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With Kubernetes, It’s Not All About Horsepower

I make my living in the software business. I started out as a software developer, moved up to systems engineering and product management, and then on to solutions architecture. 

It has made for a great career, but I’ll let you in on a little secret.  My true passion is cars and racing. That’s right, I’m a race car guy at heart.

Spending time in both worlds, I started thinking about the changing requirements we often get when we’re creating applications or solutions. Having built and modified a few cars of my own, I also considered what a similar approach would be like for teams building race cars. Challenging is the word that comes to mind.  Here’s why.

Let’s say our sponsor comes to us with a simple directive. “Build the fastest car you can.” So, you go and build a top-fuel dragster. Designed for short, straight-line races from a standing start, your light, high-powered car has the quickest acceleration in the world, reaching speeds of over 339 mph (546 kph) in less than three seconds.

In the world of containerized apps, that raw power and speed is the equivalent of major scaling capabilities.

It’s good, but the sponsor wants more. They want the car to be able to handle curves in the track, so the aerodynamics, suspension and steering need to be different. And it needs to be able to handle much longer races, so it needs to be fuel efficient. It also needs real-time monitoring of things like its tires, brakes, clutch, transmission, etc.

You’re essentially being asked to turn your dragster into a Formula One race car.  In software, it’s the equivalent of handling completely different functions and workloads by adding all new functionality.

You go back to the drawing board in your garage to see if there’s a way to modify your dragster to meet the new requirement. But as any car person will tell you, it’s just not possible to morph a dragster into an F1 kit. So, you start from scratch and build a car that Jackie Stewart would be proud of.

The sponsor is happy for a few minutes, but then comes back with the need for your car to compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race (a rain or shine event). So, you need to retool with an engine that can handle among other things the rapidly descending air density on a track with rapidly rising altitudes. Or is electric the way to go? Last year, a new course record was set by an electric car. If your experience so far has been in fuel cars, how will you handle the very different challenges of electric design?  

You get the idea; I don’t want to overdo the car-building analogy.  But if you and your team are building applications and solutions today, you’re likely having to deal with these types of fundamental, unanticipated requirement changes. Maybe its competitive pressures or advantage, an acquisition, maybe a complete pivot to fundamentally new technology.

In the old days, these sorts of radical changes in direction would utterly disrupt the development process. But today, using cloud-native architectures and dynamically assembled microservices, one can change a dragster app into an F1 solution, and then pivot your design so the resulting vehicle can get to the top of the mountain first.

But here’s the rub. You can’t do any of this type of transformative work without understanding what the new direction will require in terms of performance and architectural changes. What was once a finely-tuned and largely upfront effort, now needs to be tuned again. What are the peaks and valleys of high traffic, throughput, latency, or concurrent users going to do to your application? How do you best optimize for those scenarios? When the pivot comes, how do you yet again validate the proper optimization? Is the new architecture eveIn relevant to the new tasks at hand?

What if your toolkit included a solution that simplifies and automates the process of continuous Kubernetes optimization?

  Brad Ascar  Sr. Solutions Architect, Carbon Relay

Blog, News

Supporting 1M Masks for NYC

The current pandemic has challenged us all in ways that seemed unimaginable just a couple of months ago. At Carbon Relay, we’re aware of how fortunate we are to be able to do our jobs remotely, continue advancing our technology and remain connected with our communities. As our company grows, we have a responsibility to use our resources — including the company’s time, energy, funding and influence — to affect positive change when and where we can. This has been part of our collective mission since we founded the company and it’s more important than ever today.

Many of our employees are based in Boston and Washington, DC, but we’ve all watched with great concern as residents of New York have suffered shockingly high levels of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths. In the face of this catastrophe, we asked ourselves what we might do to try to support New York in a way that has immediate impact and that may bring some small measure of relief to the individuals who are risking their own health to assist others.

Carbon Relay is supporting One Million Masks, a grassroots non-profit organization working with the New York startup community to get one million masks from trusted factories to emergency rooms and intensive care units. The organization initially focused on NYU Langone Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian, but has since expanded its work to include all New York City area hospitals, as well as nursing homes, jail complexes and other correctional facilities. It is also offering limited shipping to verified healthcare workers across the U.S.

