Case Study

GoodData Increases Operational Visibility to Support Business Growth

Executive Summary

GoodData offers a cloud solution that eliminates the on-premises deployment and maintainenance of complex data warehousing and analyses resources and delivers intuitive, front-end data discovery. The San Francisco-based company is the only vendor on Gartner's Magic Quadrant to offer an end-to-end cloud-based business intelligence (BI) and analytics solution. As it prepared to launch its BI platform, GoodData required comprehensive, real-time views of its cloud infrastructure to maintain reliable performance, meet service level agreements (SLAs) and ensure customer satisfaction. Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, the company has seen benefits including: 

  • Enhanced service quality
  • Improved business and operational insights
  • Reduced application development time
Challenges
    • Needed comprehensive, real-time cloud infrastructure views
    • Required reliable performance to meet SLAs and ensure customer satisfaction
    • Desired dashboard views to enable continuous monitoring of site metrics
    • Needed to monitor hundreds of thousands of daily data uploads and millions of data integrations
Business Impact
    • Efficient cloud infrastructure management ensures customer satisfaction
    • Deep business and operational insight, including data visualization
    • Rapid applications development
    • Significantly reduced time spent monitoring issues
    • Proactive services delivery quality control 
    • Quicker application and security issues resolution
    • Improved information for audits and SOC 2 compliance
Data Sources
    • Custom application logs
    • Debug files
    • Third-party services like Salesforce
    • Crontab and CSV files from internal systems

Why Splunk

To track many moving parts in its platform, GoodData captures logs from each component and service. Extracting actionable information from those logs was slow and labor intensive. GoodData considered developing its own log indexer, but had limited resources. The company needed access to real-time business and operational insight.

GoodData considered two solutions: grep and Splunk Enterprise, but grep required too much time and effort. The company discovered that Splunk software could immediately index and parse the company's logs and provide dashboard visualizations to support detailed analyses.

The company deployed Splunk Enterprise in 2009 just as its own platform began accepting the first customer data. Since then, the Splunk solution has improved GoodData’s operations by providing the agility to feed dashboards without coding or scripts.

“Splunk Enterprise was rapidly adopted throughout GoodData because of its flexibility and ease of use," says GoodData's technical support team leader. "Our developers and engineers were able to fill dashboards and start conducting analysis without a steep learning curve. Without Splunk software, we would have needed to hire two engineers to do the same work.“

“Splunk Enterprise gives us a competitive edge by bringing to light analytics and insights buried in logs and other data sources. This intelligence gives us real-time awareness of how our platform is performing and the agility to quickly improve and optimize our applications and services.” 



Team Leader, Technical Support Team, GoodData

Operational insight protects business value

As a provider of analytics as a service, GoodData uses Splunk Enterprise to monitor its underlying infrastructure, including servers, applications and application-level events like user creation, data mart provisioning and data uploads. Splunk software indexes log and debug files generated by its infrastructure, as well as data from third parties such as Salesforce. GoodData teams, including DevOps, security, quality assurance, and technical and customer support, track usage trends in services and application delivery. By extracting insight from logs and other data sources, the teams oversee the health of interrelated systems.

“Splunk software is where we get our own business and IT intelligence," says the team leader. "Daily, we assess how well our solution meets our customers' BI needs. Splunk-powered dashboards are prominently displayed in our offices so everyone, from executive leadership and down, can view the internal workings of our platform.“

GoodData also relies on Splunk for critical security needs. By capturing and indexing logs from security devices and security events, it maintains historical data for auditors and meets SOC Type 2 compliance requirements. 

End-to-end visibility leads to satisfied customers

To remain competitive, GoodData regularly updates and refines its platform. By doing so, the company's DevOps teams continually improves service quality and value. The development team relies on Splunk to help fine-tune applications by assessing their stability and evaluating their impact throughout the stack. Operations personnel maintain service levels, relying on the Splunk solution to track upgrades and releases, again monitoring for post-deployment issues.

“Our Splunk-powered GoodData dashboards radiate information across our DevOps teams to help them build and release new software effectively and quickly," explains the team leader. "To optimize new features, we design them to issue logs directly to Splunk Enterprise.“

Splunk Enterprise is also GoodData's primary tool for verifying that services meet customers' expectations. The solution monitors component thresholds to determine if systems are over-taxed and to reveal behavior that could degrade performance. The managed services team, for example, monitors customers' scheduled data uploads—which can number hundreds of thousands per day—for errors, performance trends and completion times. In order to proactively address potential issues, GoodData's IT teams have configured the Splunk platform to issue alerts for 150 instances of pre-defined component behaviors.

Ensuring cloud performance

GoodData depends on Splunk Enterprise to provide customers with superior cloud-based services. Splunk plays a role in every facet of operations and performance analytics. “Splunk Enterprise is our first line of defense against slowdowns and outages that might undermine our customers' faith in GoodData," says the team leader.