Alex Karasulu is an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the software industry and a recognized leader in the open source community. He is widely known as the original author of the Apache Directory Server, used by IBM both as the foundation of the Rational Directory Server and also integrated into the Websphere Application Server. Alex co-founded several Apache projects, including MINA, Felix and Karaf, among others, which, along with their communities, thrive independently past his day-to-day involvement in the projects. He is the founder of Safehaus, where he authored the first low-resource mobile OTP algorithms in open source with the OATH community that was later adopted by Google in their Authenticator product. In addition to IBM, Atlassian, Cisco, and Polycom are just a few of the many companies that sell commercial hardware and software solutions that bundle or embed software and products that Alex has created. Alex holds a BSc. in Computer Science and Physics from Columbia University.
We spoke to Alex about Sabutai and how his organisation is bringing cloud computing, crypto-mining and IoT service to the blockchain.
Describe the company is in elevator pitch
Our product, Subutai, is the world’s first intelligent, blockchain-driven Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Cloud Computing platform. Subutai disrupts, decentralizes, and democratizes Cloud and IoT services, and brings cryptocurrency mining to everyone.
How are you different?
Up to 90% of computing resources are unused at any time. Subutai lets anyone sell or rent their unused computer resources to create clouds on the edge, as opposed to centralized locations. Subutai’s Open Source, container-based, dynamic P2P multi-cloud performs in a similar way to Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud, but runs on your own computers as well as those who share and rent compute resources with you. We see this as the “people’s cloud”, with available devices securely attaching to clouds closer to them on the edge. These edge devices don’t have to be limited to actual computers, they can be other connected “things”, such as “smart home” electronics, appliances, sensors, intelligent digital assistants such as Alexa/Google Assistant/HomePod, as well as vehicles, and countless other devices that access and exchange data, all of which fall under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Our product line includes:
- Subutai™ PeerOS: Open Source P2P Cloud and IoT software
- Subutai™ Bazaar: Global marketplace for trading computing resources and applications
- Subutai™ Blockchain Router: A “green” token-mining, open hardware cloud broadband router and IoT gateway
- Subutai™ Blueprints: Templates that reduce system administration overheads and simplify the process of distributed application deployment
- KHAN™ Token: An Ethereum blockchain-based reserve currency token
Our platform powers collaborative consumption: the same disruptive forces Airbnb used with rental homes now apply to the Cloud and IoT. Many commonly refer to it as a sharing economy. Anyone can buy and sell resources from anyone else. Subutai, like Airbnb, connects those selling resources with those running applications needing the resources. It is an on-demand sharing economy that gives everyone access without having to worry about changes being made without either party’s knowledge.
Subutai optimizes consumer preferences by dynamically migrating application infrastructure across providers on the edge and in the cloud. The Subutai Bazaar tracks the availability, quality of service, and prices of peer resources. Subutai’s analytics and machine learning algorithms optimize the search for resources to satisfy user needs such as cost and other criteria. With the increased quantity, variety, and geographic distribution of available peers providing cloud services, users use the platform to automatically hedge provider benefits against their disadvantages. Users avoid vendor lock-in and benefit from more choice, fault tolerance, performance, and quality of service while reducing costs without the overhead of migration and management.
A really important benefit to using Subutai is that it protects individuals and businesses by securing their privacy from being compromised and their every action analyzed. This is particularly relevant with legislature such as the recently-passed CLOUD Act, that allows all data hosted on servers inside and outside of the US by American corporations to be accessible to US authorities via warrant or subpoena. By freeing you from being tied to large cloud providers, Subutai helps you keep your private data private, and gives you the option to utilize resources you already have on hand to dramatically cut the cost of cloud utility bills. The cost savings touted by what the industry calls “hybrid cloud computing” is built into the platform and applied automatically when resources are available.
Subutai is proven, mature, and is in use today. We have release major version 7.0 of the software, and v2.0 of our Subutai Blockchain Router has entered production. It’s a really exciting time for us, with new company announcements, ongoing product improvements, adding new blueprints, and welcoming new users every day.
No platform does what we do!
Why will you do well?
We understand first-hand the risk of one’s privacy increasingly threatened by being locked into large cloud providers. The cost of cloud computing services becoming overwhelming for the little guy is a reality. Subutai directly addresses this problem by allowing people to create their own resilient clouds running across computing resources they already own.
