Aiven’s managed services capabilities bring the best of open-source data technologies to multicloud enterprises

With a core portfolio of platform services, Aiven meets the needs of developers, partners and the cloud-native enterprise  

Aiven was founded in 2016 by a team of open-source and cloud experts based in Helsinki who sought to develop a data management platform that capitalizes on the needs of more mature customers who are increasingly leveraging open-source software. As such, many of Aiven’s clients come already knowing what they want in terms of stream processing frameworks, databases, search engines, visualization and analytics. The core driver of value is Aiven’s ability to orchestrate data on a single management platform, which entails getting customers up and running with minimal deployment lag and enabling the integration with existing tool sets on any cloud. The dedication to a robust support model and transparent pricing with lower costs than many competitors are additional underlying factors that position Aiven to continue growing on pace with the expanding Database as a Service market (DBaaS); for reference, in just the last eight months the company has doubled in size to about 150 employees and is backed by a strong venture capital engine, including the company’s latest round of Series C funding worth $100 million, as well as solid new and recurring revenue streams.

Despite coopetive dynamics, Aiven benefits from allying with leading hyperscalers to support clients’ need for multicloud

As multicloud is a core component of its value proposition, Aiven provides customers availability by partnering with all three major cloud service providers (CSPs), including Amazon Web Services (AWS) (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL). In addition to Aiven’s services being made publicly available on the marketplaces of both Google Cloud and AWS, these relationships allow Aiven to provide enterprises with a way to build the services and applications that are enabled by databases on leading public cloud infrastructures, as well as offer a simple migration path for legacy customers. TBR notes that over 10% of Aiven’s customers are provisioning different services to multiple clouds and that many of Aiven’s adopters come knowing specifically which databases or monitoring tools they want to use and where they want to deploy them. While many customers often start with a preferred cloud partner, they ultimately seek to expand to other platforms for greater development autonomy and to avoid vendor lock-in. As a result, TBR believes Aiven’s role as an orchestrator for multiple database services across clouds positions the company uniquely in the market, as Aiven provides customers the degree of neutrality and third-party support required to navigate and manage various dispersed open-source projects.

However, as Aiven offers nine core services — including the widely deployed open-source platform tools Apache Kafka, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Cassandra, Redis, Elasticsearch, InfluxDB, M3 and Grafana — there is a large degree of coopetition as Aiven’s partners offer related services on their clouds and, in some cases, the clouds of other CSPs. The increasingly open, hybrid multicloud approaches of vendors like Google Cloud and even IBM (NYSE: IBM) will prove competitive, yet TBR believes Aiven still challenges its partners when it comes to enabling open-source innovation and helping enterprises deliver this innovation at scale. Meanwhile, as customers increasingly look for a partner to avoid vendor lock-in, Aiven is well positioned to challenge many vendors that trail the market in providing a degree of vendor-agnosticism.  

Open-source technology has become less of a value differentiator and more of a foundational attribute that customers in the cloud database market have come to expect. Vendors in the space must now embed other feature sets and functionality to stand out and navigate the common challenges faced when it comes to modern app development and operational management in the cloud. However, customer expectations go beyond avoiding vendor lock-in, one of the known benefits of open-source technology, to include reducing TCO while improving time to market, security and reliability. Aiven is a managed cloud database services vendor that delivers a unified data platform for both traditional and cloud-native customers looking to deploy data architectures seamlessly and across multiple clouds. By capitalizing on managed cloud services, Aiven has created a way for customers to build, deploy and manage various open-source database management and analytics tools in a self-service manner. With a variety of deployment methods available to customers in conjunction with the benefits of automated security, scalability and resilience, Aiven has demonstrated this value proposition by building a customer base that crosses multiple industries and highlights both customer-facing and back-office analytics use cases.

Oracle sheds bright red branding but maintains database narrative and competitor assault at OpenWorld

A rebranded Oracle aims to improve interactions with customers and partners, but not AWS

At Oracle OpenWorld, the similarities between the renovations to the venue and to Oracle’s brand were undeniable. The Moscone Conference Center, which has been home to Oracle’s annual event for years, underwent remodeling to improve traffic flow and implement modernizations that Oracle used to showcase its own updated user flow and look. Underneath these branding and operational changes, much of the core building blocks remained the same, with some expansions and evolutions.

A new Oracle: Rebranding and partnerships

The most obvious updates came in the form of the company’s new Redwood brand identity, which consists of a more diverse color palette, including an updated shade of Oracle Red, as well as customized Oracle font, textures, illustrations and other visual elements. The intent of the design element changes was to portray a more modern, diverse and ultimately repositioned Oracle experience. The key phrase Oracle employees used to summarize this shift was “more human,” with clear acknowledgement of not only the long-standing negative perception around the Oracle customer experience but also the many operational changes being made behind the visual rebrand to support a change in engagement. Core to this shift are the new Oracle mission statement and an even greater focus on customer successes stories to frame Oracle’s new approach. These stories were most evident in the solution keynotes and marketing investments, such as advertisement takeovers on The Wall Street Journal and Forbes websites, among other mediums.

Arguably part of this rebrand, and definitely part of the change in how Oracle is engaging across the customer and partner landscapes, was the emphasis with which Oracle announced deeper engagements with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), VMware (NYSE: VMW) and the ISV ecosystem as a whole.

  1. Oracle highlighted its June partnership with Microsoft to enable multicloud deployments across both vendors’ cloud services through data-center-specific direct connections. This service was originally made available in Virginia, and availability in London was announced at the conference. The pair intends to further extend these capabilities to U.S. government regions in the Western U.S. as well as in Asia and other European regions in the future. As Oracle workloads had been certified to run on Microsoft Azure in 2014, this expansion enables customers to leverage Azure services while utilizing Oracle’s Autonomous Database. The companies also announced integrations between Microsoft Teams and the new Oracle Digital Assistant, which was developed to support user interaction with business systems that use different language than what is typical for consumer assistants.
  • Additionally, Oracle announced it has partnered with VMware to bring VMware Cloud Foundation to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), similar to VMware’s partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS; Nasdaq: AMZN) and Microsoft Azure, enabling customers to run VMware-based workloads on its bare metal instances. Oracle CTO and Chief Executive Larry Ellison argued the company’s alliance with VMware will enable a truer “lift and shift” of VMware-based workloads from on-premises to OCI with “virtually no change” when the solution becomes available in 4Q19 due to its configuration of bare metal services. The pair also announced unified support for workloads running VMware and Oracle technology together.
  • To better support the ISV ecosystem, Oracle announced the immediate availability of unified billing on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. This addition of a “paid listing” classification goes beyond free listings and Bring Your Own License (BYOL) listings, where the OCI resources were paid separately from free or licensed software, enabling customers to pay for third-party solutions in per-hour increments and using Oracle universal credits. Beyond simplifying customer solutions purchasing, OCI deployment and complete workload billing, enabling the use of Oracle’s universal credits to pay for third-party software positions Oracle’s sales efforts and quotas to support the growing ISV ecosystem.

Additionally, Oracle and Deloitte announced a new alliance at the conference by launching ELEVATE. The alliance will work to execute the goals of Oracle’s consulting business to automate cloud migrations to Oracle Autonomous Databases and OCI through Oracle Soar, Destination PaaS and IaaS. By leveraging Deloitte’s professional services organization and its cloud discovery and automation platform, Oracle will expedite and smooth migrations to protect, and presumably expand, its existing customer base as customers migrate more critical enterprise workloads to cloud environments.