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MinIO’s earns unicorn status for multicloud object storage apps

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It’s rare that a startup specializing in data storage gets a unicorn valuation of $1 billion, but MinIO of Palo Alto, Calif., pulled it off when it announced a $103 million Series B funding transaction today.

MinIO earned its newfound corporate status based on its multicloud, AWS S3-compatible object storage suite of apps that the companies says reliesversatility and AI separate it from competitors.

While it was originally designed for S3 use cases, MinIO CEO and cofounder AB Perisamy said it can be used in any cloud environment. In this day and age of patched-together and often distantly separated storage systems, a fast data platform that plugs everything together isn’t common.

“We have more than 11 million active deployments on the public cloud, private cloud, and edge,” Perisamy said. “This includes public cloud deployments on Google Kubernetes Engine, Amazon’s Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, and private cloud deployments on Red Hat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu, HPE Ezmeral, SUSE Rancher, as well as millions of colo and edge deployments.” 

MinIO is a high-performance, Kubernetes-native object store for a broad range of data storage use cases. It can deliver tens of gigabytes of data per node in throughput, Perisamy said. The performance characteristics have made MinIO the object store of choice for machine-learning frameworks, analytics applications, databases, web applications, and other performance-oriented workloads. 

Questions for the CEO

VentureBeat asked Perisamy a few questions about the steady development of the seven-year-old company.

VentureBeat: Few storage companies ascend into the unicorn category. How has MinIO been able to move to this level? 

Perisamy: The primary reason that MinIO was able to achieve this valuation is that we don’t look like a traditional storage company; we look more like AWS S3 (but not a service, and available anywhere). Consider the following:

  • MinIO only does object storage. Almost everyone else is trying to build a block, file, object hybrid solution with predictable results. Our focus on object storage is a massive advantage. 
  • MinIO is software-defined and we run on any hardware. Think about it: As an open-source company, the hardware configurations we have been exposed to are dizzying. Most of the industry consists of hardware appliances. 
  • MinIO is cloud-native. We were born into the cloud and have adhered to the principles of containerization and orchestration since our inception. This allows MinIO to run anywhere. Appliances cannot be containerized and orchestrated and so they only run in a limited footprint (on-prem essentially). Running everywhere also provides MinIO with a broader class of workloads to target, which make us primary storage for our clients and community. 
  • MinIO is the world’s fastest object store. This, too, contributes to our adoption as primary storage because we support databases, advanced analytics, and AI/ML workloads, where other object stores (outside of AWS S3, which is also performant) cannot. 
  • MinIO is open source. This enables frictionless adoption of our product while the AGPL v3 license enables commercialization, once scale is achieved by the customer. There are more organizations and individuals downloading MinIO in a given month than the traditional storage players add in a year. 
  • FMinIO is lightweight. The binary that powers the data center at PayPal or the cloud object store in AWS is less than 100MB. That means MinIO can run at the bleeding edge of the network, in a 5G POP or an ARM chip. Edge computing is a massive opportunity, and MinIO enables enterprises to have a consistent data store from edge to cloud. No other object store can power such a wide range of physical locations. 

VentureBeat: How is MinIO making use of AI in its solution? How is this setting the company apart from competitors?

Perisamy: There are two components here: how MinIO is integrated with the AI/ML frameworks and how MinIO is using AI in the product itself. 

In terms of how MinIO is integrated with the AI/ML frameworks, it helps to note that the AI/ML market is distributed. Data exists everywhere and is generated everywhere. The object store with which these frameworks interact has to be available everywhere. Due to this requirement, AI/ML frameworks are increasingly standardized on MinIO. (See Kubeflow.) While it supports multiple storage offerings, it is standardized on MinIO. There are dozens of other examples, depending on your definition of AI/ML (Spark/Presto for example). 

One of the key features that attracts the AI/ML ecosystem to MinIO is the performance angle. On a throughput basis, MinIO can push 2.6Tbps over just 32 nodes of NVMe. This is orders of magnitude faster than other object stores and far more scalable than SAN/NAS solutions. 

