Friday, 07 December 2018 13:03

Why open source makes sense for cloud deployments

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Instaclustr is a 100% open-source business, using Cassandra ("one of the most scalable databases in the world") for data storage, Spark for analytics, Elasticsearch for search, and Kafka for messaging, among other pieces of software.

Instaclustr's proposition is that organisations need to be able to massively and reliably scale cloud applications, and if Instaclustr looks after the data layer, its clients can concentrate on their applications, chief executive Peter Nichol told iTWire.

Benefits of open source in this context include the absence of expensive licences, and the flexibility to run the same software in any public cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment. Organisations are looking for "cloud independence", he explained. Eventually it will be possible to run a single Cassandra cluster across multiple cloud providers.

Technologies tied to specific providers can be tempting for start-ups and other small organisations, but they lead to vendor lock-in and exposure to potential price hikes, said Nichol.

By managing a data layer on AWS, Azure, Google and other public clouds — and even on its clients' private clouds — Instaclustr also saves customers from having to build their own teams to look after this function, so they can get to market faster and at lower cost.

All clients need to do is pick a cloud provider, region and the number of servers. Instaclustr's highly automated processes take care of provisioning, monitoring and maintenance.

Around 80 to 90% of Instaclustr's business involves AWS, and that reflects the market, he said. "AWS has been a really good partner" even though the companies compete to some extent.

Disclosure: The writer attended AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS, and interviewed Peter Nichol during the event.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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