By Peter Nichol Thursday 15th December 2016

Scaling with Open Source Software

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Overview

As we close out what has been an exciting year for Instaclustr, which has culminated in our recent announcement of a $7m private investment round, I thought it was timely to provide some insight into our company and plans for 2017 and beyond.

Over the last 3 years, for the most part, we have been flying under the radar. We have developed our solutions, grown our operational experience and our customer base in a careful and considered manner.  However, with the recent well documented and discussed changes in the Apache Cassandra project,  we have decided to increase our participation in the community on which we rely.

Our approach

There is no hiding the fact that we are now one of the major commercial organizations working with Apache Cassandra and other related data-centric technologies such as Apache Spark.   This realization has made us reevaluate our priorities and strategy and we have made the decision to shift to deploying and supporting purely open source software technologies.

Our business model focuses on services and solutions that add value and deliver the underlying OSS technologies in a pure and non-proprietary format.   There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly,  our customers benefit from the maturity and reliability of a well supported open source platform and secondly, they avoid being locked into any specific vendor.

Technology lock in does not scale

Technology lock in does not scale, especially when you are talking about the immense deployments that Apache Cassandra is built to support.   When an organization such as Facebook, the originator of Apache Cassandra, has a vision of having every single person on the planet with an account, technology lock in and reliance on a single vendor is a considerable risk.

For us it simply comes down to ensuring that we are adding value for our customers when they look to deploy some of the most powerful open source data-centric technologies.  In fact, our focus is providing continual value through our services instead of locking  our customers into deploying an expensive proprietary technology and forcing divergence from an open and transparent code base.

It’s simple. If we are not adding value then our customers are free to find an alternative.   This keeps us on our game and ensures that we will continue to deliver an awesome customer experience.

The power of OSS Apache Cassandra

Open source Apache Cassandra is an enterprise ready solution. As an open source project there will be continuous improvements by a wide team of industry experts and users – including of course by Instaclustr. While this occurs, it continues to be used by some of the largest companies in the world at tremendous scale  for their most important cloud applications and platforms.

There are many contributors to Apache Cassandra and there are many very large organizations that are dependent on the power of this amazing technology. The community and project is growing a vibrant commercial ecosystem that is comprised of many small, medium and large providers. Some have focused on providing services such as consulting and development, whilst others have also built products on top of and around Cassandra.  Others are using Cassandra as an embedded/OEM foundation for an always available, highly scalable product such as Genesys and Kong.

Our strategy

So what’s next for Instaclustr?  Obviously we plan on making 2017 a very big year.  The 3 major elements of our strategy are:

  1. Open Source Data Management Platform.   Over the coming months you will see us add additional data services to our managed services, including search and messaging capabilities.   Our vision is to provide an open source data management platform that will provide all the tools necessary for our customers to deploy applications at immense scale. Our value will be in the management, tuning and ongoing operational support for the entire integrated data layer.
  2. Broaden our reach.   We will be going beyond our current public and hybrid cloud customer base to provide the opportunity for users with private data centers and related environments to use our platform.  We want everyone to be able to easily adopt Apache Cassandra for their applications.
  3. Community focus. We firmly believe that the best version of Apache Cassandra is and will continue to be Apache Cassandra. Recently, we made a commitment to increase our contribution to Apache Cassandra by formally dedicating engineering resources to the project. We will soon be making more announcements on our increased commitment to supporting the Apache Cassandra project.

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