In terms of how MinIO is using AI in the software itself, we have deployed expert systems logic into our MinIO Health Diagnostics componentry. Part of the SUBNET customer portal, this capability performs a full diagnostics sweep including advanced analytics to make root cause assessments. 

Going forward, MinIO will use AI for diagnostics and operational acuity but sees greater utility for the customer by integrating with various AI frameworks.

VentureBeat: How would you summarize all of this?

Perisamy: The result is that MinIO has won with developers, data scientists, and data engineers. They are the engine of value creation in the enterprise, and they consider two primary options in object storage – MinIO and AWS S3. The market recognizes this fact, thus the valuation. 

VentureBeat: How is MinIO continuing to innovate?

Perisamy: MinIO continues to extend its feature leadership with the addition of click-to-deploy capabilities on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. This complements MinIO’s capabilities in information lifecycle management, ransomware protection, and active-active, strictly consistent multi-site replication. 

MinIO has seen a high rate of adoption from organizations around the globe. Growth metrics include:

  • In the last year, ARR grew by over 201%.
  • In the last year, MinIO’s customer count grew by over 208%
  • Total Docker pulls of 756,000,000, now averaging over 1 million per day
  • More than 31,000 GitHub stars and more than 16,000 members of the MinIO Slack community.

The investment was led by Intel Capital with participation from new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and existing investors Dell Capital, General Catalyst, and Nexus Ventures. The new financing brings MinIO’s total funding to $126 million.

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LastPass hacked, OpenAI opens access to ChatGPT, and Kanye gets suspended from Twitter (again) • TechCrunch

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Aaaaand we’re back! With our Thanksgiving mini-hiatus behind us, it’s time for another edition of Week in Review — the newsletter where we quickly wrap up the most read TechCrunch stories from the past seven(ish) days. No matter how busy you are, it should give you a pretty good idea of what people were talking about in tech this week.

Want it in your inbox every Saturday morning? Sign up here.

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Instafest goes instaviral: You’ve probably been to a great music festival before. But have you been to one made just for you? Probably not. Instafest, a web app that went super viral this week, helps you daydream about what that festival might look like. Sign in with your Spotify credentials and it’ll generate a promo poster for a pretend festival based on your listening habits.

LastPass breached (again): “Password manager LastPass said it’s investigating a security incident after its systems were compromised for the second time this year,” writes Zack Whittaker. Investigations are still underway, which unfortunately means it’s not super clear what (and whose) data might’ve been accessed.

ChatGPT opens up: This week, OpenAI widely opened up access to ChatGPT, which lets you interact with their new language-generation AI through a simple chat-style interface. In other words, it lets you generate (sometimes scarily well-written) passages of text by chatting with a robot. Darrell used it to instantly write the Pokémon cheat sheet he’s always wanted.

AWS re:Invents: This week, Amazon Web Services hosted its annual re:Invent conference, where the company shows off what’s next for the cloud computing platform that powers a massive chunk of the internet. This year’s highlights? A low-code tool for serverless apps, a pledge to give AWS customers control over where in the world their data is stored (to help navigate increasingly complicated government policies), and a tool to run “city-sized simulations” in the cloud.

Twitter suspends Kanye (again): “Elon Musk has suspended Kanye West’s (aka Ye) Twitter account after the latter posted antisemitic tweets and violated the platform’s rules,” writes Ivan Mehta.

Spotify Wraps it up: Each year in December, Spotify ships “Wrapped” — an interactive feature that takes your Spotify listening data for the year and presents it in a super visual way. This year it’s got the straightforward stuff like how many minutes you streamed, but it’s also branching out with ideas like “listening personalities” — a Myers-Briggs-inspired system that puts each user into one of 16 camps, like “the Adventurer” or “the Replayer.”

DoorDash layoffs: I was hoping to go a week without a layoffs story cracking the list. Alas, DoorDash confirmed this week that it’s laying off 1,250 people, with CEO Tony Xu explaining that they hired too quickly during the pandemic.

