Virtual Instruments Rebrands As Virtana In Push To Hybrid AIOps

The startup has seen major swings over the last decade but now feels ready to redefine its business and introduce itself to new customers looking for more automation in hybrid cloud monitoring and cost optimization.

Virtual Instruments, the IT monitoring startup that's seen major swings in leadership, product and strategy since its inception a decade ago, has rebranded itself as Virtana as it plunges into the next phase of an ambitious road map.

The new name, unveiled at the 2019 Gartner IT Symposium Monday in Orlando, Fla., is an acronym that reflects the renewed company's focus on automating threat detection: Virtual Instruments Real Time Analytics And Automation.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has consolidated acquisitions to position itself as a hybrid cloud offering for mission-critical workloads in a rapidly developing market for advanced monitoring, cost optimization and threat detection, CEO Philippe Vincent explained to CRN.

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[Related: Virtual Instruments Looks To Ease Partner Transactions Across Multi-Vendor IT Stacks]

The new name "better embodies our value prop," Vincent said. "It’s a big deal for our company to change its brand, and a good opportunity to redefine ourselves and introduce us to brand-new customers."

There had been thought of rebranding for some time, Vincent said, but last August's acquisition of Metricly was "the final step to taking us out of our cocoon."

Metricly, based in Reston, Va., added true public cloud competence to a product line that had previously focused on monitoring on-premises infrastructure and application deployments.

Virtana customers still maintain important assets on-premises, and a number continue to invest in new data centers, Vincent said.

"But they see their future unambiguously as hybrid and are asking for solutions to move to hybrid and manage it from there," he said.

Metricly added that final component for a portfolio that is application-centric, scales across on-premises environments, but has been "rearchitected to prepare for its cloud future," Vincent said.

As part of that broad rearchitecting, Virtana's flagship product, VirtualWisdom, has been containerized to facilitate cloud-scale deployment.

That product will now be delivered on a single pane of glass through a Software-as-a-Service model, although the company will continue to invest in its on-premises products, Vincent said.

"We wanted native cloud and native on-prem and to create a hybrid application around the two of them," he added.

Virtual Instruments had been on a long and winding journey since its early days with Microsoft Chairman John Thompson as CEO.

A shakeup in 2016 saw Thompson's departure. Two acquisitions that same year—Xangati, which focused on network monitoring, and Load DynamiX, another storage performance solution—laid the groundwork for the shift to helping customers "understand how infrastructure and applications perform together," Vincent told CRN.

Vincent joined with the merger of Load DynamiX, the company he previously helmed.

While Xangati's product line has been phased out, that deal provided a breadth of engineering talent that was critical in developing the next-generation VirtualWisdom portfolio that addressed all three elements of modern monitoring: performance, risk and cost.

"Our IP was about really understanding the relationship between workload behavior and performance. We learned a lot during those days,” he said.

In the couple years following those deals, with customers increasingly relying on "skeleton crews running large and more dynamic environments, we had no choice but building more automated IT solutions," Vincent said.

That strategy led Virtual Instruments into the emerging sector of AIOps—a cutting-edge approach to managing infrastructure that applies machine learning and deep analytics to enable predictive capacity management and discover issues before they cause problems.

"We think current AIOps trends will bring hybrid AIOps to solve a really important problem for customers," he said.

That technology will drive a fundamental change in how enterprises monitor their heterogenous infrastructure across on-premises and public clouds.

Metricly made that road map possible. As another monitoring company focused on the combination of risk and performance, but with public cloud roots, it was like finding "our long-lost cousins," Vincent said.