Jun
18
2021
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Talking Drupal #299 – Sustainability of the Webform Module

Today we chat with our friend Jacob Rockowitz about the sustainability of the webform module and module maintainership sustainability in general.

www.talkingdrupal.com/299

Topics

  • Jacob’s 5th appearance
  • John got a new job!
  • Jason launching 6 sites this week
  • Nic went to the drive-in
  • Jacob no more bike rides, just walks in the park
  • Stephen finding Ansible useful

Story: Recording episode 300 – get your recordings into show@talkingdrupal.com

  • Elevator pitch for webform
  • When did Jacob begin maintaining Webform
  • What is sustainability?
  • Open collective
  • How to make Drupal more sustainable
  • Ways to contribute
  • Donations vs time contribution
  • Why open collective?
  • Is there an exit plan

Resources

https://www.jrockowitz.com/blog/webform-open-collective-funds-spent

Open Collective Promotion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtlFTwZLKpc&t=1s

jrockowitz.com

Guests

Jacob Rockowitz www.jrockowitz.com @jrockowitz

Hosts

Stephen Cross – www.stephencross.com @stephencross

Nic Laflin – www.nLighteneddevelopment.com @nicxvan

John Picozzi – www.oomphinc.com @johnpicozzi

Jason Pamental – rwt.io @jpamental

Jun
18
2021
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ProxySQL-Admin 2.x: Encryption of Credential Information

ProxySQL-Admin 2.x Encryption of Credential Information

ProxySQL-Admin 2.x Encryption of Credential InformationStarting with the release of proxysql-admin 2.0.15,  the proxysql-admin 2.x series can now encrypt the credentials needed to access proxysql and cluster nodes. This only applies to the proxysql-admin configuration, this does not change the ProxySQL config, so those credentials are still unencrypted.

The credentials file is the unencrypted file containing the usernames, passwords, hostnames, and ports needed to connect to ProxySQL and PXC (Percona XtraDB Cluster).

The proxysql-login-file tool is used to encrypt the credentials file. This encrypted file is known as a login-file. This login-file can then be used by the proxysql-admin and proxysql-status scripts.

Note: This feature requires OpenSSL v1.1.1 and above (with the exception of Ubuntu 16.04). Please see the supported platforms topic below.

Configuration Precedence

  1. command-line options
  2. the encrypted login-file options (if the login-file is used)
  3. the unencrypted proxysql-admin configuration file values

Example Usage

# create the credentials file
$ echo "monitor.user=monitor" > credentials.cnf
$ echo "monitor.password=password" >> credentials.cnf

# Choose a password
$ passwd="secret"

# Method (1) : Encrypt this data with --password
$ proxysql-login-file --in credentials.cnf --out login-file.cnf --password=${passwd}

# Method (2a) : Encrypt the data with --password-file
# Sending the password via the command-line is insecure,
# it's better to use --password-file so that the
# password doesn't show up in the command-line
$ proxysql-login-file --in credentials.cnf --out login-file.cnf \
--password-file=<(echo "${passwd}")

# Method (2b) : Running the command using sudo will not work with
# bash's process substition. In this case, sending the
# password via stdin is another option.
$ sudo echo "${passwd}" | proxysql-login-file --in credentials.cnf --out login-file.cnf \
--password-file=/dev/stdin

# Method (3) : The script will prompt for the password
# if no password is provided via the command-line options.
$ proxysql-login-file --in credentials.cnf --out login-file.cnf
Enter the password:

# Remove the unencrypted credentials file
$ rm credentials.cnf

# Call the proxysql-admin script with the login-file
$ proxysql-admin --enable --login-file=login-file.cnf \
--login-password-file=<(echo "${passwd}")

This script will assist with configuring ProxySQL for use with
Percona XtraDB Cluster (currently only PXC in combination
with ProxySQL is supported)

...

# Call proxysql-status with the login-file
$ proxysql-status --login-file=login-file.cnf \
--login-password-file=<(echo "${passwd}")

............ DUMPING MAIN DATABASE ............
***** DUMPING global_variables *****
+--------------------------------------------------------------+-----------------------------+
| variable_name                                                | variable_value              |
+--------------------------------------------------------------+-----------------------------+
| mysql-default_charset                                        | utf8                        |
|
...

