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Orchestrate makes databases simple by powering full-text search, events, graph, and K/V storage behind a REST API.


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Antony Falco

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

04.20.2015
Posted by in Company
Bigger Boat

We’ve always tried to make the Orchestrate blog a combination of developer-focused how-to’s explaining big features like geo-spatial support, improvements to Elasticsearch or our new full-text searchable events feature and a place to mark off important Orchestrate milestones such as new product launches or funding. This blog post is a perfect combination of the two and a culmination of sorts.

Today we are excited to announce Orchestrate is joining the CenturyLink team. Under new ownership we will continue to operate and expand our database-as-a-service. The same great service that our customers have come to love will continue expanding and improving. From CenturyLink’s perspective, they add a NoSQL database service that extends their already rich platform for the enterprise. From Orchestrate’s perspective, we add a multitude of complementary services–from compute to load-balancing to analytics. Orchestrate users will find enough new features to fill a month’s worth of blog posts; blog posts we are very excited to write.

As a milestone blog post, this marks an end and a beginning. When Matt, Ian, and I founded Orchestrate, we had a pretty good idea of where NoSQL was going. It was consolidating. NoSQL databases unlocked tremendous creativity and value – most of the so-called unicorn startups of today have been either originators or major users of NoSQL technologies. Over time, however, running half a dozen specialized databases has proven inefficient. Enter multi-model (or multi-query or polyglot) databases like Orchestrate. We built a service that combined five different NoSQL database types in one and we made it simple to use. It couldn’t have been such a bad idea. Recently, others have started to follow suit.

Building a service, or a company for that matter, is really about building a team. I won’t add to the rivers of electronic ink spilled every day in blogs about teams except to say, after several startups, one thing is clear: character matters. Working with people of integrity, people who meet challenges with determination, people who find their primary motivation in doing excellent work and delighting users – people with these qualities make good outcomes seem inevitable. The biggest success of Orchestrate has been our ability to bring together such a uniformly strong group of people and turn them loose on the challenge of multi-model persistence.

And so it is with this great group that we begin our next phase as part of the CenturyLink Cloud team. In the early months of founding Orchestrate we met CenturyLink Cloud SVP of Platform Jared Wray. From that first meeting, we thought CenturyLink unique among cloud providers. As we moved toward partnership, we noticed their attention to design, the clarity of their roadmap, and the pace of execution on that roadmap. But most of all, we noticed that almost universally they were smart, nice, and modest. They were hungry to compete but never arrogant.

When we started to talk about something more than partnership we dug deeper into what an acquisition would mean. It means we can now offer users much simpler access to a broad range of cloud-related services. It means access to a massive network footprint (we are already in four new CenturyLink data centers, including Singapore, tripling our overall footprint). It also means joining a company made up of people we look forward to working with to achieve great things. Nice people, great technology, a global network and platform at our disposal: as acquisitions go, this seems almost too good to be true.

The deal would not have happened had it not been for the unconditional support of our investors. Some investors tell you before you sign with them that they really want to help you build a business but afterward disappear, or worse. Ours were different. They challenged us, to be sure, but in the end they always had our backs. Puneet Agarwal, our board member from lead investor True Ventures, has shown nothing but unswerving positivity. Anyone considering building a company could do far worse than taking money from the folks at True, Frontline, Resonant, Epic, and our pals at Trifork. At one critical point or another during the last two years, each of our investors was there for us. I would also like to give PIE, the Portland Incubator Experiment, and its principals Rick Turoczy, Renny Gleeson, and Kirsten Golden, a special shout of recognition. We loved being a part of what they have helped build in Portland. They gave us a home early and connected us to the rich and burgeoning Portland tech community.

Finally, thanks to all our users and customers. Every Wednesday we discussed the features customers had suggested, their feedback, and their complaints. We’ve been lucky to have developers willing to give us their time. Through long hours of usability studies, volunteers casually destroyed product assumptions and replaced them with inspired insights. We conducted thorough feedback sessions where we felt we should have been paying our customers. There were countless daily ways our users expressed their needs, and they helped us build a better product. We learned that while developers’ emotional connection to a product influences their decision making, most of all they are pragmatic, fair, and generous with their time. We are glad we can continue to work with the folks who, perhaps more than any single group, shaped Orchestrate into the service it is today.

And since I know our users, I expect most of you have skipped down here to get to the practical matters of the acquisition. We have FAQs that will explain what this means technically for our users and what this means for our respective businesses.

We are also here to answer questions. Just email us at support@orchestrate.io or reach out on Twitter and we will happily answer your questions.

Photos by Travelbag Ltd and Rennett Stowe