Aiven, which provides fully managed and hosted services for large open source projects including Kafka, Cassandra and Grafana, announced its first acquisition – the Finnish company bought Kafkawize, an open source self-service data management tool for Apache Kafka. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The acquisition comes amid a renewed focus on open source software security, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently warning of legal action against any organization that fails to fix the much-publicized Log4j flaw that emerged last year. Elsewhere, new bipartisan US Senate legislation called the Open Source Software Assurance Act emerged last week to help strengthen open source software, particularly as it is used in federal agencies.
Providing open source
Founded in Helsinki in 2016, Aiven basically solves many of the headaches of running open source software, which permeates almost every modern technology. From scripts that speed up servers to databases and more, open source is what makes the modern world of software work. But configuring, deploying, and maintaining open source software takes a lot of time, and that’s where Aiven enters the fray, taking on much of the heavy lifting involved in running and securing open source data infrastructure across major public clouds, freeing up companies to focus on building their core “differentiated” products.
Fresh off a $210 million funding round that valued it at $3 billion, Aiven is now doubling down on its existing support for Kafka, the open-source data streaming project that spun out of LinkedIn in 2011. About 80% of Fortune 100 companies reportedly use Kafka for access to real-time data within its applications, which is critical for use cases such as matching drivers to riders in ride-sharing applications or processing e-commerce payments.
Kafkawize, on the other hand, is an open source project started in 2018 by Murali Basani to help companies build proper data management into their Kafka deployments, specifically around the hundreds of “topics” that Kafka generates – a topic is basically the name of a category for which records organized and stored. This raises significant security questions, including who is authorized to create and use a theme – and who owns it? Also, how can a company back up its Kafka configuration?
And that’s essentially what Kafkawize does – it’s designed to fill the data management gaps in Kafka.
What this acquisition means is that Aiven now owns the intellectual property (IP), including the Kafkawise brand, and has hired Basani to continue working on the project as part of Aiven’s Open Source Program Office (OSPO). And Aiven’s first move as owner was to rename Kafkawize Klaw.
“We were looking for an open source tool that could provide self-service management with enterprise-grade security and user management functionality,” Aivena CEO Oskari Saarenmaa explained to TechCrunch. “We believe the Kafka community deserves open source tools, which is why we’ve hired the creator and maintainer of Klaw, placed those responsibilities in our open source program office, and will provide adequate resources for the technology to ensure its continued code development. open.”
While any open source project joining a commercial enterprise will often raise eyebrows in terms of what will eventually become a community-oriented project, joining Aiven is one way to preserve its future viability. Funding remains a major issue for open source projects, which in turn creates barriers to scalability—companies may be hesitant to commit to a product with limited support.
As Basani noted on his own blog today, “I developed this project entirely in my spare time… with Aiven’s support, Klaw can reach its full potential for years to come.”