Lightstep Announces New Incident Response Product for SREs

Today we are delighted and honored to welcome Ben Sigelman and RJ Jainandra to the show. Ben is CEO and Co-Founder at Lightstep, a company that built a robust reliability platform to monitor system health, understand changes, respond to incidents, and accelerate release velocity in cloud-native applications. RJ Jainandra is VP of Emerging Business at ServiceNow, an enterprise company building a vast array of services and solutions that transform the way organizations across many industries operate.

Watch & Listen to the full interview episode.

Ben Sigelman
CEO&Co-Founder at Lightstep
RJ Jainandra
VP of Emerging Business at ServiceNow

Lightstep is traditionally known for Observability – why build an incident response product?

Ben Sigelman: We see Observability as having three layers. The bottom layer is the data itself, and for that, we created the Open Telemetry project that all of our competitors and major cloud providers have now adopted. Then there is storage, and Lightstep has innovated a lot in creating a unified storage engine for tracing data. The third layer is workflow and workflows are mostly centered around either performance analysis, generalized debugging in production, or incident response. And for incident response, it is absolutely inefficient to have two totally separate products that have to interact with some kind of bridge. For our customers who are concerned with the number of seconds it takes to resolve an incident, it’s more efficient to use the Lightstep platform for the entire cycle of the incident response process.

Would having Observability and an incident response product close together have an impact on the cost of product support services including size of the support team as well as SLAs?

RJ Janandra: Certainly, there is a positive financial impact because uptime matters. Customers use observability and incident response tools to make their services reliable and resilient. Our solutions allow the context to flow seamlessly from the observability tools, making it quicker to understand why the problem occurs. By making that information available in the incident response we help the SRE teams react instantly, where seconds and minutes matter.

Could you elaborate on your long-term goals for Lightstep? Do you plan to develop the company entirely as an SRE platform?

Ben Sigelman: Lightstep focuses on large, often planet-scale software applications. We think about the company in terms of our mission – creating confidence and clarity for the teams responsible for every aspect of delivering software that powers our daily lives.

The vision for Lightstep as a brand tends to focus more on cloud-native engineering teams. While as part of ServiceNow, our vision is to take insights from our observability platform and make them actionable for SRE teams. With our solutions, these insights become actionable across many aspects of general-purpose operations from SRE to customer success, security, IT operations and many more. 

RJ Jainendra: Lightstep’s instant response tool will provide SRE teams with the ability to act on any signals that they’re getting from the observability platform. This tool is the first of many products that we’re building and soon there will be subsequent products built for teams responsible for delivering reliable and resilient services as we think about the entire scope of application development. We look to expanding solutions that serve the entire application lifecycle as our customers are building more applications that are critical for driving their businesses and the way they engage with their customers and their employees.

How does Lightstep fit into ServiceNow’s vision as a parent company?

RJ Jainandra: ServiceNow will continue to leverage Lightstep to extend the benefits of Observability across the enterprise through solutions that take real-time insights and convert them into actions. These solutions enable ServiceNow’s customers that work across many technology stacks to transition to modern architectures and move to a cloud.

How does Lightstep and ServiceNow foster their innovation culture to deliver that array of innovative products and services?   

Ben Sigelman: ServiceNow is a huge business that generates roughly $5 billion a year revenue and is still incredibly focused on individual customers. When I joined ServiceNow, I was impressed at the precision and specificity that I saw across product and engineering. By talking with individual customers about their problems we look to find a pattern of a common problem for five or 10 customers. Then we generalize to something that can service thousands of ServiceNow’s enterprise customers. That approach to delivering products is sound if you’re trying to address real problems instead of just imagining what a customer might be dealing with and explains the success of ServiceNow as a business.

At Lightstep, specifically pre-acquisition, our way of delivering software differed from ServiceNow’s way. We deployed software 20 times a day to production, and this methodology was intentionally left untouched after the acquisition. Thus, I believe innovations at our organizations combine ServiceNow’s customer focus with Lightstep’s approach to software delivery.  

Ben and RJ, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure. We are so looking forward to the coming updates from the Lightstep team!

Stay tuned for more great interviews coming your way!