NetApp acquires Instaclustr to deliver open source databases as a service

Companies producing software are becoming ever more reliant on open source databases to build their programs, but it’s complex working with all these different products. Instaclustr, a California startup, wanted to change that by offering popular open source databases delivered as a service.

Today, NetApp bought the company for an undisclosed amount. Instaclustr gives NetApp customers a way to install popular open source databases without worrying about the headaches of dealing with the raw open source. Among their supported projects are PostgresSQL, Apache Kafka, OpenSearch, ElasticSearch and Apache Cassandra.

This the latest in a series of small acquisitions for the company, which traditionally has delivered data and storage management services. In a blog post announcing the deal, NetApp executive vice president and general manager Anthony Lye said the acquisition was ultimately about improving customer experience by making it easier to install this software.

“The acquisition of Instaclustr is a strategic next step for NetApp; to do more for the customer, simplify the experience, continuously optimize and secure the platform so customers don’t have to do it themselves,” he wrote.

When combined with other acquisitions the company has made recently, there is a pattern here as the company tries to shift from legacy storage vendor to something that is more relevant for customers today looking to manage workloads in the cloud.

“We’ve made a series of strategic acquisitions including Spot, CloudCheckr and Fylamynt to deliver FinOps. And with Cloud Hawk, Cloud Secure and CloudCheckr, we now deliver SecOps. We deliver solutions for our customers’ most pressing cloud needs — scale, performance, speed, efficiency, security and cost,” Lyn wrote.

Ben Bromhead, CTO and co-founder at Instaclustr sees the two companies producing a logical combination for customers. “From a technology and product perspective, NetApp’s powerful infrastructure solutions pair perfectly with Instaclustr’s data-layer-as-a-service solutions and services,” he said in a statement.

Instaclustr was founded in 2013 and raised around $22 million, according Crunchbase data. NetApp was founded in 1992 and went public in 1995. The stock is up slightly this afternoon. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of FY2023.

Berlin’s Tilo raises seed round to tackle unstructured data sets with a serverless platform

As is commonly the case, datasets used inside companies almost always come from diverse sources and in different, unstructured formats. Connecting them up can lead to a be a very large headache. But if it can be done, there are all sorts of benefits, especially in finance, such as fraud detection, KYC/AML checks etc. This is a problem particularly faced by financial firms, but it could also be useful in the areas of Covid contact tracing or general business intelligence.

The main platforms used at this point include Neo4j, Senzing, or Neptune from AWS. Alternatively, companies try to build their own solutions using Elasticsearch. But it remains a big problem to solve.

Now a new Berlin startup, which has tested its theories after being spun out from a larger corporate, is poised to tackle this thorny problem.

Tilo’s data infrastructure tool TiloRes says it helps companies match data points from different sources and formats, by being both serverless and doing it in near real-time and at scale, claims the company.

Tilo has now raised €1,200,000 in pre-Seed funding led by European VC Peak Capital which put in €640,000). The funding round was joined by Berlin-based Tiny VC (Philipp Moehring), First Momentum Ventures, Enduring Ventures and Angel Investors including the founder of Algolia and the former CMO of Contentful to name a few.

Peak’s investments include global auction marketplace Catawiki, headless content management system GraphCMS, and omnichannel communications platform Trengo.

As well as applications for KYC/AML, Tilo plans to offer its solution for free to anybody working in Covid contact tracing.

Founded in November 2021, Tilo has started pilot projects together corporates and startups. As its business model, Tilo charges a license fee based on the volume of data companies are processing through TiloRes. Because its serverless, the costs scale with the usage, making it cheaper than server-based solutions.

The market Tilo is taking on is large, and worth approximately $65 Billion according to Gartner.
Steven Renwick, Tilo CEO, said: “Our biggest advantage is that searching, matching and evaluating data (e.g. when checking for fraudulent behaviour in an online payment process) happens in near real-time, no matter how much data is added, or how complicated the entities become. This is important for modern needs, which nearly always demand real-time response rates.” 

Tilo’s founding team, Renwick (CEO), Hendrik Nehnes (CTO), and Stefan Berkner (Chief Development Officer), were formerly the technology team at Regis24, a German consumer credit bureau. However, Regis24 agreed to spin out their solution and take a strategic stake in the startup.

