ServiceNow acquires Lightstep, aims to leverage observability across enterprises

With the purchase, ServiceNow is taking the plunge into software development workflows.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

ServiceNow is buying application monitoring and observability company Lightstep in a move to combine workflow automation for IT and AIOps with software development.

Lightstep plays in a crowded observability and application monitoring market that includes Dynatrace, BMC, Datadog, Sumo Logic, Splunk's SignalFx, New Relic and a host of others.

ServiceNow isn't worried about Lightstep's competition. The company is aiming to bolster DevOps engineers' ability to build, deploy, run and monitor cloud-native apps. CJ Desai, chief product officer for ServiceNow, told ZDNet the goal is to "transform software development like we transformed IT."

Desai said the appeal of Lightstep is that it offers visibility into the full software stack without bouncing between platforms. ServiceNow will combine its AIOps and IT workflow automation tools to "seamlessly connect insight with action across all the tools, people, and processes involved in delivering digital customer experiences," said Desai. "With this acquisition, observability is no longer restricted to just DevOps."

Here's a look at Lightstep's architecture. 


For ServiceNow, Lightstep will also bring engineering talent. Lightstep's team helped to create the open source OpenTelemetry project and previously worked on observability technology at Google, developing Dapper, Google's distributed tracing system, and Monarch, the search giant's global metrics and monitoring platform.   Lightstep, which has raised $70 million in venture funding to date, was co-founded in 2015 by CEO Ben Sigelman, COO Ben Cronin, and Chief Architect Daniel Spoonhower.

The plan for ServiceNow is to extend its digital enterprise fabric across its portfolio of IT products (ITBM, ITOM, DevOps, SecOps, and ITSM) with Lightstep. In addition, Lightstep's technology will bring observability to a wider range of customers.

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Lightstep has a free community edition of its platform, a pay-as-you-go service for teams and annual subscriptions and volume discounts for enterprises. 

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Here's how Lightstep and ServiceNow will come together:

  • Lightstep's tools will be integrated into ServiceNow's IT workflow portfolio.
  • Observability will enable ServiceNow to coordinate technical and team response with real-time insights on actions to take.
  • ServiceNow is going to extend Lightstep's technology to other parts of the enterprise. Lightstep CEO Sigelman said "we've always believed that the value of observability should extend across the entire enterprise."
  • Lightstep's technology is used by GitHub, Twilio, Spotify and Grubhub, but ServiceNow will be able to cross-sell the company's wares to broader enterprises.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. 

It's safe to say observability is a hot space in technology. Recent headlines include:

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