Thursday, May 20, 2010

The SIEM Market Discussion Continues

Bill Roth of LogLogic commented on my Twitter exchange with Rocky DeStefano of Visible Risk where we talked about LogLogic's announcement that they were discounting their SIEM product. I then wrote a reply, and it got a little long. So I made it a blog post instead.

Rocky, Paul:
The ClueTrain Manifesto calls markets "conversations", so here goes.....

I think you're falling into a the trap of "conventional wisdom". First off, the basic assumption that the world falls neatly into the SIEM categorization is just plain false. I stand by LogLogic's all starts with log management as the crucial piece, without that key use cases like network forensics are not even possible. Second, the notion that dropping the price is bad is just plain weird. Is LogLogic dropping the price to sell more? Sure we are. Are we dropping the price to take market share? Sure we are. Are we seeing a great response? Sure we are. Since when is saving people money a bad thing?

And we're always interested in a podcast. :)

Bill Roth, EVP

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the comment! And thanks for participating in the dialogue. I think it's awesome that LogLogic is out front and engaging on its business decisions. Very refreshing!

As to your point about log management being that crucial initial component of a SIEM implementation, I agree completely. Log management has also developed as its own market segment as well, independent of SIEM. But I don't need to tell you that. :-)

On the topic of LogLogic's decision to discount its SIEM product, I didn't mean - and I don't believe Rocky did either - that charging less for SIEM is bad, or even a bad business move.

That said, I do believe that for some significant portion of potential customers log management is a commodity technology. However, from my own experience and from everything I've seen to date, SIEM is not a commodity technology, and I'm not convinced it will be. As such, I don't see price as a strong competitive differentiator in the SIEM market.

Following the recent recession, where IT capital budgets still haven't caught up to the (hopefully sustained) economic upturn, I imagine the feedback on LogLogic's price cut has been positive, and that you'll see some SIEM sales where you wouldn't have but for the discount. But in the mid- to long-term, I have my doubts as to whether there is any meaningful gain in market share to be had for LogLogic - or any SIEM vendor for that matter - simply by competing on price with other SIEM vendors.

Let's be frank, if price were a big piece of why companies choose a particular SIEM, Cisco MARS would have the lion's share of the market and ArcSight would be folding. Instead, it's the other way around.

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