Credentials File Format

# --------------------------------
# This file is constructed as a set of "name=value" pairs.
# Notes:
# (1) Comment lines start with '#' and must be on separate lines
# (2) the name part
# - The only acceptable names are shown below in this example.
# Other values will be ignored.
# (3) The value part:
# - This does NOT use quotes, so any quote character will be part of the value
# - The entire line will be used (be careful with spaces)
#
# If a value is not specified here, than the default value from the
# configuration file will be used.
# --------------------------------

# --------------------------------
# proxysql admin interface credentials.
# --------------------------------
proxysql.user=admin
proxysql.password=admin
proxysql.host=localhost
proxysql.port=6032

# --------------------------------
# PXC admin credentials for connecting to a PXC node.
# --------------------------------
cluster.user=admin
cluster.password=admin
cluster.host=localhost
cluster.port=4110

# --------------------------------
# proxysql monitoring user. proxysql admin script will create
# this user in PXC to monitor a PXC node.
# --------------------------------
monitor.user=monitor
monitor.password=monitor

# --------------------------------
# Application user to connect to a PXC node through proxysql
# --------------------------------
cluster-app.user=cluster_one
cluster-app.password=passw0rd

 

Requirements and Supported Platforms

OpenSSL 1.1.1 (and higher) is an installation requirement (with the exception of Ubuntu 16.04 (xenial), see the comment below).

  • Centos 7

The OpenSSL 1.1.1+ package must be installed. This can be installed with

yum install openssl11

This command will install OpenSSL 1.1 alongside the system installation and the script will use the openssl11 binary.

  •  Centos 8

The default version of OpenSSL is v1.1.1

  • Ubuntu 16.04 (xenial)

For Ubuntu xenial (16.04), installation of OpenSSL v1.1.1+ is not required, a purpose-built binary used for the encryption/decryption (proxysql-admin-openssl) will be installed alongside the proxysql-admin scripts.

  • Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic)

The default version of OpenSSL is v1.1.1

Jun
17
2021
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CEO Shishir Mehrotra and investor S. Somasegar reveal what sings in Coda’s pitch doc

Coda entered the market with an ambitious, but simple, mission. Since launching in 2014, it has seemingly forged a path to realizing its vision with $140 million in funding and 25,000 teams across the globe using the platform.

Coda is simple in that its focus is on the document, one of the oldest content formats/tools on the internet, and indeed in the history of software. Its ambition lies in the fact that there are massive incumbents in this space, like Google and Microsoft.

Co-founder and CEO Shishir Mehrotra told TechCrunch that that level of competition wasn’t a hindrance, mainly because the company was very good at communicating its value and building highly effective flywheels for growth.

Mehrotra was generous enough to let us take a look through his pitch doc (not deck!) on a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live, diving not only into the factors that have made Coda successful, but how he communicated those factors to investors.

Coda Pitch Doc

A screenshot from Coda’s pitch doc.

Extra Crunch Live also features the ECL Pitch-off, where founders in the audience come “onstage” to pitch their products to our guests. Mehrotra and his investor, Madrona partner S. Somasegar, gave their live feedback on pitches from the audience, which you can check out in the video (full conversation and pitch-off) below.

As a reminder, Extra Crunch Live takes place every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. Anyone can hang out during the episode (which includes networking with other attendees), but access to past episodes is reserved exclusively for Extra Crunch members. Join here.

The soft circle

Like many investors and founders, Mehrotra and Somasegar met well before Mehrotra was working on his own project. They met when both of them worked at Microsoft and maintained a relationship while Mehrotra was at Google.

In their earliest time together, the conversations centered around advice on the Seattle tech ecosystem or on working with a particular team at Microsoft.

“Many people will tell you building relationships with investors … you want to do it outside of a fundraise as much as possible,” said Mehrotra.

Eventually, Mehrotra got to work on Coda and kept in touch with Somasegar. He even pitched him for Series B fundraising — and ultimately got a no. But the relationship persisted.

Jun
17
2021
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How to launch a successful RPA initiative

Robotic process automation (RPA) is rapidly moving beyond the early adoption phase across verticals. Automating just basic workflow processes has resulted in such tremendous efficiency improvements and cost savings that businesses are adapting automation at scale and across the enterprise.