Madeline Lawrence, Head of DACH Peak commented: “To be really honest, I didn’t grasp what Tilo was solving at first. Then I realized: we struggle with data matching ourselves. If CRM duplicates and spelling differences cause us such a headache, imagine the pain when the stakes are higher, the need is real-time, and the data in question is an order of magnitude larger.”

Render secures $20M Series A to scale its DevOps cloud platform

DevOps cloud platform Render, which won our Disrupt SF 2019 Startup Battlefield, announced today that it closed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Addition alongside existing investors General Catalyst and South Park Commons.

Addition first made a small investment in Render in February 2020 when the company was not looking to raise a round, co-founder and CEO Anurag Goel told TechCrunch in an email. 

Render announced its last raise in October 2020, a seed round for $4.5 million, after seeing strong inbound interest on the heels of Disrupt. The latest round brings the startup’s total funding to $26.75 million. 

The San-Francisco based company will use the proceeds to triple its employee base, currently 35 people, by the end of 2022, with a focus on product and customer growth, Goel said. It also plans to expand its data center footprint globally to at least 10 new regions in 2022 to improve latency, launching for the first time in both APAC and EMEA.

Among the new features it plans to roll out are a free plan for web services and databases to increase access to its product, as well as built-in DDoS protection for its customers, Goel said.

Most of Render’s customers use its platform for their entire cloud presence, according to Goel. Some of its notable customers include publicly-traded Anker, online developer community Indie Hackers, and Web3 platform NEAR

Goel added that many of its customers host popular open-source projects like Elasticsearch, MySQL and MongoDB on Render as an alternative to expensive managed versions of these services, because Render has simplified the process of managing such projects.

Render competes with the “big three” cloud providers — Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud — by offering a large suite of features at a competitive cost. Goel said many of Render’s customers migrate to its platform from Heroku and AWS because it provides “increased flexibility, better performance, and access to modern features like infrastructure-as-code, private networking and persistent storage.”

Once a customer chooses what service to deploy, Render helps them manage the process and infrastructure. 

“AWS and other large providers were built for the 2000s, when managing infrastructure was the norm at every company,” Goel said. “While the big three offerings require expensive and scarce DevOps engineering resources to manage, we offer simplicity and a world-class developer experience at a fraction of the cost.”

Elastic acquisition spree continues as it acquires security startup CMD

Just days after Elastic announced the acquisition of, the company is making yet another security acquisition. As part of its second-quarter earnings announcement this afternoon, Elastic disclosed that it is acquiring Vancouver, Canada based security vendor CMD. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

CMD‘s technology provides runtime security for cloud infrastructure, helping organizations gain better visibility into processes that are running. The startup was founded in 2016 and has raised $21.6 million in funding to date. The company’s last round was a $15 million Series B that was announced in 2019, led by GV. 

Elastic CEO and co-founder Shay Banon told TechCrunch that his company will be welcoming the employees of CMD into his company, but did not disclose precisely how many would be coming over. CMD CEO and co-founder Santosh Krishan and his fellow co-founder Jake King will both be taking executive roles within Elastic.

Both and CMD are set to become part of Elastic’s security organization. The two technologies will be integrated into the Elastic Stack platform that provides visibility into what an organization is running, as well as security insights to help limit risk. Elastic has been steadily growing its security capabilities in recent years, acquiring Endgame Security in 2019 for $234 million.

Banon explained that, as organizations increasingly move to the cloud and make use of Kubernetes, they are looking for more layers of introspection and protection for Linux. That’s where CMD’s technology comes in. CMD’s security service is built with an open source technology known as eBPF. With eBPF, it’s possible to hook into a Linux operating system for visibility and security control. Work is currently ongoing to extend eBPF for Windows workloads, as well.

CMD isn’t the only startup that has been building based on eBP. Isovalent, which announced a $29 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Google in November 2020, is also active in the space. The Linux Foundation also recently announced the creation of an eBPF Foundation, with the participation of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Isovalent.

Fundamentally, Banon sees a clear alignment between what CMD was building and what Elastic aims to deliver for its users.