1M Masks arose to take on an issue that is, at its core, a monumental supply chain failure. Each of these two large New York hospitals goes through well over 10,000 masks per day, and with traditional supply chains for personal protective equipment bottle-necked, getting masks to the people who urgently need them proved too difficult a task for overwhelmed hospital administers. The goal of 1M Masks is to put supply chain technology experts up against the immediate problem of securing masks, and then accelerating their delivery directly to medical centers — and to cover all associated expenses.

Some of the organizations behind 1M Masks have focused on working through supply chain and logistics issues, but donations of cash are also needed. 100% of the funds raised go to the purchase and distribution of PPE for healthcare workers.

We’ve been able to provide financial support for 1M Masks and invite others to learn more about the organization and consider supporting it as well. To date, the group has shipped over 280,000 masks, of which 140,000 have already been delivered into the hands of front line healthcare workers. If you’re in a position to help or would like to learn more, please visit One Million Masks NYC.

News

Carbon Relay Expands Leadership Team with Addition of Joseph Wykes as Chief Sales Officer

Channels and business development veteran joins from Acquia to lead go to market strategy and team supporting Red Sky Ops machine learning platform for Kubernetes

BOSTON—May 7, 2020—Carbon Relay today announced that Joseph Wykes has joined the company as chief sales officer to create and drive the company’s go to market strategy for the Red Sky Ops AIOps platform. Wykes was previously senior vice president of sales and partnerships at Acquia, where he was a key contributor to the company’s growth during his eight-year tenure. Wykes comes to Carbon Relay at a time when demand for the company’s solution, which leverages machine learning to automate and manage configuration of applications running in Kubernetes, is rapidly increasing with the maturation of cloud-native technologies.

Kubernetes has become the dominant container orchestration platform as organizations accelerate movement of workloads to the cloud. Incredible flexibility is core to Kubernetes’ success, but its complexity can also create challenges for DevOps, networking and IT teams within cloud providers, managed Kubernetes providers and enterprises. In the past, these teams needed to manually configure applications running on Kubernetes, but typically resorted to over-provisioning compute and storage resources to ensure application stability. Carbon Relay’s Red Sky Ops solution allows these teams to manage millions of possible combinations of application variables and configuration settings to automatically identify and implement the best configurations for each application in any cloud environment.

“I’m excited to join a world-class team at Carbon Relay at an inflection point in its growth at the intersection of the machine learning solutions and cloud markets,” said Joseph Wykes, chief sales officer at Carbon Relay. “The timing for offering an AIOps solution for application management on Kubernetes is ideal, and Carbon Relay’s vision and values-driven team will propel its continued rapid growth. I’m looking forward to building the company’s go to market function to help it address Red Sky Ops demand at scale.”

Matt Provo, co-founder and CEO of Carbon Relay, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Joe at a time when interest in Red Sky Ops is rapidly intensifying. Since we introduced the platform, we’ve been gratified to see strong interest from enterprise organizations and partners around the world. In recent months we’re seeing a push to automate application configuration from companies that must gain efficiency while maximizing the performance of customer-facing applications. Joe’s track record of building high-performance teams will be invaluable to Carbon Relay as we scale the company to address continued strong demand.”

While at Acquia, Wykes helped lead the sales and partnerships organization as the company grew from $25 million to well over $200 million in revenue and substantially expanded its channels strategy and operations. Prior to Acquia, he was president of Percussion Software, a digital content management leader. Wykes earned his Barrister at Law degree from the Inns of Court School of Law and a B.A. with Honors from the University of London.

About Carbon Relay

Carbon Relay brings together world-class data scientists and software engineers to enable businesses to drive breakthrough IT and operations efficiency. Two traits are woven throughout our team, our products and everything we do: awe of the power of AI to solve complex business problems and a passionate commitment to the environment. Our Red Sky platform uses machine learning to drive major application performance gains and cost reductions in complex environments. Carbon Relay was founded in 2015 and is based in Boston and Washington, DC.

Blog

Building the Carbon Relay Sales and Customer Success Team

I am really excited to join the Carbon Relay team as chief sales officer and wanted to take a few moments to share why.

