Sasha Gilenson is the CEO and co-founder of Evolven, a leading company in IT Operations Analytics. Prior to Evolven, Sasha spent 13 years at Mercury Interactive, participating in the establishing of Mercury’s SaaS and BTO strategy. He studied at the London Business School and has more than 15 years of experience in IT operations. In this interview, Sasha talks about how Evolven solves issues in companies’ IT operations and gives insights into the history and future of big data.
Sramana Mitra: Sasha, let’s start with some context about Evolven. Tell us what you do, how long you have been in business, and what size your company is.
Sasha Gilenson: Evolven was founded in 2007, and went to the market in 2009. So we have been on the market for four years. We are an IT operations analytics company. What we do is we look at detailed comprehensive information on change and configuration in IT environments, and we apply analytics to translate this into actionable operation insight. We are helping to address day-to-day operational management questions. We are a company of 25 employees, with headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey.
SM: Can you give us an idea of what revenue level you are at?
SG: Our revenue is above $5 million.
SM: Let’s talk about what you do in more concrete terms. I would like to double click down on the offering. What kinds of customers do you work with? After that, I would like to do three use cases that illustrate the value of your product and what problems you are solving.
SG: In terms of the customers we work with, they are medium and large enterprises – from Fortune 100 to Fortune 2000 companies. But we also have startups and smaller companies using our technology as well. Essentially, there is a condition for using our technology, which is the complexity of the company’s IT environment rather than its size. Our customer base includes companies from finance, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, web manufacturing, etc. In terms of the use cases, I would say that the target audience for our solution is enterprise IT, with various teams being the users of the operational insight that we provide from development teams to IT operations, including production support, infrastructure teams, and application specialists.
One of the key use cases where we help our customers is incidental investigation. IT operates in complex, dynamic environments that comprise various applications and technologies. While operating, there are stability and performance issues that IT operations deal with on a daily basis. One of the source questions is typically asked when incidents are being investigated is [what parameters] were changed. If the system worked about an hour ago and doesn’t work now, you can suspect that someone changed something.
These systems today carry a lot of configurations with them, and they are very flexible. You have a huge amount of configuration parameters that can affect the behavior of systems. Even the smallest changes can have a major impact on a business system. Those small changes are very difficult to trace. A typical situation when there is a critical incidence is that representatives of the teams are sitting around a table and go through different scenarios: “Network team, did you touch anything?” “No, we didn’t touch anything?” “Database administration team, did you do anything?” “No, we didn’t do anything” “Application team?” “Nothing.” But obviously someone did something. Here our technology helps provide a single point of view, with a very detailed resolution of what happens in the environment. With the use of analytics, we are able to focus these teams on those specific details that can help resolve incidents.