“We have a saying at Elastic – while you observe, why not protect?” Banon said. “With CMD if you look at everything that they do, they also have this deep passion and belief that it starts with observability. “

It will take time for Elastic to integrate the CMD technology into the Elastic Stack, though it won’t be too long. Banon noted that one of the benefits of acquiring a startup is that it’s often easier to integrate than a larger, more established vendor.

“With all of these acquisitions that we make we spend time integrating them into a single product line,” Banon said.

That means Elastic needs to take the technology that other companies have built and fold it into its stack and that sometimes can take time, Banon explained. He noted that it took two years to integrate the Endgame technology after that acquisition.

“Typically that lends itself to us joining forces with smaller companies with really innovative technology that can be more easily taken and integrated into our stack,” Banon said.

Elastic acquires for security policy definition and enforcement

Less than a year after raising its $6 million seed funding round, Tel Aviv and Sunnyvale-based startup is being acquired by Elastic. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed at this time. The deal is expected to close in Elastic’s Q2 FY22, ending Oct. 31, 2021.

In an email to TechCrunch, Ash Kulkarni, chief product officer at Elastic, said that once the acquisition closes, the technical team will continue as a unit in the Elastic Security organization. Kulkarni added that the acquisition will also become the foundation for a growing Elastic presence in Israel, with Amit Kanfer, co-founder and CEO of set to become the site lead for the region. is focused on security policy management for applications. A core element of the company’s technology approach is the Open Policy Agent (OPA) open source project, which is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which is also home to Kubernetes. OPA was originally started by startup Styra, which itself has raised $40 million in funding to help build out policy management and authorization technology. Part of OPA is the Rego query language which is used to structure security and authorization configuration policies.

“We see policy as a fundamental cornerstone of security,” Kulkarni said. “OPA and Rego provide an open, standards-based way to define, manage, and enforce policies everywhere.”

Kulkarni noted that security policy technology is complementary to Elastic’s efforts in security and observability. He added that Elastic sees potential for using OPA and the technology that has built on top of OPA to power deployment time, and in the future, build-time security for cloud-native environments. 

YL Venture partner John Brennan who helped to lead the seed round of sees the acquisition as being a good fit for both companies, as they are both creating solutions for developers that are based on open source technologies.

“This move by a market leader like Elastic validates the need for transformation in the authorization space,” Brennan said. “This partnership will accelerate’s shift left vision of efficiently embedding access protection from the start, rather than trying to bolt it on after the fact or, worse, ignoring it completely.”

Elastic is known for its Elastic Stack, which provides Elasticsearch search capability, Logstash log monitoring and Kibana data visualization. In recent years the company has expanded into the security space, acquiring Endgame Security in 2019 for $234 million. On Aug. 3, Elastic announced its Limitless XDR capabilities which brings together endpoint security with security information and event management (SIEM).

With its new acquisition, Kulkarni said the goal is to go even deeper into security moving toward cloud security enforcement. He explained that after the acquisition closes and as the technology is integrated, users will be able to leverage the Elastic Stack to visualize and manage compliance policies and policy decisions at scale. An initial use-case for the technology will be developing a Kubernetes security and compliance product based on OPA.


AWS launches Glue Elastic Views to make it easier to move data from one purpose-built data store to another

AWS has launched a new tool to let developers move data from one store to another called Glue Elastic Views.

At the AWS:Invent keynote CEO Andy Jassy announced Glue Elastic Views, a service that lets programmers move data across multiple data stores more seamlessly.

The new service can take data from disparate silos and move them together. That AWS ETL service allows programmers to write a little bit of SQL code to have a materialized view tht can move from one source data store to another.

For instance, Jassy said, a programmer can move data from DynamoDB to Elastic Search allowing a developer to set up a materialized view to copy that data — all the while managing dependencies. That means if data changes in the source data lake, then it will automatically be updated in the other data stores where the data has been relocated, Jassy said.

“When you have the ability to move data… and move that data easily from data store to data store… that’s incredibly powerful,” said Jassy.

