Virtana shows a renewed sense of focus

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It’s been over a year since I last spoke with Virtana, so it was good to get an update from Jon Cyr, VP of Product Management and James Harper, Director of Product Marketing. 

Virtana’s heritage, and its key strength, was in on-premises infrastructure performance management of critical, high-volume systems. Through its hardware and, more latterly, software taps it has been able to capture and analyse a greater volume and granularity of performance and availability metrics in real-time than most of its competitors. The acquisitions of Xangati and Metricly increased its ability to monitor and manage performance in public and hybrid-cloud, but brought with it the challenges of integration and moving its legacy systems to a SaaS based model. 

In my last conversation with Virtana in 2021 I got the distinct impression that its focus was switching to cloud cost management and cloud migration workload planning. I wondered at the time about the implications for its existing on-premises infrastructure performance management customers. But it is clear, that under the new management of CEO, Kash Shaikh and his significantly refreshed team, there is a new sense of focus that includes a strong commitment to infrastructure performance management across public, hybrid and private cloud as well as legacy on-premises systems. 

Virtana Platform is its over-arching solution and is now clearly structured into four key areas; infrastructure performance, capacity planning, cloud cost management and workload placement. While physical taps have been retained due to customer needs in particularly high volume, latency critical application areas, there has been a progressive move to using newer, software oriented, metric, events, logs and traces, as well as ensuring that these features are available on a SaaS basis as well as on-site licences. 

This is not to say that other areas like Cloud Cost Management, Workload Placement and Capacity Management have been de-emphasised. Far from it. Rather there is clear understanding of the Virtana Platform’s core underlying strengths. While AI (Artificial Intelligence) is deployed to analyse and make sense of the huge amounts of data the platform captures, Virtana doesn’t claim to be an AIOps vendor. Despite its strong dependency mapping capability that ensures that monitored infrastructure is ‘application aware’ Virtana recognises it is not an APM (Application Performance Management) vendor and hasn’t fallen into the trap of using the term Observability. 

Jon and James were also keen to talk about the fact that Virtana meets the Rule of 40, over 20% revenue growth and 20% free cash. This may sound like an arcane accounting term, but it is recognised as a key benchmark for SaaS based vendors that have gone through the initial high revenue growth, low or no profits phase of venture capital startups and have developed mature management techniques to deal with lower growth. As a recent McKinsey article states

Spending needs to align with realistic growth forecasts, and growth from existing customers driven by customer retention, cross-sell, and upsell takes on greater significance. Knowing which levers to pull and which targets to aim for is especially important in SaaS…” 

Getting the mix between direct and indirect sales right is part of that process. Virtana focuses its direct sales efforts on larger enterprises in financial services, healthcare, software and services, and telecoms, while 75% of its revenues comes through strategic alliances with CSPs, OEMs, MSPs, GSIs, and VARs.  

Virtana has built a strong set of capabilities targeted on specific challenges businesses face in moving to and then managing the Cloud. It is also a go-to vendor for companies for whom ensuring lightning-fast performance and zero downtime are business imperatives. It has a strong product roadmap moving forward, and this now feels like a company that has matured and developed over the last couple of years and that has a clear picture of where it sits and the value it brings to customers.