Salesforce co-CEO steps down: “In one week last December, [Bret Taylor] was named board chair at Twitter and co-CEO at Salesforce,” writes Ron Miller. “One year later, he doesn’t have either job.” Taylor says he has “decided to return to [his] entrepreneurial roots.”

audio roundup

I expected things to be a little quiet in TC Podcast land last week because of the holiday, but we somehow still had great shows! Ron Miller and Rita Liao joined Darrell Etherington on The TechCrunch Podcast to talk about the departure of Salesforce’s co-CEO and China’s “great wall of porn”; Team Chain Reaction shared an interview with Nikil Viswanathan, CEO of web3 development platform Alchemy; and the ever-lovely Equity crew talked about everything from Sam Bankman-Fried’s wild interview at DealBook to why all three of the co-founders at financing startup Pipe stepped down simultaneously.

TechCrunch+

What lies behind the TC+ members-only paywall? Here’s what TC+ members were reading most this week:

Lessons for raising $10M without giving up a board seat: Reclaim.ai has raised $10 million over the last two years, all “without giving up a single board seat.” How? Reclaim.ai co-founder Henry Shapiro shares his insights.

Consultants are the new nontraditional VC: “Why are so many consultant-led venture capital funds launching now?” asks Rebecca Szkutak.

Fundraising in times of greater VC scrutiny: “Founders may be discouraged in this environment, but they need to remember that they have ‘currency,’ too,” writes DocSend co-founder and former CEO Russ Heddleston.

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Building global, scalable metaverse applications

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Previously we talked about the trillion-dollar infrastructure opportunity that comes with building the metaverse — and it is indeed very large. But what about the applications that will run on top of this new infrastructure?

Metaverse applications will be very different from the traditional web or mobile apps that we are used to today. For one, they will be much more immersive and interactive, blurring the lines between the virtual and physical worlds. And because of the distributed nature of the metaverse, they will also need to be able to scale globally — something that has never been done before at this level.

In this article, we will take a developer’s perspective and explore what it will take to build global, scalable metaverse applications.

As you are aware, the metaverse will work very differently from the web or mobile apps we have today. For one, it is distributed, meaning there is no central server that controls everything. This has a number of implications for developers:

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  • They will need to be able to deal with data that is spread out across many different servers (or “nodes”) in a decentralized manner.
  • They will need to be able to deal with users that are also spread out across many different servers.
  • They will need to be able to deal with the fact that each user may have a different experience of the metaverse, based on their location and the devices they are using due to the fact not everyone has the same tech setup, and this plays a pivotal role in how the metaverse is experienced by each user.

These challenges are not insurmountable, but they do require a different way of thinking about application development. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Data control and manipulation

In a traditional web or mobile app, all the data is stored on a central server. This makes it easy for developers to query and manipulate that data because everything is in one place.

In a distributed metaverse, however, data is spread out across many different servers. This means that developers will need to find new ways to query and manipulate data that is not centrally located.

One way to do this is through the blockchain itself. This distributed ledger, as you know, is spread out across many different servers and allows developers to query and manipulate data in a decentralized manner.

Another way to deal with the challenge of data is through what is known as “content delivery networks” (CDNs). These are networks of servers that are designed to deliver content to users in a fast and efficient manner.

CDNs are often used to deliver web content, but they can also be used to deliver metaverse content. This is because CDNs are designed to deal with large amounts of data that need to be delivered quickly and efficiently — something that is essential for metaverse applications.

Users and devices

Another challenge that developers will need to face is the fact that users and devices are also spread out across many different servers. This means that developers will need to find ways to deliver content to users in a way that is efficient and effective.

One way to do this is through the use of “mirrors.” Mirrors are copies of the content that are stored on different servers. When a user requests content, they are redirected to the nearest mirror, which helps to improve performance and reduce latency.

When a user’s device is not able to connect to the server that is hosting the content, another way to deliver content is through “proxies.” Proxies are servers that act on behalf of the user’s device and fetch the content from the server that is hosting it.

This can be done in a number of ways, but one common way is through the use of a “reverse proxy.” In this case, the proxy server is located between the user’s device and the server that is hosting the content. The proxy fetches the content from the server and then delivers it to the user’s device.

Location and devices

As we mentioned before, each user’s experience of the metaverse will be different based on their location and the devices they are using. This is because not everyone has the same tech setup, and this plays a pivotal role in how the metaverse is experienced by each user.