While there is a technical component to robotic automation, RPA is not a traditional IT-driven solution. It is, however, still important to align the business and IT processes around RPA. Adapting business automation for the enterprise should be approached as a business solution that happens to require some technical support.

A strong working relationship between the CFO and CIO will go a long way in getting IT behind, and in support of, the initiative rather than in front of it.

A strong working relationship between the CFO and CIO will go a long way in getting IT behind, and in support of, the initiative rather than in front of it.

More important to the success of a large-scale RPA initiative is support from senior business executives across all lines of business and at every step of the project, with clear communications and an advocacy plan all the way down to LOB managers and employees.

As we’ve seen in real-world examples, successful campaigns for deploying automation at scale require a systematic approach to developing a vision, gathering stakeholder and employee buy-in, identifying use cases, building a center of excellence (CoE) and establishing a governance model.

Create an overarching vision

Your strategy should include defining measurable, strategic objectives. Identify strategic areas that benefit most from automation, such as the supply chain, call centers, AP or revenue cycle, and start with obvious areas where business sees delays due to manual workflow processes. Remember, the goal is not to replace employees; you’re aiming to speed up processes, reduce errors, increase efficiencies and let your employees focus on higher value tasks.

Jun
17
2021
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Transform launches with $24.5M in funding for a tool to query and build metrics out of data troves

The biggest tech companies have put a lot of time and money into building tools and platforms for their data science teams and those who work with them to glean insights and metrics out of the masses of data that their companies produce: how a company is performing, how a new feature is working, when something is broken, or when something might be selling well (and why) are all things you can figure out if you know how to read the data.

Now, three alums that worked with data in the world of big tech have founded a startup that aims to build a “metrics store” so that the rest of the enterprise world — much of which lacks the resources to build tools like this from scratch — can easily use metrics to figure things out like this, too.

Transform, as the startup is called, is coming out of stealth today, and it’s doing so with an impressive amount of early backing — a sign not just of investor confidence in these particular founders, but also the recognition that there is a gap in the market for, as the company describes it, a “single source of truth for business data” that could be usefully filled.

The company is announcing that it has closed, while in stealth, a Series A of $20 million, and an earlier seed round of $4.5 million — both led by Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. The seed, the company said, also had dozens of angel investors, with the list including Elad Gil of Color Genomics, Lenny Rachitsky of Airbnb and Cristina Cordova of Notion.

The big breakthrough that Transform has made is that it’s built a metrics engine that a company can apply to its structured data — a tool similar to what big tech companies have built for their own use, but that hasn’t really been created (at least until now) for others who are not those big tech companies to use, too.

Transform can work with vast troves of data from the warehouse, or data that is being tracked in real time, to generate insights and analytics about different actions around a company’s products. Transform can be used and queried by non-technical people who still have to deal with data, Handel said.

The impetus for building the product came to Nick Handel, James Mayfield and Paul Yang — respectively Transform’s CEO, COO and software engineer — when they all worked together at Airbnb (previously Mayfield and Yang were also at Facebook together) in a mix of roles that included product management and engineering.

There, they could see first-hand both the promise that data held for helping make decisions around a product, or for measuring how something is used, or to plan future features, but also the demands of harnessing it to work, and getting everyone on the same page to do so.

“There is a growing trend among tech companies to test every single feature, every single iteration of whatever. And so as a part of that, we built this tool [at Airbnb] that basically allowed you to define the various metrics that you wanted to track to understand your experiment,” Handel recalled in an interview. “But you also want to understand so many other things like, how many people are searching for listings in certain areas? How many people are instantly booking those listings? Are they contacting customer service, are they having trust and safety issues?” The tool Airbnb built was Minerva, optimised specifically for the kinds of questions Airbnb might typically have for its own data.

“By locking down all of the definitions for the metrics, you could basically have a data engineering team, a centralized data infrastructure team, do all the calculation for these metrics, and then serve those to the data scientists to then go in and do kind of deeper, more interesting work, because they weren’t bogged down in calculating those metrics over and over,” he continued. This platform evolved within Airbnb. “We were we were really inspired by some of the early work that we saw happen on this tool.”

The issue is that not every company is built to, well, build tools like these tailored to whatever their own business interests might be.

