Last week Wall Street was treated to two hot enterprise IPOs, Splunk and Infoblox. Both of them offer technology that helps large enterprises with their IT systems. Splunk was expecting to open at $13 a share and surprise, it opened at $17 and closed the day at about $32 … at one point trading got so hot (at $38) that it was halted. Shares hit $37 again today (ended at $34).
It’s now worth more than $3 billion.
Infoblox opened at $16 apiece, above its expected top price of $14. Shares soared to $23 opening day and are trading now at about $20, giving the company a market cap close to $1 billion.
What do these companies do, and why are investors so hot for them?
Their tech isn’t easy to understand, so we’re going to break it down with pictures.
WHAT IS SPLUNK?
Splunk offers a big data software product. Companies download it and install it. They can then take streams of data from lots of different sources and the Splunk software will instantly index it to make it searchable.
There is another technology that does this kind of thing, known as Hadoop. Splunk is not a form of Hadoop. Splunk works in real time and Hadoop typically works in batches. But Splunk can work with Hadoop making both of them even more powerful.
It is difficult to take data from lots of different sources and put it into one system where it can be searched. A tweet doesn’t look anything like an IT systems alert.So Splunk makes it easy to dump all those different kinds of data into one system.
From that instantly indexed data, users can build reports, alerts, and dashboards.
Here are some practical applications:
- Companies can gather and analyse system alerts to discovering what is causing problems with an IT system, or to see the power consumed by various applications and servers.
- Scientists can use it to study data collected on experiments, like earthquake patterns and anomalies.
Big data is only at the beginning. It’s going to be huge and Splunk was one of the first big data companies to go public.
WHAT IS INFOBLOX?
Infoblox is used by companies with large and complicated computer networks.
It solves the problem of automatically managing many devices as they connect and disconnect from the network.
There are virtual servers, physical servers, network equipment, cloud software, PCs, phones, mobile devices and other stuff — like a company’s security cameras.
Each device needs a unique IPv6 address. If any two devices have the same address, that can cause problems.
Today’s IP address looks like this: 192.168.255.255. That’s easy enough for IT professionals to keep track of.
But the Internet is about to turn on a brand new version. Each company will get tens of thousands of new IP addresses and each IP address is long and complicated. A single IPv6 address looks like this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:5370:6954.
Infoblox automatically keeps track of the IP addresses and the devices as they connect and disconnect to the network.
By automating network tasks that a person used to do by hand, Infoblox makes IT systems work faster.
This is particularly important with cloud computing, which relies on a technology called virtualization. This lets companies move stuff around between their own data centres and cloud data centres, and it has to be done fast. Companies need technology that can automate the steps for them. That’s what Infoblox does.
Infoblox already has over 5,400 customers, it says. But networks are getting more complex and there is a growing need for automation, particularly because most big companies don’t use IPv6 at all yet. But they will.