Sumo Logic, All In on AWS, Delivers Continuous Intelligence for the Cloud Era


Whereas 85 percent of enterprises have a multicloud strategy, according to a 2018 Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) study, Sumo Logic has created a successful business by betting on and going all in on Amazon Web Services (AWS) since its infancy. Most independent software vendors assume they need a multicloud strategy to balance risk, optimize costs, and take advantage of the best services from various cloud providers. But by going all in on AWS and thus delivering an average of 171 percent return on investment to its customers, Sumo Logic is able to focus on innovation, save money, fast-track its development, and accelerate its time to market to deliver to its customers valuable business solutions.

In addition to building a global software-as-a-service (SaaS) analytics platform on AWS, Sumo Logic became an AWS Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). The company saw it as an opportunity to reach a global network that increased the company’s access to customers and that helped it develop a successful go-to-market strategy that drives top-of-funnel initiatives.

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It hit us right between the eyes. By basically abstracting away the data center—turning it into an API—AWS gave an enormous adrenaline shot straight to the heart of the development community.”

Christian Beedgen
Cofounder and CTO, Sumo Logic

Analytics That Empower Builders

Sumo Logic is a cloud-native SaaS analytics platform that turns machine-generated big data—such as logs, metrics, and traces—into continuous intelligence to drive real-time business, security, and IT insights without the headaches of managing traditional IT infrastructure, middleware, software, and data. Sumo Logic helps companies reduce the time to detect, investigate, and resolve operational, security, and business issues. Every day, its purpose-built, cloud-native service running on AWS analyzes more than 500 PB of data and executes more than 20 million searches, producing tens of millions of insights to more than 100,000 users.

Sumo Logic cofounder and chief technology officer (CTO) Christian Beedgen says “there was never any doubt” that his company’s SaaS platform would be built exclusively on the AWS Cloud. The decision came shortly after Beedgen attended a presentation by Werner Vogels, vice president and CTO of Amazon, in 2008. “He just nailed it,” says Beedgen. “He talked about how avoiding the heavy lifting leaves you more time and space and resources to build the thing that you actually want to build rather than dealing with the lower-level stuff. And the hook was in.”

Perhaps what most attracted Sumo Logic to AWS was that it had basically turned the data center into an API. This made it easier for developers to focus on building out a solution rather than having to spend time managing the infrastructure. “It hit us right between the eyes. It just made perfect sense,” says Beedgen. “By basically abstracting away the data center—turning it into an API—AWS gave an enormous adrenaline shot straight to the heart of the development community. We took advantage of this to create an analytics service that operates continuously, mirroring the economic and operational advantages of AWS. Today our joint customers benefit from the deep integrations between Sumo Logic and AWS to move faster and create better customer experiences.” Because Sumo Logic is delivered as a SaaS, enabling customers to avoid software or hardware installation and maintenance, those customers can typically go from zero to full production monitoring and troubleshooting deployment in less than a month.

Before launching Sumo Logic, Beedgen worked for a software provider and saw that even though the company offered a great product, it was frequently bogged down by the technical issues of customers that struggled to manage and scale the software on their operating systems. “The enterprise-deployment model was just too painful,” says Beedgen, “and the value was skewed toward maintenance versus the product itself.” Witnessing that struggle sparked the idea to run the backend as a service. Rather than deploying software that would have to be adjusted to suit each customer’s operating system, Sumo Logic would package its AWS-built backend directly to its customers. Doing so nullified many of the technical issues and enabled Sumo Logic to focus on the larger picture of providing the best-possible software services it could to customers. This directly translates into benefits for its customers, regardless of size and spend. Just as Sumo Logic benefits from AWS, its customers benefit from limitless scale and cloud efficiency, fast time to market, and problem resolution. And all customers, big and small, access the same services without disruption. Being all in on AWS lets Sumo Logic offer its customers creative integrations that deliver immediate value. Many customers cover up to 80 percent of the technologies they monitor by using Sumo Logic’s out-of-the box AWS apps.

Forging a Symbiotic Relationship

In 2010, Sumo Logic built a brand-new cloud-native, multitenant SaaS architecture using a variety of core AWS services that are still in play today—notably Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance; Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud; and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), a cloud-based, distributed relational database service designed to simplify the setup, operation, and scaling of a relational database for use in applications. Much of Sumo Logic’s architecture relies on the vastly scalable, durable storage of Amazon S3, which also has management features that easily configure access controls. Using those easily enabled Sumo Logic to build into its platform compliance controls to help companies meet PCI, HIPAA, System and Organizational Control (SOC) 2, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, alleviating the burden for Sumo Logic’s customers. “It checks all the boxes,” says Beedgen. “Amazon S3 basically took away a large hassle that we would have otherwise engineered.” Rather than building competing products from scratch, Sumo Logic builds additional functionality on AWS to meet the needs of customers. Meanwhile, the company relies on AWS to update the software, resolve infrastructure issues, and provide resilient services. AWS sets up regions and Availability Zones and offers layers of resiliency, all of which have given Sumo Logic the tools to design a highly resilient and available service and the flexibility to focus research and development (R&D) on innovation rather than infrastructure maintenance. Building its SaaS solution in the AWS Cloud also enables the company to reduce products’ time to market.

