s able to ingest that well and store and search it.

The second is, because of the complexity—we knew the complexity because of DevOps, containers, Kubernetes—it’s gonna be complex and the data is going to be fragmented. So how do we make it simple? And I think our user experience is always magical, and it should always feel that way.

And then third, was like—one size doesn’t fit all, so how do you capture the right platform for developers vs. DevOps vs. security, and that is hard to do. It was a lot of foresight we did—I think we just hit our four-year birthday, and we had that first foresight of like, it should be a beautiful product and less is more. So you’re up and running with Kubernetes with two command lines, which is pretty quick. And you tested it.

Which is awesome and that’s how it should always feel like, you have other things to focus on—your priorities—and us handling the infrastructure monitoring aspect, observability—that should be our core focus, and that’s the benefit of IBM customers.

Jason: So let’s talk about our partnership a little bit. LogDNA it plays an important role for IBM. You know, you are the embedded logging solution within our cloud.

Chris: Yes.

Jason: And, you know, I think that you and I have done a lot of work together to try to make that a seamless experience for our users, our joint users. You know one of the ways that I tried to push our partnership is IBM being a client of yours as well.

Chris: Correct.

Jason: We have this kind of joint relationship, which I think is really powerful. We use LogDNA tremendously within the cloud team and in other parts of IBM to run our own systems. 

And I think that’s taught us a lot about you know how to operate at scale—you’ve pushed the Kubernetes Service hard, which has been good as well. Talk to me a little bit about kind of the partnership angle and kind of how its benefited you guys.

Chris: It’s such a win-win scenario. So, A, we’re customers of IBM Cloud. Second, we get to embed OEM, our product, to your customer base. And your customer base happens in two folds—it’s your customers that you have, but also IBM is their own customer.

And it’s such an honor when we see scale, and that’s the word that resonates a lot. And the reason why you have scale is customers like—Watson uses us, Weather Channel uses us, and that’s a lot of logs, right, and it’s being able to handle that infra, which just talks about so much of like enterprise-ready product.

Not just for IBM, but for IBM’s customers as well, and it doesn’t get more confidence there versus the other options that were out there.

Jason: Yeah, one of my personal favorite moments is when I was at the Masters last year and walking through the Operations Center that IBM runs to run that event, and seeing the team there on the ground who I’d never met using LogDNA and using IBM Cloud, and kind of leveraging that is how they ran that event—and all on their own, self-service, they just consumed the platform.

Chris: That’s amazing. That’s what we’re seeing a lot of—just internal teams using it just because it’s easy if you’re up and running within minutes. And that’s how it should always be, but also the data that you’re capturing and the value of sending alerts. It’s a lot of flexibility—that’s what we think of first and foremost of our product, and it jointly collaborates pretty well.

Jason: Yeah, so what’s next? What is a big thing that you think you guys are focused on next that we can go do together?

Chris: I think when we talk about like, OpenShift is a great opportunity, we talked about Cloud Paks is a great opportunity, and it’s nice that the technology—our technology—is aligned, super aligned with your future path, and it comes down to execution. I think being a lean team, we get to focus on what matters most, but most importantly, our core DNA has always been developers, and it’s what do developers want? How do they get up to speed? And how do you just get them hooked so that we can land and expand over time?

That’s a new movement that we both share together, which is amazing.

Jason: Yeah, I love the lean team. I remember when we first met and, you know, you had this really small, focused team and the amount that, I think, we all lose sight sometimes of you know with cloud, with public cloud, with technologies like Kubernetes, but with all these things we were so used to talking about, we lose sight of like how much people are able to accomplish with small teams using those platforms.

Chris: It was awesome—a great communication between the teams. It was just a vote of confidence both ways, because the fact that IBM was forward-thinking to say who do we partner with, and also the fact that we were able to showcase our technology from scale as one perspective, flexible deployment, but I also love that we’re fully compliant across the board.

It’s PCI, GDPR, SOC II, HIPAA—we were ready. And then it doesn’t get better alignment than having the right overlap. 

Jason: Especially with IBM’s, kind of, focused customer base—the regulated industries that we’re in, like that was really critical that that layer of the platform—which can contain a lot of sensitive data—met those requirements, and that was really key for us.

Chris: Right. And I think we get to collaborate on what our future—our UI/UX looks like. I look forward to, how do you create predictive graphs? So instead of teams walking in setting up their own graphs, if we know it’s Kubernetes, here’s a five graphs you need

to know and where do you want the alerts being sent? So, we always think about building those magical moments and this should feel magical when developers use us.

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