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7 Jul

A Look Back at SevOne’s Beginnings

Steve Mahoney and Vess Bakalov at SevOne

At first, SevOne was just a dream for Vess Bakalov.

So to bring his vision to fruition, he knew he needed to build a team. In 2005, Bakalov reached out to the University of Delaware – his alma mater – looking for a front-end and a back-end developer.

That summer, the SevOne co-founder and CTO got more than he bargained for with two UD interns – Steve Mahoney and Doug Manley, who worked out of Bakalov’s Wilmington apartment.

The two continue to work at SevOne, but in different capacities.

Mahoney quickly “graduated” from his internship and was hired as a UI Developer. Much has changed in the User Interface realm from 2005 to now, he said.

“Technology changes so rapidly. Even in the past few years – the number of libraries and entire frameworks is staggering,” Mahoney said. “When we developed web-UIs in 2005, there was no such thing as AJAX or websites having dynamically updating content. We used to have to trick the browser to do so.”

After working in UI development, Mahoney moved on to architecture, where he was guiding designs and trying to make sure the company used best practices for front end development.

From there, he moved on to product management where he focused on data visualization and analytics.

Last year, Mahoney was instrumental in SevOne’s acquisition of RapidEngines. He was then promoted to product line manager for SevOne’s Performance Log Appliance (PLA). He’s now responsible for the day-to-day operation of the PLA and for making sure product enhancements get to market.


Now, as SevOne celebrates its 10th anniversary, we look back at how the company has progressed, shifted and adapted to industry changes.

In one very obvious way, the company has grown from an organization that could count the number of employees on one hand, to a company with nearly 500 employees in offices in Wilmington, Philadelphia, Boston, London and across the globe.

We caught up with Mahoney to get his insight into how he has seen the company mature.

SevOne: Do we treat the process of delivering our product any differently now than we previously did?

Steve Mahoney: Culture is something I love to talk about. It can make or break a company’s success and every company is unique. What’s always been true for us – everybody has a voice. The culture of our birth grew from valuing aggressive delivery of new products. We were competitive and speedy in terms of getting to market.

We have shifted a bit as we’ve grown and established ourselves. We still value innovation first and foremost. But we also recognize the value of quality and the completeness of what we are delivering. The difference is ensuring long-term customer satisfaction and the ability to look ahead and develop for the future.

For years, we delivered 1.0 features and quickly moved on. Now we focus on the complete product. It’s a much richer and much more satisfying experience for the end user.

S1: How are we adopting technology differently, as compared to 2005?

SM: I remember when NetFlow was becoming a big deal. But it was still just a big deal through announcements, conferences, webinars, etc. Cisco marketed it and talked about it extensively at Cisco Live! We’d talk to engineers and other folks in IT at our booth after a keynote. They admitted it would take several years before some of these technologies would be implemented in the enterprise.

Today, there’s such a focus on being future-ready for technology. By the time you see an announcement – they’ve already got tons of traction, prototypes, and deep relationships with partners and customers. It’s important for us today to have those same deep relationships.

The products we deliver that work with a new technology have to be mature by the time Cisco announces it. And it needs to be released sooner than people are adapting it.

Technology time scales are also shrinking. We could have predicted 10 years into the future – 10 years ago. Now, it’s a daunting task to look 5 years ahead and make such a prediction because of the rate of speed and adoption in our industry.

S1: Has our mission changed since those humble days in the apartment back in 2005?

SM: We still hold true that data collection and visibility are number one.

But we’ve grown into a world where visibility is not limited to just the hardware – it’s far more complicated than that. It’s about having a complete view of service delivery.

Our visibility mantra is still there. And now we’re finding clever ways to utilize the data to build more sophisticated work-flows and analytics. It’s also not just about more ways of collecting the data, it’s about better ways of collecting the data, smarter ways.

It’s about breaking down the various data silos and discovering new ways for seemingly disparate technologies to work together.

S1: What technologies are you excited about that could impact the industry?

SM: In the past year, we’ve broken into unexpected data sources like environmentals -- monitoring power consumption and temperatures in the data center.

Another evolution – with the prominence of IoT – is with mobile devices and application management. And we’re watching the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). People are using their own phones and laptops outside of the network, reaching in. And that has an impact.

Besides making sure we have an aggressively open collection engine, we also need to be heavily focused on understanding relationships – especially in the realm of Software-Defined Networks (SDN) where everything is so agile and dynamic. We need to learn service topologies and understand changes to infrastructure in real-time.

We have to be OK living in a world of “the temporary.” These things won’t last forever. Entire parts of the infrastructure will come and go and we have to be prepared for that.

For more on monitoring, watch our video “How to Monitor the Performance of a Software Defined Everything-based Infrastructure.”

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