The Benefits of Going All In

According to Bruno Kurtic, cofounder and vice president of strategy and solutions at Sumo Logic, part of the synergy between Sumo Logic and AWS is due to a shared business philosophy. “We follow the AWS philosophy to do what is needed for the customer to be successful, and that will pay future dividends,” he says. The company plans to use its AWS solution to broach new geographical market regions. “The learnings from the strategic collaboration agreement and the things around the marketplace are helping us tackle new markets,” says Ramin Sayar, CEO of Sumo Logic. “What we’ve learned is that the needs of digital businesses change rapidly. Running on AWS means we can adapt quickly, and as a result, we’ve built rich functionality on top of our Continuous Intelligence Platform to address a plethora of use cases across operations, observability, security analytics, compliance, audit, Cloud SIEM enterprise, and business needs. And we expect this to grow as we tackle more markets on AWS.” AWS enabled Sumo Logic to support customers who were interested in regional expansion as well as customers with a global footprint who needed to deploy rapidly into new markets. AWS also enabled Sumo Logic to use higher-value services versus the lowest common denominator, resulting in a leaner staff and increased tooling and feature-release velocity.

The knowledge that Sumo Logic has gained about AWS solutions by using them for its own business has proved valuable in serving its customers. “We are now able to help our customers going through that journey to AWS, such as by building microservices-based applications that are more resilient, more scalable, and faster and that deliver a better overall experience,” says Kurtic. In fact, many customers have used Sumo Logic to accelerate their migration to AWS—whether it’s a lift and shift or a refactoring of their application—because the company provides the insights to reduce mean time to investigation and mean time to resolution by 80–94 percent. At the same time, its customers are not limited to the AWS services Sumo Logic uses. They have the flexibility to use whatever tools, AWS or otherwise, they believe are best for their businesses because Sumo Logic provides insights on any technology, regardless of whether it runs on premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

Since the launch of Sumo Logic, AWS services have continued to provide what the company needs. “If it works, stick with it,” says Beedgen. He says the API aspect is another reason Sumo Logic has stayed exclusively with an AWS infrastructure. “All these aspects of operating our system through the API make it so that maybe a third or half our system is actually logic or configuration that pertains to sort of instantiating and operating the system.”

But the solutions are not the only reason Sumo Logic chose AWS as its cloud service provider: it also reaps the benefits of being part of the APN. Even as a fledgling company, Sumo Logic had a global reach through the APN, increasing its visibility to potential customers. “Ten years ago, Sumo Logic was a tiny business working with a leading company to develop a selling methodology and go-to-market methodology that is partner friendly,” says Kurtic. “That’s one of the early things that changed our trajectory, and it’s probably changed the trajectory of many others.” By serving as a member of the APN, Sumo Logic built go-to-market strategies that helped it enter new regions and verticals. And AWS provided Sumo Logic with field automation engineers and solutions architects who were trained to align with its business proposition to help take its solution to market. Sumo Logic’s collaboration with AWS is strategic and operates on multiple levels, such as innovation of new services, participation as a launch partner on AWS services, exploration of new consumption and selling models through the AWS Marketplace, and collaboration on go-to-market programs available through the APN.

By leaning in to the APN and using AWS as a single-source cloud provider, Sumo Logic grew from a small startup to a global SaaS company, reducing its need for low-level R&D, increasing sales, and speeding up products’ time to market. For now, many tech startups may believe a diversified cloud platform is the best way to go. But Sumo Logic is setting the stage for a single-cloud strategy on AWS—and it’s seeing the results.

About Sumo Logic

Founded in 2010, Sumo Logic offers companies a cloud-native SaaS multitenant analytics platform that processes machine-generated big data to deliver real-time business, security, and IT insights. The California independent software vendor serves more than 2,000 enterprises globally.

Benefits of AWS

  • Delivers a 171% return on investment to customers
  • Helps companies comply with PCI, HIPAA, SOC 2, and GDPR
  • Cuts mean time to investigation and mean time to resolution by 80–94%
  • Reduced products’ time to market
  • Achieved scalable, durable cloud storage
  • Designed a highly resilient and available service
  • Reduced need for low-level R&D

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching and backups. 

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