“There’s a handful of companies who do similar things in the metrics space,” Mayfield said, “really top flight companies like LinkedIn, Airbnb and Uber. They have really started to invest in metrics. But it’s only those companies that can devote teams of eight or 10, engineers, designers who can build those things in house. And I think that was probably, you know, a big part of the impetus for wanting to start this company was to say, not every organization is going to be able to devote eight or 10 engineers to building this metrics tool.”

And the other issue is that metrics have become an increasingly important — maybe the most important — lever for decision making in the world of product design and wider business strategy for a tech (and maybe by default, any) company.

We have moved away from “move fast and break things.” Instead, we now embrace — as Mayfield put it — “If you can’t measure it, you can’t move it.”

Transform is built around three basic priorities, Handel said.

The first of these has to do with collective ownership of metrics: by building a single framework for measuring these and identifying them, their theory is that it’s easier for a company to all get on the same page with using them. The second of these is to use Transform to simply make the work of the data team more efficient and easier, by turning the most repetitive parts of extracting insights into automated scripts that can be used and reused, giving the data team the ability to spend more time analyzing the data rather than just building datasets. And third of all, to provide customers with APIs that they can use to embed the metric-extracting tools into other applications, whether in business intelligence or elsewhere.

The three products it’s introducing today, called Metrics Framework, Metrics Catalog and Metrics API follow from these principles.

Transform is only really launching publicly today, but Handel said that it’s already working with a small handful of customers (unnamed) in a small beta, enough to be confident that what it’s built works as it was intended. The funding will be used to continue building out the product as well as bring on more talent and hopefully onboard more businesses to using it.

Hopefully might be less a tenuous word than its investors would use, convinced that it’s filling a strong need in the market.

“Transform is filling a critical gap within the industry. Just as we invested in Looker early on for its innovative approach to business intelligence, Transform takes it one step further by providing a powerful yet streamlined single source of truth for metrics,” said Tomasz Tungis, MD, Redpoint Ventures, in a statement.

“We’ve seen companies across the globe struggle to make sense of endless data sources or turn them into actionable, trusted metrics. We invested in Transform because they’ve developed an elegant solution to this problem that will change how companies think about their data,” added Shardul Shah, a partner at Index Ventures.

Jun
17
2021
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Gusto makes first acquisition, buying Ardius to expand into R&D tax credits

Free money from the government sounds like winning the lottery, but the reality is that most tech startups and even local retail businesses and restaurants can potentially qualify for tax credits related to research and development in the United States. Those credits, which is what helps tech giants keep their tax rates to near zero, are hard for smaller companies to receive because of extensive documentation requirements and potential audit costs.

So a number of startups have been launched to solve that gap, and now, larger companies are entering the fray as well.

Gusto, which started off with payroll for SMBs and has since expanded into employee on-boarding, insurance, benefits and other HR offerings, today announced that it is acquiring Ardius, a startup designed to automate tax compliance particularly around R&D tax credits.

The Los Angeles-based company was founded by Joshua Lee in 2018, who previously had worked for more than a decade at accounting firm EY. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Ardius will run as an independent business with the entire team transitioning to Gusto.

The strategy here is simple: Most R&D credits require payroll documentation, data that is already stored in Gusto’s system of record. Ardius in its current incarnation was designed to tap into a number of payroll data providers and extract that data and turn it into verifiable tax documents. With this tie-up, the companies can simply do that automatically for Gusto’s extensive number of customers.

Joshua Reeves, co-founder and CEO of Gusto, said that the acquisition falls in line with the company’s long-term focus on customers and simplicity. “We want to bring together technology, great service, [and] make government simpler,” he said. “In some ways, a lot of stuff we’re doing — make payroll simpler, make healthcare simpler, make PPP [loans] and tax credits simpler — just make these things work the way they’re intended to work.” The company presumably could have built out such functionality, but he noted that “time to market” was a crucial point in making Ardius the company’s first acquisition.

Tomer London, co-founder and chief product officer, said that “we’ve been looking at this space for a long time because it kind of connects to one of our original product principles of building a product that is opinionated,” he said. In a space as complicated as HR, “we want to be out there and be an advisor, not just a tool. And this is just such a great example of where you can take the payroll data that we already have and in just a few clicks and in a matter of a few days, get access to really important cash flow for a business.” He noted that tax credits is “something that’s been on our roadmap for a long time.”

