Ntegra’s CIO, Andy Jefferies talks to Raj Jalan, CEO and founder of Device 42, about their journey so far, how they are helping clients manage and modernise their IT infrastructure, and what they have planned for the future.
Can you tell me about the founding story behind Device42?
I was in the services industry, helping companies migrate their tech stack to newer technologies. The biggest challenge I faced was that companies never knew what they had, where it is and how it is all connected. I generally spent 60-70% of time figuring all that out.
So, I looked around and didn’t find a good software product that offered a consolidated view of servers, network components, storage, and applications. This was critical because previously siloed teams across server, storage, and networking were merging and the lines of responsibilities were starting to blur due to virtualization. Cloud has since driven this trend even harder to the point that an enterprise really needs a single software product to discover and manage the whole IT ecosystem which is Hybrid. All the products in the market at that time and even today — other than Device42 — are focused on silos and not something that is tracking the whole IT ecosystem as an integrated whole. That led me to start Device42 in 2012.
I met my now co-founder Steve Shwartz early in the process and, for the next two years, we did coding and selling as a two-person company and towards the end of 2014 we had closed about 80 customers and about 1/2M in recurring revenue. Many of our customers were large tech giants like Cisco, Avaya, Oracle, Western Digital, Fujitsu and newer tech companies like app dynamics and newrelic. We closed our series A in Dec 2014, started building the team, and closed our series B in Feb of this year. We have had 100% YoY growth in the past 5 years with millions of assets under management.
Our customer base spans 60+ countries and we accessed more than 250k workload for digital transformations alone. While we have large direct enterprise customers, our go-to-market strategy is working with Global and regional SIs and MSPs and we work with close to 200 of them today.
What have been the market drivers behind your pivot/diversification from Datacentre Infrastructure Management (DCIM)? What category do you know see Device42 leading on?
The biggest change since starting Device42 has been the rise in virtualization and cloud. Virtualization was the first trend and we evolved Device42 to fully support a wide variety of hypervisors. Cloud came next and, again, we grew Device42 to support all of the major cloud service providers. Since then we’ve seen the rise of technologies like containers and Kubernetes – and once again we’ve added support. Interestingly, we’ve seen growth on the other end of the curve: legacy technology. So we’ve added and expanded our support for mainframes and other legacy infrastructure.
IT Ops and ITSM is a crowded space. What makes you stand out? Do you present a rip & replace opportunity, or are you filling a new need?
I think there’s a number of things that separate Device42 from our competitors. First, I think we provide much higher value. When you purchase Device42, you get comprehensive device discovery plus tools like CMDB, DCIM, and ITAM – all in the same software versus purchasing separate tools.
Our discovery is very comprehensive. We like to say that we discover everything from mainframes to Kubernetes. And we do all of that automatically and agentlessly. We also provide everything you need for digital transformation. So I don’t think there is another software package that provides all of these capabilities.
We backup our software with incredible support. Now every company says they provide great support, but I’d encourage you to look at reviews of our software on websites like IT Central Station (www.itcentralstation.com) or G2 (www.g2.com) to see what actual customers say about us. We actually have it built into our company values – we strive to be “shockingly easy to do business with”.
To the last part of your question – we are used for any of these specific functions, often replacing tools like ServiceNow Discovery. In digital transformation, we’re often the first tool deployed to assess the environment prior to migration.
What are your most common use cases for customers?
The use cases are quite varied. We’re deployed in more traditional data centre management use cases, and are also often used as an organization’s CMDB. In these cases, we’re often integrated into their ITSM tools like ServiceNow, Freshservice, and Jira Service Desk. There’s incredible power in having all of that information integrated into those systems. It can really speed up resolution times.
We’re also used in digital transformation. So whether it’s moving to the cloud, migrating a data centre, merging data centres, or application modernization, we’re used to make sure that there is a deep understanding of the applications before any move or change is made.
Our newest use case is in automation. Device42 integrates with common Configuration Management tools like Chief, Puppet, and Ansible. That means that those tools can access Device42 to pull information prior to an automatic deployment and then Device42 will automatically update with the new server information. So it’s Device42 that’s bridging the gap between IT and DevOps.
Has there been any surprising edge cases?
What’s surprised me the most was the number of customers that have told me that they view Device42 as a collaboration platform. I had never thought of it that way, but we get that feedback consistently. Specifically, they’re using it as a central hub for communicating across IT and DevOps, and as their master view of their infrastructure. We see this a lot in companies with federated IT organizations – where you can have multiple groups working on the same infrastructure. In these cases, having one place that has all of the information on your IT estate is invaluable.
Understanding our IT estate can be a critical component in embracing Cloud strategies. How have your customers benefited by investing in Device42?
Many of our customers are operating in a hybrid world. They have moved some applications to the cloud while also maintaining traditional data centres. For companies and organizations like this, Device42 provides a single view of that entire IT estate across both cloud and data centre. So for those customers, there is immediate value in getting that holistic view.
These organizations are also constantly evaluating applications to determine the ideal location for applications to match the needs of their customers. And Device42 can help there as well. First we provide application dependency mapping tools to first determine all external dependencies before they move to the app to the cloud. This is critical to reducing the risk of failure on the other side of a migration.
Second, we provide tools for measuring the resource utilization of your infrastructure and then combine that with a cloud recommendation engine. Our customers use these to put together move groups and waves, with the exact infrastructure sizing needed for any cloud, whether that’s AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. And finally, we provide one-click export to common migration platforms like AWS Migration Hub and Azure Migrate, as well as to tools like Carbonite, Cloudendure, and Rivermeadow. All of this means that our customers can move to the cloud with confidence.
What does the future hold for Device 42? What are you excited about on your roadmap?
We’ve got a lot coming up in the next year. First up will be an expansion of our integrations with several key partners. Next, we’ll be launching new discovery functionality that I’m incredibly excited about. Finally, we’ll be launching a SaaS version of our platform that will make it even easier to get a complete view of your IT estate.
To discover more about how Ntegra and Device 42 can help you with your organisation manage and modernise your IT infrastructure, please contact us.