San Mateo, California-based Alluxio, a data orchestration platform, announced today that it raised $ 50 million in an oversubscribed Series C funding round led by an unnamed supporter with the participation of a16z, Seven Seas Partners and Volcanics Venture. By leveraging the new tranche, Alluxio plans to expand its Asia-Pacific presence with the opening of an office in Beijing while strengthening its product development, go-to-market and engineering business.
An increasing number of companies store their data on-site while running apps in the cloud. This paradigm, known as the “hybrid cloud”, enables companies to intelligently blast their workloads to the cloud without sacrificing the use of their own hardware. Market Research Future predicts that the hybrid cloud market will grow to $ 173.33 billion by 2025 as private cloud users switch to the hybrid model to avoid high costs and lower their security risks. But hybrid clouds typically require having to create and manage data copies and app changes, which can eliminate – or even reverse – the cost savings.
Alluxio claims to have developed a solution in a platform that enables companies to orchestrate and serve data to apps in a variety of environments, including on-premises, cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. Originally conceived as a research project at the University of California, Berkeley’s AMPLab, Alluxio lies between computing and storage in the big data analytics stack, providing a data abstraction layer for computing frameworks that allows apps to connect to different storage systems through a common interface.
“I was a PhD student at AMPLab when I built the beginning of Alluxio, originally named Tachyon, as part of my thesis. The goal was to build software to drive all data-driven workloads, which include large-scale analytics and AI, to significantly accelerate the data revolution, ”CEO Haoyuan Li told VentureBeat via email. “Today, the Alluxio data orchestration layer for critical data-driven workloads, such as analytics and AI and machine learning, is in the cloud.”
Connecting data sources
Hybrid clouds always include a private cloud – ie. servers, storage and network resources behind a firewall and running on-premises – and typically managed as a single device. A hybrid cloud app can pull from a local database while running code both in the local private cloud and scaling to the public cloud as demand increases.
This kind of apps use APIs provided by Alluxio to interact with data from storage systems at high speeds. As Li explains, the platform is commonly used for use cases of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create insights from large collections of small datasets.
“A typical scenario is training based on many small images to drive recommendation engines for social media and gaming platforms. Generally, a single company trains several such models every day, each on billions of small files, using a computer infrastructure spanning a few hundreds to thousands of servers with CPUs and GPUs, “Li said. “Alluxio’s data orchestration platform is a ‘zero-copy’ bursting solution, so when computing power is limited, users can intelligently jump to the cloud without having to make expensive data copies or app changes.”
Cost savings are an important piece of the puzzle. In a recent study by Pepperdata, a third of companies reported going up to 40% above their initial cloud budget thanks to unexpected costs. A separate report from Anodot showed that companies with more than $ 2 million in cloud costs were generally surprised by how much they spent, with the majority taking at least several days to detect abnormal increases.
“As the pandemic has forced more companies to move to a more comprehensive digital and online presence, it has … accelerated the pace of adoption of technologies that enable better data utilization, deeper digitization, [including the cloud]”The result is that we have seen a broader and faster use of technologies such as Alluxios that enable the exploitation of enterprise data for the benefit of the enterprise.”
To this end, the open source project that Alluxio offers services, Alluxio Open Source, now has over 1,000 contributors. On the customer side, Alluxio says it has more than 1,000 users across eight of the top ten technology companies, including Facebook (now Meta), Uber, Alibaba, Tencent, Bytedance, Baidu and Amazon as well as Comcast, Rakuten and China Unicom.
“As a data platform for both analytics and artificial intelligence that spans multiple data centers and clouds, there is no technical solution that competes directly with Alluxio,” Li claimed. “Our customers typically adopt us first as a point solution and then grow into a company-wide data platform. As a point solution, there are other solutions that compete with us. As a platform, we are in a unique leading position and there are no real alternative solutions.”
Alluxio has a team of around 50 employees, which it plans to grow to over 100 by the end of the year. The startup has raised a total of $ 70 million in venture capital to date, mostly in equity.
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