Gusto works with more than 100 third-party services that integrate on top of its platform. Reeves emphasized that while Ardius is part of Gusto, all companies — even those that might compete directly with the product — will continue to have equal access to the platform’s data. In its release, the company pointed out that Boast.ai, Clarus, Neo.Tax and TaxTaker are just some of the other tax products that integrate with Gusto today.

Of course, Ardius is just one of a number of competitors that have popped up in the R&D and economic development tax credit space. MainStreet, which I last profiled in 2020 for its seed round, just raised $60 million in funding in March led by SignalFire. Meanwhile, Neo.tax, which I also profiled last year, has raised a total of $5.5 million.

Reeves was sanguine about the attention the space is garnering and the potential competition for Ardius. When it comes to R&D tax credits, “whatever creates more accessibility, we’re a fan of,” he said. “It’s great that there’s more awareness because it’s still under-utilized frankly.” He emphasized that Gusto would be able to offer a more vertically-integrated solution given its data and software than other competitors in the space.

While the pandemic particularly hit SMBs, who often lacked the financial wherewithal of larger companies to survive the crisis, Gusto actually expanded its business as new companies sprouted up. Reeves said the company grew its customer base 50% in its last fiscal year, which ended in April. It “turns out in a health pandemic and in an economic crisis, things like payroll and accessing health care are quite important,” he said. Gusto launched a program to help SMBs collect the government’s stimulus PPP loans.

The company’s main bases of operation are in San Francisco, Denver and New York City, and the company has a growing contingent of remote workers, including the Ardius crew, who will remain based in LA. While Reeves demurred on future acquisitions, Gusto’s focus on expanding to a comprehensive financial wellness platform for both employees and businesses would likely suggest that additional acquisitions may well be in the offing in the future.

 

Jun
17
2021
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Neo4j raises Neo$325M as graph-based data analysis takes hold in enterprise

Databases run the world, but database products are often some of the most mature and venerable software in the modern tech stack. Designers will pixel push, frontend engineers will add clicks to make it more difficult to drop out of a soporific Zoom call, but few companies are ever willing to rip out their database storage engine. Too much risk, and almost no return.

So it’s exceptional when a new database offering breaks through the barriers and redefines the enterprise.

Neo4j, which offers a graph-centric database and related products, announced today that it raised $325 million at a more than $2 billion valuation in a Series F deal led by Eurazeo, with additional capital from Alphabet’s venture wing GV. Eurazeo managing director Nathalie Kornhoff-Brüls will join the company’s board of directors.

That funding makes Neo4j among the most well-funded database companies in history, with a collective fundraise haul of more than half a billion dollars. For comparison, MongoDB, which trades on Nasdaq, raised $311 million in total (according to Crunchbase) before its IPO. Meanwhile, Cockroach Labs of CockroachDB fame has now raised $355 million in funding, including a $160 million round earlier this year at a similar $2 billion valuation.

The past decade has seen a whole new crop of next-generation database models, from scale-out SQL to document to key-value stores to time series and on and on and on. What makes graph databases like Neo4j unique is their focus on the connections between individual data entities. Graph-based data models have become central to modern machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, and are now widely used by data analysts in applications as diverse as marketing to fraud detection.

CEO and co-founder Emil Eifrem said that Neo4j, which was founded back in 2007, has hit its growth stride in recent years given the rising popularity of graph-based analysis. “We have a deep developer community of hundreds of thousands of developers actively building applications with Neo4j in any given month, but we also have a really deep data science community,” he said.

In the past, most business analysis was built on relational databases. Yet, inter-connected complexity is creeping in everywhere, and that’s where Eifrem believes Neo4j has a durable edge. As an example, “any company that ships stuff is tapping into this global fine-grain mesh spanning continent to continent,” he suggested. “All of a sudden the ship captain in the Suez Canal … falls asleep, and then they block the Suez Canal for a week, and then you’ve got to figure out how will this affect my enterprise, how does that cascade across my entire supply chain.” With a graph model, that analysis is a cinch.

Neo4j says that 800 enterprises are customers and 75% of the Fortune 100 are users of the company’s products.

