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Democratizing Infrastructure Monitoring with Open Source

By Costa Tsaousis, CEO and founder of Netdata

For years, organizations have struggled with bringing their procedures up to speed with the "cloud way" only to find their resources and allocated dollars drained in the search of effective monitoring.

Not too long ago, I was on that same boat. As a tech industry veteran, I understand the struggles that come with this daunting task. I've experienced the pains of migrating infrastructure from collocated to the cloud and have come face-to-face with the lack of visibility that made it impossible to troubleshoot operational issues my team and I encountered during this process. Not to mention, the frustration of investing in multiple monitoring solutions that simply did not work.

This frustration led me to create my company, Netdata, with one goal in mind: to democratize monitoring. I spent all of my free time, including nights and weekends, developing a solution to help sysadmins, developers, DevOps engineers, and IT managers customize their monitoring infrastructure, while troubleshooting issues often faced on the cloud and on-prem infrastructure. I needed to make sure that the solution was easy to install, gave end-users access to unlimited metrics, provided real-time monitoring, and included preconfigured dynamic dashboards that were designed specifically for troubleshooting.

And when it came time to launch, I decided to take the unconventional path of releasing Netdata as an open source software rather than an enterprise solution. Here's what led me to this decision and why you should consider it too:

The Open Source Community

When I first launched Netdata, I used Reddit and GitHub as a stepping stone. Within hours of releasing it on GitHub, it went viral. Hundreds of people all over the world started using it, sharing feedback by opening dozens of GitHub issues. The project reached 10,000 stars on GitHub in a couple of weeks! The more Netdata received feedback from the open source community, the more this empowered me to continue building a solution to simplify the lives of those who needed it the most. The open source community is a great way to explore new ideas from hundreds of contributors you know who are genuinely interested in your product and committed to making it better. 

Open Source Offers Quicker Growth

Building a product for and with the community is fundamental. It's important to put end-users first, which is why we built a free, open-source monitoring agent that is the best single-node monitoring system you can find. This is a gift to the world - open technology and free software.

Open source software is a great model if you want rapid, scalable development. Our collaboration through tools like open repositories on GitHub engages a global community of contributors, widening the talent pool and expertise.

In conclusion, the decision to release Netdata as an open source software has seen tremendous success for both the company and its end-users. The open source community has been nothing short of inspirational while working alongside our hundreds of contributors to make Netdata better. Netdata has 48K stars on GitHub to-date and nearly employs 50 people, mostly engineers, to help the growing demand for a solution that helps people properly monitor their infrastructure. While open source may have its disadvantages, its advantages will always outweigh them.

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About the Author

Costa Tsaousis 

Costa Tsaousis is the founder and CEO of Netdata, an innovative real-time performance monitoring solution for infrastructures of all sizes. He is working with the Netdata team to build both a robust monitoring agent with an engaged open-source community and a complementary SaaS application that helps enterprises manage their Cloud infrastructure, at scale. 

Before Netdata, Costa worked for 25 years in the online IT services industry, assisting disruptors become challengers using technology. Costa is also the original developer behind FireHOL, a "firewall for humans" that builds secure, stateful firewalls from easy-to-understand, human-readable configurations.

Published Friday, August 21, 2020 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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