Render raises $4.5M for its DevOps platform

Render, the winner of our Disrupt SF 2019 Startup Battlefield, today announced that it has added another $4.5 million onto its existing seed funding round, bringing total investment into the company to $6.75 million.

The round was led by General Catalyst, with participation from previous investors South Park Commons Fund and a group of angels that includes Lee Fixel, Elad Gil and GitHub CTO (and former VP of Engineering at Heroku) Jason Warner.

The company, which describes itself as a ‘Zero DevOps alternative to AWS, Azure and Google Cloud,’ originally raised a $2.25 million seed round in April 2019, but it got a lot of inbound interest after winning the Disrupt Battlefield. In the end, though, the team decided to simply raise more money from its existing investors.

Current Render users include, Mux, Bloomscape, Zelos, 99designs and Stripe.

“We spoke to a bunch of people after Disrupt, including Ashton Kutcher’s firm, because he was one of the judges,” Render co-founder and CEO Anurag Goel explained. “In the end, we decided that we would just raise more money from our existing investors because we like them and it helped us get a better deal from our existing investors. And they were all super interested in continuing to invest.”

What makes Render stand out is that it fulfills many of the promises of Heroku and maybe Google Cloud’s App Engine. You simply tell it what kind of service you are going to deploy and it handles the deployment and manages the infrastructure for you.

“Our customers are all people who are writing code. And they just want to deploy this code really easily without having to worry about servers, or maintenance, or depending on DevOps teams — or, in many cases, hiring DevOps teams,” Goel said. “DevOps engineers are extremely expensive to hire and extremely hard to find, especially good ones. Our goal is to eliminate all of that work that DevOps people do at every company, because it’s very similar at every company.”

Image Credits: Render

One new feature the company is launching today is preview environments. You can think of them as disposable staging or development environments that developers can spin up to test their code — and Render promises that the testing environment will look the same as your production environment (or you can specify changes, too). Developers can then test their updates collaboratively with QA or their product and sales teams in this environment.

Development teams on Render specify their infrastructure environments in a YAML file and turning on these new preview environments is as easy as setting a flag in that file.

Image Credits: Render

“Once they do that, then for every pull request – because we’re integrated with GitHub and GitLab — we automatically spin up a copy of that environment. That can include anything you have in production, or things like a Redis instance, or managed Postgres database, or Elasticsearch instance, or obviously API’s and web services and static sites,” Goel said. Every time you push a change to that branch or pull request, the environment is automatically updated, too. Once the pull request is closed or merged, Render destroys the environment automatically.

The company will use the new funding to grow its team and build out its service. The plan, Goel tells me, is to raise a larger Series A round next year. launches a free version of its cloud-native Kubernetes storage solution, a cloud-native application and data management solution with enterprise customers like USAA, Sabre, SAP, Palo Alto Networks and Rakuten Mobile, today announced the launch of its new free(-mium) version of its service, in addition to a major update to the core of its tool.

Robin .io promises that it brings cloud-native data management capabilities to containerized applications with support for standard operations like backup and recovery, snapshots, rollbacks and more. It does all of that while offering bare-metal performance and support for all major clouds. The service is essentially agnostic to the actual database being used and offers support for the likes of PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, MariaDB, Cassandra, Elasticsearch and others.

Image Credits:

“Robin Cloud Native Storage works with any workload on any Kubernetes-based platform and on any cloud,” said Robin founder and CEO Partha Seetala. “With capabilities for storing, taking snapshots, backing up, cloning, migrating and securing data — all with the simplest of commands — Robin Cloud Native Storage offers developers and DevOps teams a super simple yet highly performant tool for quickly deploying and managing their enterprise workloads on Kubernetes.”

The new free version lets teams manage up to 5 nodes and 5TB of storage. The promise here is that this a free-for-life offering and the company obviously expects that it allows enterprises to get a feel for the service and then upgrade to its paid enterprise plans over time.

Talking about those enterprise plans, the company also today announced that it is moving to a consumption-based pricing plan, starting at $0.42 per node-hour (though it also offers annual subscriptions). The enterprise plan includes 24×7 support and doesn’t limit the number of nodes or storage capacity.

