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Winning in the cloud space: A Finnish company’s unique approach

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Commentary: The Finnish firm Aiven is competing in a crowded cloud market with an strategy that appears to be paying off.

Picture: iStock/Rawpixel

It is a unhealthy thought to guess towards Finland, a minimum of relating to open supply. Regardless of Finland’s diminutive dimension, it is given us a number of the largest names in open supply like Linus Torvalds (creator of Git and Linux), Monty Widenius (creator of MySQL), and Mårten Mickos (former CEO of MySQL). The Finns, in different phrases, do not appear to know their place. 

Aiven is not any totally different. Began as an open supply information cloud in 2016, Aiven affords managed companies for a spread of open supply initiatives, together with Apache Kafka, Elasticsearch, and Grafana. The corporate should not be doing effectively: Bigger cloud opponents provide related companies, with gross sales groups which are extra geographically proximate to prospects than Finland-based Aiven. And but, as Hannu Valtonen, the corporate’s chief product officer, informed me in an interview, Aiven is doing very well, with information underneath administration rising 5X within the final 12 months.

How is Aiven managing this? In a really Finnish vogue: By doing cloud in another way than bigger opponents. 

SEE: Cloud Information Storage Coverage (TechRepublic Premium)

Standing out within the cloud crowd

Valtonen and I had been speaking about Aiven’s latest managed service, Aiven for M3–M3 being the time sequence database open sourced by Uber. Time sequence databases are sizzling as a result of “the variety of the metrics that you just wish to acquire has grown astronomically within the final couple of years, particularly if you happen to containerize purposes,” Valtonen mentioned. M3 had been on Valtonen’s radar ever since he heard about it at FOSDEM, however as Aiven buyer wants for a sturdy time sequence database grew, Aiven determined to construct a managed service round it.

That is superb, however hardly distinctive. In spite of everything, Aiven’s M3 transfer follows plenty of different cloud providers–large and small–that provide managed time sequence databases. How does Aiven hope to face out?

Not like single clouds that function a number of companies, or single companies that function throughout a number of clouds, Aiven “operates a number of totally different companies throughout a number of totally different clouds, and we do all of them with a twist.” The twist? It isn’t really one “twist,” however a number of, as Valtonen defined.

First, Aiven has been providing totally different managed companies, like Apache Kafka, for longer than most others. Second, Aiven tends to remain present with open supply releases, providing prospects probably the most up-to-date variations, in comparison with different cloud distributors. However it’s the third “twist” that actually units Aiven aside, in accordance with Valtonen.

“Now we have made fully totally different architectural choices on how we create these companies,” he mentioned. Relying on the cloud vendor, you is perhaps utilizing Elastic Block Storage or Azure Blob Storage or Persistent Disk for persistence and backups. If a buyer chooses a extremely obtainable service, the usual strategy, in accordance with Valtonen, is to provide the shopper the grasp server after which replicate the information on the block/disk degree to the opposite availability zone. Aiven, against this, makes use of Postgres native replication, which permits them to make use of native SSDs for native disk storage, which, in accordance with Valtonen, affords higher efficiency. (Aiven supplies its benchmarks on GitHub.) 

SEE: High cloud suppliers in 2020: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, hybrid, SaaS gamers (ZDNet)

Aiven’s strategy additionally has it relying quite a bit on object shops: The corporate compresses and encrypts information earlier than pushing it to those object shops. This enables Aiven to solely pay for compressed object storage prices for backups, enabling them, in Valtonen’s phrases, “to have a lot larger, longer backup retention for customized offers.”

I do not understand how this works in apply, however Aiven’s strategy has enabled it to face out in a crowded cloud market. It is a very Finnish factor to do, taking a novel strategy to open supply contributions and competitors. 

Disclosure: I work for AWS, however the views expressed herein are mine and do not essentially mirror these of my employer.

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