For example, someone who is using a virtual reality headset will have a completely different experience than someone who is just using a desktop computer. And someone who is located in Europe will have a different experience than someone who is located in Asia.

Though it may not be obvious why geographical location would play a part in something that is meant to be boundless, think of it this way. The internet is a physical infrastructure that is spread out across the world. And although the metaverse is not bound by the same physical limitations, it still relies on this infrastructure to function.

This means that developers will need to take into account the different geographical locations of their users and devices and design their applications accordingly. They will need to be able to deliver content quickly and efficiently to users all over the world, regardless of their location.

Different geographical locations also have different laws and regulations. This is something that developers will need to be aware of when designing applications for the metaverse. They will need to make sure that their applications are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Application development

Now that we’ve looked at some of the challenges that developers will need to face, let’s take a look at how they can develop metaverse applications. Since the metaverse is virtual, the type of development that is required is different from traditional application development.

The first thing that developers will need to do is to create a “space”. A space is a virtual environment that is used to host applications.

Spaces are created using a variety of different tools, but the most popular tool currently is Unity, a game engine used to create 3D environments.

Once a space has been created, developers will need to populate it with content. This content can be anything from 3D models to audio files.

The next step is to publish the space. This means that the space will be made available to other users, who will be able to access the space through a variety of different devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Finally, developers will need to promote their space. This means that they will need to market their space to users.

Getting applications to scale

Since web 3.0 is decentralized, scalability is usually the biggest challenge because traditional servers are almost impossible to use. IPFS is one solution that can help with this problem.

IPFS is a distributed file system used to store and share files. IPFS is similar to BitTorrent, but it is designed to be used for file storage rather than file sharing.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer system, which means that there is no central server. This makes IPFS very scalable because there is no single point of failure.

To use IPFS, developers will need to install it on their computer and add their space to the network. Then, other users will be able to access it.

The bottom line on building global, scalable metaverse applications

To finish off, the technology to build scalable metaverse applications already exists; but a lot of creativity is still required to make it all work together in a user-friendly way. The key is to keep the following concepts in mind:

  • The metaverse is global and decentralized
  • Users will access the metaverse through a variety of devices
  • Location and device management are important
  • Application development is different from traditional development
  • Scalability is a challenge, but IPFS can help

Clearly, we can’t have an article series about building the metaverse without discussing NFTs. In fact, these might be the key to making a global, decentralized, metaverse work. In our next article, we will explore how NFTs can be used in the metaverse.

By keeping these concepts in mind, developers will be able to create metaverse applications that are both user-friendly and scalable.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode

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7 Secrets of Truly Successful Personal Brands

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The choice to launch your brand is noticeable. But creating a solid brand is essential. Authenticity, consistency, initiative, confidence, courage, and time are required to complete everything.

Personal branding is not a thing to do because social media says so. Today it’s an essential element in your communication strategy, used by not only famous and influential people and big businesses but also every individual that wants to be seen, heard and ultimately valued.

Globally, everyday people are already creating their own brands. The corporate branding machine enslavement is too much, so many professionals are leaving employment. It is crucial to build your brand authority because other than leading to commercial and reputational opportunities, it’s also positive for your self-expression.

Better clientele, industry recognition and financial gains result from it. Due to declining trust in our institutions, customers trust individuals more than businesses; therefore, you should concentrate on establishing your personal (and business) brand as part of your elevation strategy.

Check out these seven personal branding success secrets:

1. Find and curate your “A-Team”

A new brand’s path can be pretty tricky and resemble an endless race of overcoming technical, emotional and personal obstacles. A key component of overcoming these obstacles is finding and building a solid team that shares your vision and mission.

Co-founders, workers, advisers, consultants, mentors, coaches and even dependable family members may be a part of your team — link your team selection to your values and ideals and favor compatibility above competence.

Related: I’ve Interviewed and Hired Thousands of People. Here’s What to Keep in Mind Before Offering the Job.

2. Tap into future trends and needs

Adapting based on future trends and customer needs is pivotal because the world is evolving daily. For example, if Jeff Bezos tried setting up an online bookstore today, he would most possibly fail miserably. However, his foresight to know what customers need drove Amazon to a global ecommerce store today. Timing is everything!

