Why We Invested in Exotanium, a Next-Gen Cloud Resource Management Platform

by Steven Xi, Siyu Jia

Compute cost has always been a concern of cloud adoption and burden for the enterprises that consume a lot of cloud resources, such as those that conduct workload-heavy simulation, graphics rendering and especially High Performance Computing. Given the current tightening macro environment, CIOs place a heavier emphasis on ROI, in addition to performance and features.

Quite a few cloud cost optimization solutions have sprung up — many of them remain at the level of analytics and automation, while only a few have the technical in-depth down to low-level infrastructure. Exotanium, backed by patented technology from research at Cornell University, provides a layer of “cloud-prem” control designed to work across different cloud providers. Only a small number of computer scientists have the ability to manipulate the low level code of the operating system in their ways, which provides Exotanium with a high technical moat. Through live migration technology that is transparent to container runtime systems, containerized applications can be seamlessly migrated between virtual machines (VM) instances. By leveraging cloud spot market, which is cost-effective but subject to termination at any time, Exotanium’s X-Spot can generate up to 90% reduction in cloud compute cost while maintaining high reliability.

“The most magic thing about Exotanium is that it can predict which spot VM instance is going to run out and relocate the containers out of it,” said a customer. Exotanium’s unique AI/ML algorithm analyzes the correlation between various signals and actual termination events, and automatically switches between spot instances and on-demand instances without interruptions to applications. This enables the long-running stateful apps to use cheap machines, and therefore resolves the tradeoff between cost and reliability beautifully. Having a legacy app that nobody really knows how it works? Not a worry — no need to modify a single line of your code!

Exotanium’s additional benefits include better security and performance, enabled by its X-Container technology, which combines the strength of application containers and virtual machines. Used to be positioned as a security company at the inception, Exotanium utilizes X-Container architecture to improve inter-container security isolation. In a project partnered with DOE Idaho National Lab, Exotanium demonstrated not only more than 70% cost savings, but also faster performance than the native implementation.

In addition to the iconic X-Spot, Exotanium’s X-Stack automatically packs or unpack containers into different numbers of VMs depending on the workload, while X-Scale adjusts the machine size and power based on the current demand. Through dynamic scaling up and down without shutting down the applications, cloud-based software companies can minimize the redundant resource reserved for peak workloads. Exotanium is working on expanding its product line with further optimization on cost, reliability and security, as well as flexibility for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategy. We look forward to seeing more magic from Exotanium to fine-tune enterprise customers’ control over cloud computing.

Behind it all is exactly the right team to unleash the power of cloud back-end optimization. It has been a great pleasure working with CEO Prof. Hakim Weatherspoon and CTO Dr. Zhiming Shen. They are world-class researchers in cloud computing and operating systems, and then co-founders of the Cornell spinout to commercialize their R&D innovation. The academic root of Exotanium mirrors our portfolio company Databricks, a leading data and AI company which originated from UC Berkeley’s RISELabs. InsightFinder, another Eastlink’s portfolio company with origins in academia, was spun off from Prof. Helen Gu’s group at N.C. State University and leverages unsupervised machine learning to predict IT incidents hours ahead.

We are excited to be part of Exotanium’s Series A round of financing. Eastlink Capital’s core investment strategy is to back technical founders with unique products / technologies, and Exotanium fits well with this theme. We strongly believe Exotanium is well on its way to take significant cloud cost savings and resource optimization to the next level, and enable more and more enterprises to unleash the power of cloud computing.

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