How Wavefront monitoring frees up Centrica Hive to focus on emerging tech

The smart home company has found a monitoring solution to support its growing cloud-native platform


Centrica is committing fully to the cloud within its smart home division Hive, as it aims to become the largest IoT company in the UK.

Starting out as a smart thermostat business in 2012, Hive has now grown to incorporate smart lighting, leak detection, motion detectors and more.

© Hive
© Hive

Now, with the support of Dell Technologies subsidiary VMware, the company is looking to bring all of these aspects of its business into a single cloud platform. 

The first step for Hive was to host everything on cloud-based infrastructure, a decision it made three years ago as it sought to find an architecture which would allow for metrics-driven insights and real-time visibility.

Read next: Hive harnesses IoT data to personalise smart home customer experience

Next the company looked for a monitoring solution which would free up its technology team to focus on important things, like where the next big innovation in smart home technology was coming.

“We have a product called Wavefront for monitoring. It’s been absolutely transformational in terms of how we have been able to visualise and monitor our platform,” Chris Livermore, head of technology and operations at Hive Home told Computerworld UK during VMworld Europe in Barcelona last week.

Wavefront is a tool for enterprise scale cloud monitoring which was acquired by VMware last year. It was built to provide automated monitoring capabilities for users moving to the cloud, which for Hive means freeing up IT time to focus on the most important things.

“I think the primary benefit we get is ensuring that as much of our internal resources as possible are focused on the emerging tech. It’s focused on what differentiates us in the market,” he added.

“With emerging tech, we don’t always understand how people are going to use it. You can’t predict how people are going to behave, and with a system like Wavefront, we don’t need to have all the answers upfront.”

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After using a range of open source tools which didn’t work for them, Hive opted for Wavefront as its best bet for monitoring.

“We would build the software, we would come up with a premise of how the software should operate and we would write a set of tests to prove that so you had to have good knowledge and understanding of what you were trying to test for," he said of its previous monitoring stack.

“Wavefront has turned it on its head and all we’re doing is collecting all the data. So if we think of a test that we hadn’t thought of previously, we can retrospectively apply the test to the data,” he added.

Livermore is also a fan of the dashboards in Wavefront, which shows the teams and executives how the services are working, providing insight into how the developers and tech team are doing.

“A lot of what we do in operations is sitting around looking at systems, putting a finger towards thinking what’s doing what, but with Wavefront we actually have the data to prove or disprove that it’s been invaluable,” Livermore said.

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