We were shocked by end-of-month invoices after forgetting to turn instances off at Big Cloud providers. We wanted to build something simple, zero cost, and independent of the cloud providers to use for testing and satisfy our basic Open Source project infrastructure needs. We did not need full-on premium resources but required a bit more redundancy than running on a single home computer over a residential broadband line. Subutai was the answer.
By allowing individuals and commercial entities of any size to participate in a cloud services-sharing economy –democratizing the cloud– the “race to zero” rapidly accelerates to reduce costs and increase hosting options closer to, or on, the edge. This has the additional advantage of increasing performance and efficiency by locating services and applications closer to where those services and applications are used most.
We have extensive expertise. Prior to Subutai, we have developed highly performant software solutions that are used in Fortune 50 companies, and are recognized, trusted, resources in the Open Source ecosystem. Our open hardware router uses the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art components, and is armed with real-time intrusion detection and prevention systems required by mission-critical, industrial grade IoT systems.
Our technology is proven. Subutai originally developed as a multi-million dollar advanced defense research contract for a new P2P Cloud computing platform that could reconfigure itself dynamically and securely across the Internet. When the client allowed the core technology to be open sourced, we formed OptDyn to bring Subutai to the world.
Where are you based?
We are a distributed organization, headquartered in the United States, with teams in Europe, Asia, and South America.
When was the company launched?
We launched OptDyn in 2013.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
Of course we’re thrilled to see people using Subutai at home for data management, image processing, and new areas such as gaming, as well as in businesses for content distribution, private Cloud messaging, and more. Subutai has several useful blueprints, instructions, for installing applications useful to businesses across peers. The list keeps growing every day.
We are also very excited about the uptake of Subutai across various sectors, such as banking and FinTech, Smart Cities, and in energy (by the world’s largest generator of renewable energy). There are great opportunities ahead with our recent announcement of the industrial version of the Subutai Blockchain Router playing an integral role in the national IoT effort for Brazil.
Who are you trying to attract to your product?
The beauty of Subutai is that it doesn’t require deep technical expertise in order to use it. Individuals, businesses, research institutions, universities, medical facilities, and governments all use Subutai.
The residential edition of our Subutai Blockchain Router will be attractive to those seeking a powerful, energy-efficient broadband Cloud router/IoT gateway/plug-and-play cryptocurrency wallet and mining device. The Subutai Blockchain Router runs on just 18 watts, and uses state-of-the-art FPGAs, which offer energy savings upwards of 1,000% over traditional GPU-based mining methods. Our router also offers considerable flexibility and adaptive advantages over ASIC miners. Despite billions of dollars in sales, centralization of mining “proof-of-work” using ASICs has caused the mining community to reject this monopoly that raises the barrier to entry and pushes out smaller players. Developers are already working on modifications to their algorithms to effectively kill this market.
Subutai allows users to easily participate in the crypto economy through energy-efficient cryptocurrency mining and frictionless commoditization of idle computing resources, thereby opening new opportunities in Cloud computing. Businesses using Subutai can instantly raise and operate a sharing economy for countless applications using KHAN, our Ethereum blockchain-based reserve currency token. Subutai is being deployed across the $1.5T global telecommunications and $60B Web Hosting/ISP markets, among many other industries. These capabilities lay down the groundwork for an edge computing revolution with a crypto-economic business model.
Using Subutai, everyone can “Conquer the Cloud”.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
Subutai is ideal for startups. With little to no cost at all startups can use Subutai for instant infrastructure. Legacy computers lying around could be used to run websites, wikis, office productivity software, development and project management software instantly at no cost. Tech startups launch their own applications using Subutai’s Blueprints or Google AppEngine compatible PaaS layer.
Small to Medium Businesses (SMB), without the budget for permanent IT staff, can immediately start using Subutai Blueprints to stand up popular Open Source applications to enable their business in their own cloud.
Enterprises can also use Subutai to avoid cloud vendor lock-in, increase redundancy, and dramatically (up to 80-90%) save on cloud utility bills. Subutai is a Multi-Cloud platform on steroids since it uses P2P, that means its cloud floats on top of many other cloud providers and even your own infrastructure (hybridization) while balancing costs vs. performance using various AI technologies. Subutai’s resource broker finds you the best price to cost ratio to satisfy your needs. Doing Multi-Cloud without it requires additional headcount just to handle all the cloud accounts and interpret the cryptic bills at the end of the month.
