Providing cloud services on the kind of global scale that Salesforce.com Inc. does involves a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes. To try and ease the load on its IT division, the company this week acquired Coolan Inc., a San Mateo startup focused on automating data center monitoring operations.
The outfit has developed a managed diagnostics platform that promises to provide a centralized view of infrastructure behavior. Its arguably most distinguishing feature is the ability to highlight what specific components are responsible for a malfunctioning server’s technical woes. The functionality was created based on the lessons that Coolan founder Amir Michael learned during his time as the head of Facebook Inc.’s Open Compute Project, which seeks to foster the adoption of so-called hyperscale hardware. Each system developed as part of the initiative is optimized performance and cost-efficiency all the way down to the chip level.
Coolan’s component-level monitoring capability is paired with a recommendation engine that can generate automated suggestions on how to resolve operational issues. In a blog post published on occasion of this week’s acquisition, Amir Michael wrote that Salesforce.com will use his startup’s service to “optimize its infrastructure as it scales to support customer growth”. The company’s in-house infrastructure footprint has shrunk considerably since it started migrating core services to AWS a few years ago, but the data centers that still remain require extensive tooling to support.
Moreover, Salesforce.com could potentially also use the expertise of Coolan’s team to automate the off-premise component of its platform. AWS instances need to be watched just as closely as in-house virtual machines, after all. And while there are plenty of cloud monitoring tools out there, most of them aren’t designed to be used at the scale in which Marc Benioff’s firm operates.