Among the new features to Robin’s core storage service are data management support for Helm Charts (where Helm is the Kubernetes package manager), the ability to specify where exactly the data should reside (which is mostly meant to keep it close to the compute resources) and affinity policies that ensure availability for stateful applications that rely on distributed databases and data platforms.

Lack of leadership in open source results in source-available licenses

Amazon’s behavior toward open source combined with lack of leadership from industry associations such as the Open Source Initiative (OSI) will stifle open-source innovation and make commercial open source less viable.

The result will be more software becoming proprietary and closed-source to protect itself against AWS, widespread license proliferation (a dozen companies changed their licenses in 2018) and open-source licenses giving way to a new category of licenses, called source-available licenses.

Don’t get me wrong — there will still be open source, lots and lots of it. But authors of open-source infrastructure software will put their interesting features in their “enterprise” versions if we as an industry cannot solve the Amazon problem.

Unfortunately, the dark cloud on the horizon I wrote about back in November has drifted closer. Amazon has exhibited three particularly offensive and aggressive behaviors toward open source:

  • It takes open-source code produced by others, runs it as a commercial service and gives nothing back to the commercial entity that produces and maintains the open source, thereby intercepting the monetization of the open source.
  • It forks projects and forcibly wrestles control away from the commercial entity that produces and maintains the open-source projects, as it did in the case of Elasticsearch.
  • It hijacks open-source APIs and places them on top of its own proprietary solutions, thereby siphoning off customers from the open-source project to its own proprietary solution, as it did with the MongoDB APIs.

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational. Amazon is playing by the rules of what software licenses allow. But these behaviors and their undesirable results could be curbed if industry associations created standard open-source licenses that allowed authors of open-source software to express a simple concept:

“I do not want my open-source code run as a commercial service.”

Leadership often comes from unexpected sources.

But the OSI, an organization that opines on the open-sourceness of licenses, is an ineffective wonk tank that refuses to acknowledge the problem and insists that unless Amazon has the “freedom” to take your code, run it as a commercial service and give nothing back to you, your code is not “open source.” The OSI believes it owns the definition of open source and refuses to update the definition of open source, which is short-sighted and dangerous.

To illustrate: The Server Side Public License (SSPL) — the license proposal spearheaded by MongoDB — was patterned exactly after the Gnu General Public License (GPL) and the Affero General Public License (AGPL). SSPL is a perfectly serviceable open-source license, and like GPL and AGPL, rather than prohibit software from being run as a service, SSPL requires that you open-source all programs that you use to make the software available as a service.

A months-long comical debate ensued after SSPL was proposed as an open-source license candidate to OSI, after which OSI made its premeditated opinion official, that SSPL is not an open-source license, even though GPL and AGPL are open source. In its myopia, the OSI forgot to be consistent: If SSPL is not open source, then GPL and AGPL should not be either. MongoDB will continue to use SSPL anyway, but it just won’t be called “open source” because OSI says that it owns the definition of “open source” and it can’t be called that. Great.

Source-available licenses

Is it inevitable that the combination of Amazon’s behavior and this lack of industry leadership will stifle open-source innovation and make commercial open source less viable? Should we just live with either more software becoming proprietary and closed-source to protect itself against AWS, or with widespread license proliferation?

We’ve already seen plenty of license proliferation. MongoDB SSPL, Confluent Community License (CCL), Timescale License (TSL), Redis Source Available License (RSAL), Neo4J Commons Clause, Cockroach Community License (CCL), Dgraph (now using Cockroach Community License), Elastic License, Sourcegraph Fair SourceLicense, MariaDB Business Source License (BSL)… and many more.

The trend is toward “source-available” licensing rather than “open-source” licensing because source-available licenses, uncontaminated by the myopia of open source industry associations, do not require that Amazon have the “freedom” to take your code, run it as a commercial service and give nothing back to you.

To that end, a group of open-source lawyers led by Heather Meeker, a respected and undisputed leader on technology and open-source law who worked on both Commons Clause and SSPL, will soon open a suite of “source-available” licenses for community comment.