We last checked in with the company in 2020 when it launched 4.0, which offered unlimited scaling. Today, Neo4j comes in a couple of different flavors. It’s a database that can be either self-hosted or purchased as a cloud service offering which it dubs Aura. That’s for the data storage folks. For the data scientists, the company offers Neo4j Graph Data Science Library, a set of comprehensive tools for analyzing graph data. The company offers free (or “community” tiers), affordable starting tiers and full-scale enterprise pricing options depending on needs.

Development continues on the database. This morning at its developers conference, Neo4j demonstrated what it dubbed its “super-scaling technology” on a 200 billion node graph with more than a trillion relationships between them, showing how its tools could offer “real-time” queries on such a large scale.

Unsurprisingly, Eifrem said that the new venture funding will be used to continue doubling down on “product, product, product” but emphasized a few major strategic initiatives as critical for the company. First, he wants to continue to deepen the company’s partnerships with public cloud providers. It already has a deep relationship with Google Cloud (GV was an investor in this round after all), and hopes to continue building relationships with other providers.

It’s also seeing a major uptick in interest from the APAC region. Eifrem said that the company recently opened up an office in Singapore to accelerate its sales in the broader IT market there.

Overall, “We think that graphs can be a significant part of the modern data landscape. In fact, we believe it can be the biggest part of the modern data landscape. And this round, I think, sends a clear signal [that] we’re going for it,” he said.

Erik Nordlander and Tom Hulme of GV were the leads for that firm. In addition, DTCP and Lightrock newly invested and previous investors One Peak, Creandum and Greenbridge Partners joined the round.

Jun
17
2021
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Google announces EPYC-based Tau virtual machines for Cloud

Google this morning announced the launch of Tau, a new family of virtual machines built on AMD’s third-gen EPYC processor. According to the company, the new x86-compatible system offers a 42% price-performance boost over standard VMs. Google notably first started utilizing AMD EPYC processors for Cloud back in 2017, while Amazon Cloud’s offerings date back to 2018.

Google claims the Tau family “leapfrogs” existing cloud VMs. The systems come in a variety of configurations, ranging up to 60vCPUs per VM, and 4GB of memory per vCPU. Networking bandwidth goes up to 32 Gbps, and they can be coupled with a variety of different network attached storage.

“Customers across every industry are dealing with more demanding and data-intensive workloads and looking for strategic ways to speed up performance and reduce costs,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a press release.  “Our work with key strategic partners like AMD has allowed us to broaden our offerings and deliver customers the best price performance for compute-heavy, business-critical applications– all on the cleanest cloud in the industry.”

Image Credits: Google

Google has already signed up some high-profile customers for an early trial, including Twitter, Snap and DoIT.

“High performance at the right price point is a critical consideration as we work to serve the global public conversation,” Twitter Platform Lead Nick Tornow said in a blog post. “We are excited by initial tests that show potential for double digit performance improvement. We are collaborating with Google Cloud to more deeply evaluate benefits on price and performance for specific compute workloads that we can realize through use of the new Tau VM family.”

Image Credits: Google

The Tau VMs will be arriving for Google Cloud in Q3 of this year. The company has already opened the system up to clients for pre-registration. Pricing is dependent on the configuration. For example, a 32vCPU VM sporting 128GB RAM will run around $1.35 an hour.

Jun
17
2021
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Chaos Testing Leads to More Stable Percona XtraDB Cluster

Chaos Testing Leads to More Stable Percona XtraDB Cluster

Chaos Testing Leads to More Stable Percona XtraDB ClusterIn my talk at Percona Live 2021, “Creating Chaos in Databases”, I discussed how creating a controlled interruption in available resources (I used primary pod and network interruptions) allows us to test the stability of a database, and in our case, Percona XtraDB Cluster.

I also mentioned in the talk that my testing led to diagnosing a few unpleasant bugs, namely:

  • PXC-3437: Node fails to join in the endless loop
  • PXC-3580: Aggressive network outages on one node makes the whole cluster unusable
  • PXC-3596: Node stuck in aborting SST

Currently, I am happy to report these bugs are fixed in Percona XtraDB Cluster 8.0.23 and this version will provide you with a much better and stable experience, especially when used in a combination with our Percona Distribution for MySQL Operator.