Likewise, knowing the market’s future can help your brand make the right moves and become successful. But it doesn’t imply it’s impossible to foresee how the corporate world will develop. What matters most is how analytically sound you are and how well-equipped you are to anticipate future events.

Even though it won’t always be exact to a tee, this will give you a solid idea of where things are going. Making assumptions about future trends carries some calculated risk, but staying safe will never help you or your brand grow.

Related: Looking for a New Business Idea? Here’s How to Identify What People Really Need

3. Unlearn outdated trends to make way for the new

For a brand to flourish, it is vital to unlearn in business. We can only build something fresh and distinctive if we let go of our outdated attitudes and practices—discovering a new project or closing a transaction with unexpected customers results from curiosity.

Unlearning is a systematic strategy to advance and overcome barriers one at a time.

Entrepreneurship success is composed of 20% learning and 80% unlearning. Remove the restrictive presumptions to make room for helpful information.

4. Think fast for solutions and act fast

One of the secrets to a great brand is having the capacity to think and respond quickly. Since environmental issues are worsening, the brand must move soon, seek eco-alternatives and sustainable solutions that reduce their adverse effects, and convey the concept of conscious living to the next generation as quickly as possible.

Simply acting quickly and moving quickly to find answers can give you a competitive edge. If you are not in a technology-dominant business-like distribution, manufacturing, or something not typically controlled by technology firms, your rivals are probably advancing slowly. We must make many daily decisions, but some are more crucial than others.

For example, eating is essential, but whether you choose a salad, chicken or a Big Mac is less important at the moment. You can think more rapidly if you can swiftly pick what to eat. Even if your choice weren’t the best, the effects would be minimal in the short term.

5. Be adaptable and flexible

Being an entrepreneur entails weighing possibilities and dangers equally. This will help you create a distinct brand and ensure its long-term survival and competitiveness. Many new brands tend to concentrate on a single item or service.

Meanwhile, they frequently need to see the value of brand creation right away. Startup brands often think that the benefits of their products are evident and that the brand can speak for itself. You can only place that much faith in some potential consumers.

You must include the development of your brand skills in your content strategy and make sure that the visuals reflect this.

You must evaluate new items in light of your company values as you grow. Check to see if your objectives are compatible, and if not, make any necessary modifications.

6. Become an autodidact

After college, education for most people typically comes to an end. However, your reputation will continue to rise if you develop a passion for studying and being an autodidact.

However, in this day and age of information overload and many online distractions, being an effective autodidact can be taxing. Therefore, staying focused on your mission is more crucial than ever.

Some people contend that the age of the autodidact, or self-directed learning, is currently upon us. After all, the internet is brimming with tools for self-learning that you can utilize to build your brand. However, beware that some may lack substance and are merely shiny bells and whistles.

Related: 6 Little-Known Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

7. Be street smart

Being “street smart,” or able to foresee and handle unexpected everyday business issues, is generally seen as a crucial ability for brand owners and entrepreneurs.

Most investors claim to be able to spot this capacity when they see it, but the experience is necessary to describe it. To be a street-smart person, you need to comprehend your brand’s surroundings or condition well.

You are consciously aware of your surroundings. Moreover, you can see what’s happening around you even when you can’t see it. You can form opinions about the situation based on lived experience, the environment and the people in it, giving you the confidence to put your faith in these opinions.

Related: Are You ‘Intelligent’ Enough to Be an Entrepreneur?

Conclusion

To succeed at personal branding, you must be a brand new, evolving you. In a world full of imitators, be genuine and authentic to yourself.

Authentic personal branding is more than simply self-promotion and marketing commonly seen online. It focuses more on making a courageous difference in people’s lives and inspiring them to live better lives. It can also be about inspiring humanity to do good. After 33 years in this game, I believe and practice that “doing good” is all possible.

You must invest time and effort to be the “go-to” authority in your chosen area. All things worth doing must be done well; therefore, it’s better to make the most of that time and effort!

Applying the seven tips above will help you create an authentic personal brand that is true to you and enjoy the success that will inevitably follow.

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