The suite of source-available licenses is expected to provide authors of open-source software with a number of methods to address the growing threat from cloud infrastructure providers. The suite will provide short plain-language source-available licenses; standardize patterns in recently adopted source-available licenses; and allow users and companies to mix and match limitations you want to impose (e.g. non-commercial use only, or value add only, or no SaaS use, or whatever else). I believe these frameworks will be a smart alternative to open source, as the OSI refuses to provide leadership in solving the Amazon problem.

AWS and anti-competitive behavior

More broadly, it is clear to most industry observers that AWS is using its market power to be anti-competitive. Unless something changes, calls for anti-trust action against both Amazon and AWS are inevitable, even if AWS is divested from Amazon. That issue is broader than just open source.

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational.

Within open source, if Amazon isn’t breaking any laws today, then licenses to prevent or curb their behavior are critical. And lack of leadership from the open-source industry associations that squat on the term “open source” means that source-available licenses are the most viable solution to curb such behavior. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Leadership often comes from unexpected sources. There are promising signs that other cloud infrastructure providers are becoming true allies to the open-source community. Take Google, for example. The major announcements at Google Cloud Next in April 2019 were dramatic and encouraging. The company announced partnerships with Confluent, DataStax, Elastic, InfluxData, MongoDB, Neo4j and Redis Labs — companies most affected by Amazon’s behavior.

Google Cloud’s new CEO Thomas Kurian’s remarks echoed what I had been saying for the last year.

Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch wrote:

Google is taking a very different approach to open source than some of its competitors, and especially AWS. … “The most important thing is that we believe that the platforms that win in the end are those that enable rather than destroy ecosystems. We really fundamentally believe that,” [Kurian] told me. “Any platform that wins in the end is always about fostering rather than shutting down an ecosystem. If you look at open-source companies, we think they work hard to build technology and enable developers to use it.”

It’s smart for Google to align with these commercial open-source players — AWS is beating Google in the cloud wars and giving best-of-breed commercial open-source products first-class status on Google’s cloud will help Google win more enterprise customers.

Perhaps more importantly, the stance and language on how ecosystems thrive is incredibly encouraging.

Disclosures: The author has invested in numerous open companies affected by the behavior of cloud infrastructure providers, indirectly owns shares of Amazon and, apart from any abuse of open source or anti-competitive behavior, is a big fan of Amazon. lands $52M to keep growing open source-based logging tools announced a $52 million Series D investment today. The round was led by General Catalyst.

Other investors participating in the round included OpenView Ventures, 83North, Giza Venture Capital, Vintage Investment Partners, Greenspring Associates and Next47. Today’s investment brings the total raised to nearly $100 million, according to Crunchbase data. is a company built on top of the open source tools Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (collectively known by the acronym ELK) and Grafana. It’s taking those tools in a typical open source business approach, packaging them up and offering them as a service. This approach enables large organizations to take advantage of these tools without having to deal with the raw open source projects.

The company’s solutions intelligently scan logs looking for anomalies. When it finds them, it surfaces the problem and informs IT or security, depending on the scenario, using a tool like PagerDuty. This area of the market has been dominated in recent years by vendors like Splunk and Sumo Logic, but company founder and CEO Tomer Levy saw a chance to disrupt that space by packaging a set of open source logging tools that were rapidly increasing in popularity. They believed could build on that growing popularity, while solving a pain point the founders had actually experienced in previous positions, which is always a good starting point for a startup idea.


“We saw that the majority of the market is actually using open source. So we said, we want to solve this problem, a problem we have faced in the past and didn’t have a solution. What we’re going to do is we’re going to provide you with an easy-to-use cloud service that is offering an open source compatible solution,” Levy explained. In other words, they wanted to build on that open source idea, but offer it in a form that was easier to consume.

Larry Bohn, who is leading the investment for General Catalyst, says that his firm liked the idea of a company building on top of open source because it provides a built-in community of developers to drive the startup’s growth — and it appears to be working. “The numbers here were staggering in terms of how quickly people were adopting this and how quickly it was growing. It was very clear to us that the company was enjoying great success without much of a commercial orientation,” Bohn explained.

In fact, already has 700 customers including large names like Schneider Electric, The Economist and British Airways. The company has 175 employees today, but Levy says they expect to grow that 250 by the end of this year, as they use this money to accelerate their overall growth.