I am not able to break Percona XtraDB Cluster 8.0.23 as I was able to in previous releases. It seems I need to be more creative to find more network-related bugs, so we will see how it goes.

As a side note, I would like to mention that our fixes are available to everybody who would like to improve the stability of their products based on the Galera library. We do not hide our source code behind “Enterprise” paywalls or hide them in combined .tar.gz source code dumps.

For example, a bug fix for bug https://jira.percona.com/browse/PXC-3580 is available in the pull request https://github.com/percona/galera/pull/214/files. Percona is committed to providing you with a real Open Source experience.

Happy Clustering!

Jun
17
2021
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Nylas, maker of APIs to integrate email and other productivity tools, raises $120M, passes 80K developers

Companies like Stripe and Twilio have put APIs front and center as an effective way to integrate complex functionality that may not be core to your own technology stack but is a necessary part of your wider business. Today, a company that has taken that model to create an effective way to integrate email, calendars and other tools into other apps using APIs is announcing a big round of funding to expand its business.

Nylas, which describes itself as a communications API platform — enabling more automation particularly in business apps by integrating productivity tools through a few lines of code — has raised $120 million in funding, money that it will be using to continue expanding the kinds of APIs that it offers, with a focus in particular not just on productivity apps, but AI and related tools to bring more automation into workflows.

Nylas is not disclosing its valuation, but this is a very significant step up for the company at a time when it is seeing strong traction.

This is more than double what Nylas had raised up to now ($55 million since being founded in 2015), and when it last raised — a $16 million Series B in 2018 — it said it had “thousands of developers” among its users. Now, that number has ballooned to 80,000, with Nylas processing some 1.2 billion API requests each day, working out to 20 terabytes of data, daily. It also said that revenue growth tripled in the last 12 months.

The Series C is bringing a number of interesting names to Nylas’s cap table. New investor Tiger Global Management is leading the round, with previous backers Citi Ventures, Slack Fund, 8VC and Round13 Capital also participating. Other new backers in this round include Owl Rock Capital, a division of Blue Owl; Stripe co-founders Patrick Collison and John Collison; Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski; and Tony Fadell.

As with other companies in the so-called API economy, the gap and opportunity that Nylas has identified is that there are a lot of productivity tools that largely exist in their own silos — meaning when a person wants to use them when working in an application, they have to open a separate application to do so. At the same time, building new, say, tools, or building a bridge to integrate an existing application, can be time-consuming and complex.

Nylas first identified this issue with email. An integration to make it easier to use email and the data housed in it — which works with emails from major providers like Microsoft and Google, as well as other services built with the IMAP protocol — in other apps picked up a lot of followers, leading the company to expand into other areas that today include scheduling and calendaring, a neural API to build in tools like sentiment analysis or productivity or workflow automation; and security integrations to streamline the Google OAuth security review process (used for example in an app geared at developers).

“The fundamental shift towards digital communications and connectivity has resulted in companies across all industries increasingly leaning on developers to solve critical business challenges and build unique and engaging products and experiences. As a result, APIs have become core to modern software development and digital transformation,” Gleb Polyakov, co-founder and CEO of Nylas, said in statement.

“Through our suite of powerful APIs, we’re arming developers with the tools and applications needed to meet customer and market needs faster, create competitive differentiation through powerful and customized user experiences, and generate operational ROI through more productive and intelligently automated processes and development cycles. We’re thrilled to continue advancing our mission to make the world more productive and are honored to have the backing of distinguished investors and entrepreneurs.”

Indeed, the rise of Nylas and the function it fulfills is part of a bigger shift we’ve seen in businesses overall: as organizations become more digitized and use more cloud-based apps to get work done, developers have emerged as key mechanics to help that machine run. A bigger emphasis on APIs to integrate services together is part of their much-used toolkit, one of the defining reasons for investors backing Nylas today.

“Companies are rapidly adopting APIs as a way to automate productivity and find new and innovative ways to support modern work and collaboration,” said John Curtius, a partner at Tiger, in a statement. “This trend has become critical to creating frictionless and meaningful data-driven communications that power digital transformation. We believe Nylas is uniquely positioned to lead the future of the API economy.” Curtius is joining the board with this round.

Corrected to note that Blue Owl is not connected to State Farm.

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