After eight very fulfilling years at Acquia, I was looking for a rapidly growing company that I could help accelerate. For anyone who has been fortunate enough to participate in building successful businesses there are a few common traits that you look for. Those are clearly in place at Carbon Relay. Let me explain more.

Firstly, the team. This team is really smart. As a go-to-market leader, it’s wonderful to find a company that is made up of exceptionally clever people. The combination of product management expertise, machine learning scientists and software engineers is impressive. Related to this is the culture that permeates through the organization: integrity, trust and empowerment. On top of that is the unwavering support of Insight Partners, which has made a strong commitment to the firm. Having their expertise to draw upon and collaborate with only reinforces the opportunity.

Secondly, the technology. Red Sky Ops was born out of the very real challenges that arise in operating and running Kubernetes at scale. What began in the lab with countless iterations, has emerged as an incredibly innovative technology that uses machine learning to continuously tune and optimize applications running on Kubernetes. It’s that algorithm, along with our team’s deep understanding of use of Kubernetes in production, which is the competitive advantage we bring to the market. And as we grow Carbon Relay and more organizations participate, they will have the opportunity to benefit from the increased learning of the product.

Thirdly, the timing. Since Google released Kubernetes as open source through the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015, the platform has been rapidly adopted by organizations around the world. It delivers unmatched scale and reliability of workloads. Today the industry is seeing the steep rise in the numbers of organizations participating and adopting Kubernetes. For just one measure of the enthusiasm around Kubernetes, consider that the KubeCon+CloudNativeCon event in San Diego last year attracted 12,000 attendees, a 50% increase on the previous year.

At Carbon Relay we have a tremendous opportunity to help organizations around the world intelligently optimize their Kubernetes application performance. This will mean that application service level agreements can be met, that inherent risks in scaling operations can be mitigated and that developer productivity can deliver far higher yields. On top of this, costs can be optimized to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. In looking forward, we envisage a world where every customer gets value from including Red Sky Ops as a step in their CI/CD pipeline process: every application tuned and optimized intelligently and easily.

As we build the sales team, it’s clear that the opportunity is enormous. And my commitment is to build a team that is courageous, trustworthy and energized. I am confident that we can achieve tremendous success for our customers, partners, investors and team mates. I look forward to having you join me in the journey.

News

Reflecting on an Incredible Week: Carbon Relay Receives $63M Investment from Insight Partners

Earlier this week we were delighted to issue an announcement with Insight Partners detailing the firm’s $63M investment in Carbon Relay. The funding represents the beginning of a new and accelerated phase of Carbon Relay’s growth. It allows us to intensify development of our machine learning and data science platform, while building out our ability to get the product to more partners and customers.

We created Carbon Relay five years ago because our team is passionate about applying artificial intelligence and deep reinforcement learning to solve some of the toughest problems in IT. Building the company, we leveraged devops processes and depended heavily on cloud-native technologies, including the Kubernetes container orchestration engine. As we deepened our own use of Kubernetes, we quickly learned that it’s not just tough to manage—optimizing applications running on Kubernetes threatened to consume the time of some of our best technologists. 

Turns out most organizations using it have the same challenge, as do Kubernetes service providers and even cloud providers. In direct response, Carbon Relay created our Red Sky Ops platform last year to take on the challenge of not simply managing, but optimizing the performance of applications running in Kubernetes environments. The result for customers and partners is more application uptime, less costly resource allocation and—maybe most important—less devops and netops time spent responding to alerts. 

Demand for Red Sky Ops pushed Carbon Relay to the next level as a company. We’re thankful for the overwhelming response it has received from the cloud-native community and look forward to applying the investment from Insight Partners to pushing development of the platform. To support development, as well as sales, marketing and operations, we’re intensifying our focus on hiring in Boston and Washington, DC

In response to an enormous amount of interest in seeing our product, Carbon Relay is also kicking off a series of live webinars with our CTO, Ofer Idan. He’ll demo Red Sky Ops and answer questions in real time, so if you’ve been looking for a technical overview of the platform, please register and join us. The first in the series will take place next Tuesday, February 18, at noon PT / 3 p.m. ET. 