Tell us about your team?
Alongside me is our Co-CEO Jon “maddog” Hall, noted Linux/FOSS advocate and Board Chair for the Linux Professional Institute. Several of my fellow members at The Apache Software Foundation lead OptDyn’s operations areas, including Sally Khudairi, our Chief Marketing Officer, and Niclas Hedhman, our Chief Technology Officer.
I am widely known as the original author of the Apache Directory Server, which is the backbone of several IBM products and other enterprise applications. I have co-founded and mentored numerous Apache projects, including MINA, Felix, and Karaf. My software is used every day in commercial solutions by Google, Atlassian, Cisco, Polycom, and more.
With more than 150 collective years in Open Source, it’s really fulfilling to be able to apply ”The Apache Way” to our operation, teams, product development, and community engagement.
We’re quickly growing our distributed team of developers, engineers, designers, QA specialists, project managers, marketers, and community managers. We’re always on the lookout for great talent.
What are your plans for the future?
In addition to Subutai software. our open hardware Blockchain Router is the Swiss Army Knife of IoT gateways: it has Raspberry Pi, Arduino and PMod headers. The opportunities with Subutai are only limited by your imagination.
In addition to turning cloud computing on the edge into a real sharing economy, we’re excited about the several problems we will solve with blockchain technology. Blockchain smart contracts can be used for service-level agreements and to enforce accountability. We want verified small businesses to leverage Subutai to buy and sell resources to one another using Subutai’s cryptocurrency, KHAN, and the blockchain.
Before Amazon Web Services, which currently dominates 65% of the Cloud Computing market, Amazon was just an eCommerce company. We ask, “why can’t any verified company sell cloud services regardless of its vertical?” We want to start a supernova to birth millions of Amazons that can transact with each other to provide amazing cloud services and applications on and off the edge.
Our horde of users is growing, and we want their continued participation. Users are developing new blueprints and are able to share them with the world on the Subutai Bazaar. We are preparing for the launch of our KHAN token and are excited to share more details soon.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
I’m a big fan of DIY projects and love the Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms. I’m addicted to building things with these adult legos often buying sensors and motor controllers from online stores like Sparkfun. I can lose myself for months this way and I dream of getting the time to do that again.
But to be honest, I’m actually very lucky to be building my favourite tech gadget right now. I cannot wait to finish production on the Subutai Blockchain Router and switch roles to become a user. I purposely designed the product like a mini gadget-making factory where I can do anything with it by attaching any sensor, actuator, or peripheral connect bus to it to sense and respond to the physical environment around us. I want to build radical cloud and IoT applications using the blockchain with my own product and, as a user, I want no boundaries to what I can do with it.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
Oh man, where do I start? 10 years ago I would have started my answer “with a computerized lathe…” But, we’re actually getting to a point where with 3D scanners, 3D printers and other RAD tools you can prototype anything your mind comes up with. I guess, I want to be in a perpetual state of creation with a slew of gadgets for making things. The ideal retirement is to be locked up in my own laboratory to just build stuff. Nothing else brings me joy. God created man in his own image right? I guess we’re all creators at heart because of that.
Anything else you’d like to add or we should have asked?
“Why the name, Subutai?” People usually ask me that. Subutai of all things, is a weird or not so common name. I wanted to make something that tied us together and enabled us to conquer many things that limit our freedom. Subutai was a slave that rose up the ranks to become the greatest general of all time. He was industrious, inventing essentially what formally became the engineering core. He made Genghis Khan as great and as famous as he is, but it was Temujin’s meritocratic governance that allowed it. They both went together. This is why our product is called Subutai, our token is called the KHAN, and why we want you to OptDyn (pronounced “opt in”) to the horde.
Plus Subutai is badassery incarnate. We’re dogs of war, psyched and pumped to start the conquest.
How do people get in touch with you?
I’m always available online on the Subutai Slack at https://subutai-io.slack.com/ . Drop in and let me know what you think after trying Subutai. If trying it does not give you goosebumps, I need to know why! You can also drop me an email at [email protected]
OptDyn (corporate) https://optdyn.com/
Subutai + KHAN (product + token) https://subutai.io/
OptDyn is currently accepting private SAFT sales of the KHAN token.
Please contact [email protected] for more information.