As the buzz around Observability grows, startups are emerging with platforms and tools purpose built for new ways of working, new platforms and patterns. Ilan Peleg and Leonid Blouvshtein, two Israeli software engineers, founded Lightrun in 2019 with the goal of getting flexible instrumentation and management into the hands of developers as early as possible in the software delivery lifecycle, shifting observability left into the CLI or editor, and improving the developer experience for troubleshooting in production environments.
According to the company itself:
Lightrun is a developer-first observability platform. It reshapes the way developers define and consume observability by transforming it to a real-time ops-free process. Instead of the operational ‘end of the funnel’ analysis typically implemented by traditional observability tools, Lightrun shifts observability to the left (IDE, CLI, VCS). By shifting to the left, developers can define what data should be generated by their live applications at runtime based on application state and context, on demand. No hotfixes, redeployments or restarts are required.
The Lightrun architecture consists of three components – the management server, a proprietary Java based agent that runs on application servers, which performs the dynamic inserts of logs, metrics and snapshots into code, and an IDE plugin and command line utility. The IDE/CLI story is important because Lightrun’s goal is that it should be as easy to debug production services as to debug locally, and fitting into developer’s workflows is key to that. Developers shouldn’t have to ask for ops support to improve logging and monitoring support in their apps. The benefit? Lightrun claims customers consistently reduce their mean time to recovery by up to 60%.
- May 2021, Series A Round $23 million led by Insight Partners.
July 2020, Seed Round $4M from Glilot Capital.
Initial customers include Taboola, a high scale content marketing site, which has given Lightrun the opportunity to show that its tools work at scale, across thousands of servers.
- Lightrun Cloud – a managed SaaS platform, customers install and run Lightrun agents and the platform manages data collection etc.
Lightrun On Prem Debugging – a managed on premises solution, designed for ISVs to use in customer support of on premises deployments. Agents are deployed locally, with cloud for data management, allowing the ISV to focus on troubleshooting rather than patching, reproducing bugs in a separate environment, or rolling out a new version simply to improve its instrumentation.
Lightrun started with Java support, but Python and Node.js support are in development.
Competitors include Datadog, Rookout, Sentry, and OverOps. The Observability market is evolving quickly and getting ever more crowded. Incumbent APM, Log management and tracing vendors are responding to market changes and making acquisitions accordingly. Crowdstrike acquired Humio, and New Relic acquired Pixie Labs and IOPipe, for example. There will be a lot of consolidation in this market over the next couple of years.
Being heard among the hype is becoming harder. Lightrun, with its focus on debugging, has a differentiated story though. Unlike the traditional APM go to market, Lightrun focuses on real time fixes by developers. Rather than collecting all system logs, or a subset of them, Lightrun is designed to improve the logs in flight. Developers can define data generated by production apps at runtime.
Go to Market
Lightrun offers a self-service, free-tier version of the core product to encourage adoption, a classic developer-led land and expand play.
Logs and metrics can be injected into production apps without downtime, which makes Lightrun a potentially useful complement to existing platforms. Logs and metrics can be added, and then collected by customers existing tools, platforms such as NewRelic, Dynatrace or DataDog. Packaged integrations include Datadog, IntelliJ IDEA, Logz.io, Prometheus, Slack and StatsD.
Lightrun’s recent $23m funding round will help it build out its sales and marketing, and grow its US and European operations. It will also help the company move beyond Java workloads.
Disclosure: This is an independent piece of research. Clients mentioned include Dynatrace, New Relic and Lightrun itself.