Big Data Startup Sumo Logic Taps Former VMware, HP Exec As New CEO

Sumo Logic, a startup that sells log management and analytics software, said Tuesday it has hired VMware and Hewlett-Packard executive Ramin Sayar to be its new president and CEO.

Sayar takes over for Vance Loiselle, who had been Sumo Logic's president and CEO since May 2012 and is stepping down for family reasons, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Sayar spent most of the past five years at VMware as senior vice president and general manager of its cloud management business. He also spent three-plus years at Hewlett-Packard as vice president of products and strategy for HP Software.

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At Sumo Logic, Sayar will be tasked with getting more organizations on board with running log management and analytics software entirely in the cloud, and explaining why this approach is a better way to identify security issues and keep their operations running smoothly.

Sumo Logic has more than 500 customers, and most are IT operations administrators, security and compliance teams, and application developers, Sayar told CRN in an interview.

Sumo Logic runs 100 percent of its business on Amazon Web Services, and it's also a close AWS partner with several joint accounts, according to Sayar. As is the case with AWS, customers can go to Sumo Logic's website, sign up with a credit card and start using the service in minutes, he said.

Sayar believes Sumo Logic's all-cloud approach gives it a leg up on Splunk, its main competitor in this space, which had a successful IPO in 2012.

Splunk sells enterprise software that runs on premises, but last month it debuted its version that runs on AWS. Sayar, however, told CRN that the product is basically just a hosted instance of Splunk's on-premises software and doesn't take full advantage of what the cloud can offer.

Sayar's background at channel-friendly companies like VMware and HP will come in handy as Sumo Logic looks to boost its indirect sales model.

Sumo Logic primarily sold directly to customers until about a year ago, when it began moving to a channel model and working with MSPs and ISVs to incorporate its technology with their products, said Sayar.

Sumo Logic partners can work with customers to build analytics and insights on top of the Sumo Logic service, and Sayar said they don't have to go through a costly certification process to get there.

"We're not asking partners to carry the costs and expense of training, as they would with a perpetual hardware or software model," Sayar said.

Sumo Logic has raised $75 million in three rounds since its founding in 2010, the latest a $30 million venture round in May led by Sequoia Capital and existing investors Accel Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Greylock Partners, according to CrunchBase.

Sayar told The Wall Street Journal that Sumo Logic may raise even more money, and also that it "aspires to a big IPO," though he didn't say when that might happen.