Snyk's plan to shift right

Today: Snyk's CEO explains how even the security market is prone to slowdowns, Nvidia isn't slowing down for anyone, and the latest moves in enterprise tech.

Snyk employees on like a cruise ship deck or something, as seen from overhead, probably a drone.
Snyk is likely to be the next enterprise tech IPO, but CEO Peter McKay said it has the luxury of biding its time. (Credit: Snyk)

Welcome to Runtime! Today: Snyk's CEO explains how even the security market is prone to slowdowns, Nvidia isn't slowing down for anyone, and the latest moves in enterprise tech.

(Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Runtime each week.)

Piece of mind

For many years technology buyers and investors had assumed security companies were somewhat immune to macroeconomic forces, given how important their technology has become for anyone trying to run a business on the internet. That mentality ended abruptly last year as those businesses realized they had to cut costs to survive in an era of rising interest rates, forcing even security companies to confront the fact that things had changed.

Snyk went through two layoffs in 2022 and 2023, but in a recent interview CEO Peter McKay said he believes that the company, and the industry, has turned a corner. Its focus on developer experience — building helpful security tools that can be plugged into applications in the early stages of the development process — won converts among rank-and-file engineers, and a focus on integrating those tools into a platform impressed business executives who were tired of spending on dozens of piecemeal tools.

Excerpts from our conversation follow below.

On the myth of "recession-proof" security companies:

For years, [CISOs] used these kind of legacy solutions that were always after the fact and more runtime. We came up with this developer security category, embedding security earlier in that software development lifecycle, and it was a very new concept. And so [they were] like, "OK, I'll try that, and I'll keep the old [products]."

Then the market goes through this correction. And so where everybody kind of bought two of everything, [now they were] like, "OK, let's take the better of the two."

Security has always been so fragmented, all these little point products that do all these pieces. And what's happened is companies are gravitating to more platform-based [products], where I can get more from one company that can pull some of these pieces together. We've had a fully integrated process, but we've also made eight acquisitions to bring all these pieces together that make it easier for customers.

On the evolution of observability into security:

Our view is we know how the application is built from the developer.… We know everything about that app. We know all the assets surrounding the app, the complete kind of inventory of all the bill of materials that go into that app. And so we believe that it is a position of strength to go right, [rather] than it is to go [from] right to left.

(Editor's note: "Shift left" became a rallying cry over the past few years among tech vendors who want customers to incorporate their technology earlier in the software development cycle, or to the left on this flowchart of that cycle.)

On the push and pull between developers and security teams:

Every company in the world, every CEO is trying to get more productivity out of developers and generative AI is turbocharging developer productivity. There is this gap between developers who are building faster and faster in generating more code that is more flawed and more vulnerable than non-generative AI code, and security is just trying to keep up.

On a potential IPO:

We're just watching. We've raised enough money to pick our time. And we'll see enough companies go in and check and see if the water is warm, and then at some point we'll make the move.

We always saw ourselves as a public company. But I think we're in a fortunate position where we can actually pick that timing, and that's kind of what we're doing.

Read the rest of the interview on Runtime.

Living in an Nvidia world

Whatever becomes of the generative AI boom, Nvidia is the clear winner. It has nearly tripled its revenue in over the last nine months, and there's no sign ahead that demand for its GPUs will slow down.

On Wednesday Nvidia reported fourth-quarter revenue of $22.1 billion, comfortably ahead of what Wall Street's already feverish expectations had predicted. That's a 265% increase compared to the prior year, and revenue from Nvidia's data center division — which has powered the early days of the generative AI era — rose an astonishing 409%.

Nvidia also exceeded Wall Street's forecasts for the current quarter, and its stock rose 16% on Thursday. It's interesting, however, that more than half of Nvidia's data-center revenue comes from cloud providers — Charles Fitzgerald estimated that Microsoft accounted for 22% of its fourth-quarter revenue — who are feverishly working on their own AI chips to reduce their reliance on the company.

Enterprise moves

Ayman Abouelwafa is the new CTO of Hitachi Vantana, joining the company after serving as the CTO of HPE's storage business.

Ahmed Shihab is the new corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure storage, after eight years as vice president for infrastructure hardware at AWS.

The Runtime roundup

Intel announced that Microsoft will use Intel's foundry services to manufacture its homegrown processors, as the fabled WinTel alliance enters a new era.

Google rolled out Gemini Business, a Workspace generative AI tool that costs $20 per user per month, and unveiled two new "open" models.

Cisco COO Maria Martinez has left the company after laying off 5% of its workforce last week.

Microsoft will give federal government customers free access to the kinds of logging tools that could have detected last year's embarrassing breach much sooner.

Data Center Knowledge had a fun look at how "on-premise" became shorthand for "on-premises" data centers, which is a mistake I'll never make again after getting an angry email from a grammar purist in 2017.

Thanks for reading — Runtime is off Saturday to focus on some internal projects, see you Tuesday!

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Runtime.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.