John Meyer

Operations Development Specialist

Topic: Loom Systems, a Company at Which I'd Like to Work

Loom Systems is a startup on the verge of triggering a sea change in IT operations. So it was not a surprise to see from this Twitter post that the Loom team seem comfortable heading out to sea at 5:30 AM on a December Tuesday.

Loom's Strategy

Date Created: 30 December 2017
Date Updated: 18 January 2018

IT Operations guys (of which I am one) are not exactly pushovers when it comes to new and exciting technologies. Again and again, we are asked to drink the kool aid:

  1. Huge player (IBM/Oracle/Novell/Microsoft) presents a monolithic vision. "Why'd I choose X? Nobody ever got fired for buying X!"
  2. Throne is usurped by a scrappy player, a startup, or maybe someone like Linus Torvald.
  3. Formerly high end systems into cheap commodities, a $500,000 system can be had for order of magnitude cheaper total cost of ownership, and maybe some of the savings are in the labor costs.

It's no wonder we are suffering from alert fatigue. And maybe that's because, to keep our jobs, we are the guys who could say "no", at least three times, before finally agreeing to consider changing our religion and throwing our time into what may be the next big pipe dream.

At the same time, some of us also stay on top of the latest stuff personally. I use Waze, as an app to tell me where to drive, when I'm trying to get somewhere fast. Reason? At it's core, Waze is a Google-backed AI machine learning engine. And based on countless repetition by countless users, it is able to tell me with incredible accuracy the fastest path to my destination. How do I know this? It works. Even though I must routinely drive through San Francisco's hair ball of one-way streets, my NPS score for Waze remains a 9 or a 10. In fact, I rave about it.

Well, imagine if such a tool as WAZE existed for the world of IT operations. In other words, what if I was facing a situation that was new and unique to me? Routing out rogue wifi systems in branch offices. Looing for an intruder who keeps reprograming the displays on our printers to read, "Destroy me to save a tree". Creating a PCI zone that can withstand a Trustwave audit. Moving a monster Microsoft SQL Server to AWS so I can run it when I need it, which is twice a month, at a 98% savings.

What would be ideal, for me, in those situations was to have a tool that could provide feedback on the totality of data being emitted by my operational environment, from power and cooling on up to end user mobile browser experience. And what's more, I would like a tool that could look for patterns in that data to provide me not just with useable insights, but actionable information based on the actual incidents that has occurred within their industry-wide subscriber base.

Here's another use case. Let's say I'm not changing anything in my environment, and yet I start to see anomalous activity coming from where? Not sure.What do I do? Do I tell my boss what she wants to hear... e.g., there's nothing to worry about? Do I sound the alarm, create an incident ticket, and gather the forces on a bridge call? Do I start calling contacts in other departments and ask them casually whether they are noticing anything? That lis definitely the path I would have chosen in a pre-Loom world.

Loom systems aggregates data from any number of systems and components, and like WAZE, uses machine learning to translate this into effective and accurate real world predictions. The benefit to me is that I can immediately take appropriate action that is well supported by the data.

Well, So What?

Another monitoring system. Another thing for IT to own and justify. What makes this any different?

What makes this system unique is that, implicit to the business strategy, is real time crowd sharing of threat patterns with others in the customer population. That means that industries can fight these threats together. Loom serves as a panoptic partner to all.

While it competes with the New Relics, Sumo Logics and Splunks of the world, it combines all those functions into a single system. So I have a single vendor to work with, a single 24/7 support team to work with.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing starts at $900 per month, which is a fraction of the cost of a resource to assemble and correlate this manually, much less do analysis. So, a bargain, right?

I'm not sure the strategy is a bargain for Loom. There is an overriding benefit to a significant dataset, and note that most of Google's AI strategy (Search, Android, Docs, etc.) is the acquisition of a maximal dataset. If I make my service anything other than free, I am restricting my dataset. I'd be gathering data from any Joe Blow who wants to send logs from his 2005 Windows XP machine. Maybe my insights could help him cost justify a new PC.

(Google, are you listening, maybe you should buy Loom so they can afford to do this! Please just wait until I get hired there!)

Indeed, one reason for Loom's conservatism may be that there are siginifcant operational costs to scaling up to such a degree . Another reason may be that they are seeking early enterprise partners with whom to refine their approach. Whatever the reason, it does perhaps maximize their ability to focus on value delivery.

Compliance

Loom Systems is compliant with PCI, CSM, SOC, ISOs 9001 and 27001 and various other compliance standards. Credit card industry? Yes. HIPAA? Yes. Loom even meets very tough Department of Defense standards.

Loom's Value Proposition, in a Nutshell

For enterprises who want to achieve true operational maturity, Loom is an advanced analytical system that allows the most advanced level of real time predictive notification, which I would call "proactive notification". Similar to systems like Waze, Loom is designed to identify and emit relevant insights without requiring complex user effort. Unlike many competitors in this crowded field, Loom is completely platform agnostic, which allows users to get the benefit of the totality of data from every system.

Note, the absence of the words "log", "monitoring", "IT." Loom is making a long bet that operational intelligence is not the exclusive domain of the IT department: our worlds are built upon a massive and fast-growing superstructure of machinery... and every machine has a story to tell, if only anyone would hear it.

20171117 1.0.1

Contact Information for John Meyer

(415) 269-6996

jm@johnmeyer.us

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