Editor's Note: Our BYOC and SaaS offerings have come a long way since this article was originally published. If you'd like to read the latest, please check out this article: StarTree Cloud Deployment Models: BYOC vs Public SaaS
Today we announced the general availability of the Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) edition and preview of the SaaS edition of StarTree Cloud - a fully managed Apache Pinot platform. StarTree Cloud enables enterprises to ingest, store (decoupled storage and compute), and query large volumes of data for their user-facing and real-time analytical applications that require millisecond response times and high throughput. With StarTree Cloud, users simply point to stream, batch, or data warehouse sources to store desired data for analytics into Apache Pinot and run standard SQL select queries that include filters, aggregations, group by, etc on structured and semi-structured data, without having to manage any underlying infrastructure or cluster. StarTree Cloud powers customers in retail, media, food delivery, fintech, and several other industries. Pluto TV, Guitar Center, and Just Eat Takeaway.com are some of the customers using StarTree Cloud. To get started with StarTree Cloud, visit here and pick the deployment model that meets your needs - Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) and SaaS.
Everyone today is a decision-maker and needs to have convenient access to all kinds of data that make intelligent choices possible. According to Forbes, by 2025, the amount of data will double every 12 hours. Additionally, the size of real-time data in the global datasphere is expected to grow 3x from 10% today to 30% in the next three years. In order to thrive in the Age of the Customer, companies cannot rely on retrospective analytics. True customer obsession requires harnessing insights in real time. There are a few challenges that get in the way of achieving this.
Fig 1: Challenges with delivering ultra-low latency real-time analytics at scale
Built at LinkedIn, Apache Pinot is the leading open source OLAP columnar datastore in the industry. It can process hundreds of thousands of queries on large datasets in real-time, enabling various use cases: User-facing analytics, user personalization, business metrics, anomaly detection, and more. Pinot has been proven at scale at LinkedIn (eg: Who’s Viewed My Profile), Stripe (eg: Ledger Observability), Uber (eg: Orders Near You), DoorDash (eg: Merchant Portal), Walmart, WePay (eg: Reporting) and many other companies, delivering query results with fresh data and in millisecond response time. This is becoming increasingly important for enterprises to unlock the value of data and power both internal and external facing use cases using the same platform. The project is pushing the innovation boundaries (check the latest Tiered Storage announcement here) and is gaining adoption at a rapid pace, with 1+ Million docker image downloads (20x growth in the last year) and thousands of Slack open source community members.
Fig 2: Events to Insights in Seconds with StarTree Cloud
The BYOC edition of StarTree Cloud delivers secure, enterprise-ready Apache Pinot clusters with StarTree’s services and apps – within the comfort of a customer's own cloud account where the data resides – all deployed, configured, and managed remotely by StarTree. This enables companies to deliver analytics by securely keeping data in their cloud environment while also benefiting from having a managed service that reduces the complexity often associated with creating and operating a data cluster within their own cloud environments. By bringing together the best of both worlds – security of data in your cloud and convenience of SaaS – the BYOC edition of StarTree Cloud empowers users to unlock the value out of their data with less overhead and complexity.
Fig 3: StarTree Cloud BYOC Control Plane and Data Plane
BYOC edition separates the control and data plane, such that the data plane— Pinot clusters and StarTree services and apps—resides inside the user’s VPC, while the control plane—StarTree Cloud portal—resides on the StarTree cloud. The setup begins with configuring a cloud provider (today AWS and GCP) with credentials for delegated access and an identity provider for secure access to the data plane. Next, as part of the environment creation process, users configure networking, security, and select Pinot cluster configuration options based on their use case. After submitting the request, StarTree control plane creates the necessary cloud infrastructure and sets up the environment with the Pinot cluster along with a StarTree Kubernetes operator.
Fig 4: StarTree Cloud Portal - BYOC Edition - Deployment Configuration
Following the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) security access model, StarTree control plane requires limited cloud permissions to both deploy and manage environments. Additionally, the operator makes outbound connections to pull commands from the control plane and exports only system metrics and logs. This allows us to monitor, detect, alert, and automatically heal clusters (in the case of failures) transparently to the end-users. All of this ensures no intrusive access to customer cloud environments, meeting the security and compliance requirements of infosec teams.
Here are a few quotes from existing StarTree Cloud customers -
Pluto TV is a leading video streaming company with global operations, offering 250+ channels of free TV and 1000's of on-demand movies and TV shows to more than 60 million monthly active users.
“StarTree Cloud has been a game-changer for us to evaluate ad performance data in real-time and overall deliver superior viewer experience,” said Santhi Kollipara, Engineering Manager, Pluto TV. “Apache Pinot’s ability to integrate seamlessly with our existing data warehouse solution coupled with its rich indexing techniques enabled us to ingest data in real-time and go from minutes to sub-second query response latency."
Another StarTree Cloud customer, Guitar Center is a leading retailer of musical instruments, lessons, repairs, and rentals in the U.S., with nearly 300 stores and one of the top direct sales websites in the industry.
"Apache Pinot helped deliver insights and uncover data blindspots with high accuracy in real-time,” said Saritha Ivaturi, Vice President of Data Platform & Engineering, Guitar Center. “During the last Black Friday event, we were able to implement user-facing analytics on real-time data residing in Apache Pinot and discover opportunities to serve our customers better in real time. The BYOC approach in StarTree Cloud gives us a managed service running in our own cloud environment where the data resides, balancing our internal security and compliance requirements with ease of use."
In addition to delivering the BYOC edition of StarTree Cloud to the wider market, StarTree is also onboarding customers to its SaaS edition. With the SaaS edition, users need to just make data available in StarTree Cloud, accelerating time to value with managed Apache Pinot clusters running in StarTree's Cloud environment.
StarTree Cloud customer Just Eat TakeAway.com (parent company of brands including Takeaway.com, Just Eat, SkipTheDishes, Grubhub, and Menulog), is a leading global online food delivery marketplace that focuses on connecting consumers and restaurants through its platforms.
“SaaS Edition of StarTree Cloud made it very easy for us to get started with Apache Pinot and real-time applications,” said Soyinka Majumder, Head of Marketing Analytics, Just Eat TakeAway.com. “We were able to ingest batch data and use real-time applications that helped significantly reduce Mean Time To Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time To Respond (MTTR) for key business metrics issues. Right from the evaluation phase using open source, to getting the clusters ready for production, the StarTree team provided fast, timely responses and focused on solving user problems, which allowed us to work together closely.”
New to Apache Pinot? Here are some great resources to help you get started. You can find our documentation here, join our community Slack channel, or engage with us on Twitter at StarTree and ApachePinot.
Apache PinotStarTree CloudBYOCSaaS