As we look ahead, we’re deepening our engagement with the vibrant open source cloud-native community around Kubernetes. Next month we’ll be at KubeCon+CloudNativeCon in Amsterdam to showcase the latest enhancements to Red Sky Ops and hear first hand from developers, engineers and devops pros how they’re managing and optimizing containerized applications. If you’ll be there as well, we hope you’ll stop by and tell us what’s on your mind.

This has been a landmark week for the Carbon Relay team and for the business we’re growing together. I’d like to thank each of our team members, partners and customers for your support. I must also recognize our early investors, who put their faith in us based on our vision and early technology. I’m grateful for your invaluable guidance and support. 

Thanks to all who have joined us on this journey—I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Matt

News

Carbon Relay Closes $63M Transaction with Leading Software Investor Insight Partners to Scale AIOps Platform Red Sky Ops

Insight Partners investment will fuel the growth and market presence of Carbon Relay as demand grows for the Red Sky Ops machine learning platform for optimizing application performance on Kubernetes

BOSTON—February 11, 2020—Carbon Relay and Insight Partners today announced a $63 million transaction to accelerate the growth of its Red Sky Ops solution for optimizing application performance in Kubernetes environments.

Carbon Relay pioneered the use of machine learning and data science to automate and manage the complexity of finding optimal configurations for applications running in Kubernetes—eliminating the need for manual optimization by DevOps, networking, and IT professionals. With Red Sky Ops, enterprises, cloud providers, and Kubernetes distribution providers ensure better stability for their applications in production, free their most talented technologists from manually configuring applications, and end the costly practice of overprovisioning compute and storage resources to ensure application stability.

“We’re pleased to work with the Carbon Relay team to enable the rapid expansion of the company’s groundbreaking platform,” said Michael Triplett, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “As Kubernetes moves into mainstream use, development and operations teams across industries are attracted to its flexibility. At the same time, they’re dismayed by how difficult it is to use. Carbon Relay has brought together a team of world-class machine learning and engineering experts to bring to market an innovative solution to the challenge of Kubernetes complexity. The Insight team is excited to collaborate with Carbon Relay as the company scales to address this unique opportunity.”

Matt Provo, Co-founder and CEO of Carbon Relay, commented: “With Red Sky Ops, we created the first AIOps solution for optimizing applications in Kubernetes environments to enhance application performance, while also dramatically reducing infrastructure costs. We’ve been gratified by the interest in the platform from across the cloud-native and Kubernetes communities. Working with Insight Partners will enable us to rapidly scale the Red Sky Ops platform at a time when thousands of organizations are looking to enjoy the full benefits of moving to a microservices architecture. The Carbon Relay team looks forward to the next phase of growth of Red Sky Ops and could not be more thrilled to work alongside Mike and the Insight Partners team.”

Solving Kubernetes’ Complexity with Red Sky Ops

Red Sky Ops makes it easy for development and operations teams to manage millions of possible combinations of application variables and configuration settings. With the Carbon Relay platform, they can automatically identify and implement the best configurations for each application in any cloud environment. Customers benefit from lower infrastructure costs and reduced alerts distracting DevOps experts.

Red Sky Ops allows teams to create application deployment experiments and then run them under load to identify optimal application configurations. It automatically creates accurate, comprehensive suggestions for optimal configurations and the best possible application performance on a continuous basis.

About Carbon Relay

Carbon Relay brings together world-class data scientists and software engineers to enable businesses to drive breakthrough IT and operations efficiency. Two traits are woven throughout our team, our products and everything we do: awe of the power of AI to solve complex business problems and a passionate commitment to the environment. Our Red Sky platform uses machine learning to drive major application performance gains and cost reductions in complex environments. Carbon Relay was founded in 2015 and is based in Boston and Washington, DC. Learn more at https://www.carbonrelay.com.

About Insight Partners

Insight Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight currently has over $20 billion of assets under management and has cumulatively invested in more than 300 companies worldwide. Our mission is to find, fund, and work successfully with visionary executives, providing them with practical, hands-on growth expertise to foster long-term success. Across our people and our portfolio, we encourage a culture around a core belief: growth equals opportunity. For more information on Insight and all its investments, visit www.insightpartners.com or follow us on Twitter @insightpartners.

Contact:

Laura Kempke
carbonrelay@launchsquad.com
+1 781-696-5414

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