First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Costa Tsaousis: Thank you. Everyone is fine. During the first wave of COVID spread, we were in Greece, and thankfully the country seems to have excellent performance in controlling it.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you founded Netdata
Costa Tsaousis: I founded Netdata in 2016. The idea behind my company was invented when I was working as a COO at a tech company and was responsible for migrating their on-prem infrastructure to the cloud. I quickly grew frustrated with the monitoring tools I was working with at that time since none of them gave me the insights or transparency I needed to troubleshoot the issues we faced daily.
This was when Netdata was born – I spent nights and weekends developing this infrastructure monitoring tool to simplify the lives of sysadmins, DevOps engineers, developers, and IT managers. Netdata was released in 2016 on GitHub as open-source, free software. It immediately went viral and reached 10k stars on GitHub in a couple of weeks.
To date, Netdata has more than 48k stars on GitHub, 900k+ Docker pulls each day, nearly three million people have installed the product, and is one of the top starred projects in Cloud Native Computing Foundation Landscape. Netdata also employs nearly 50 people worldwide, with most of them in engineering roles.
How does Netdata innovate?
Costa Tsaousis: Our goal at Netdata is to provide the most effective way to troubleshoot and monitor IT infrastructure. As someone who has used similar tools in the past, we understand what it’s like to have a tool that doesn’t provide what it promises. Our approach is simple: we strive to provide an easy installation with unlimited access to metrics, real-time monitoring, and data visualization optimized for troubleshooting. Our upcoming roadmap focuses on making enhancements to Netdata Cloud, while we continue to improve and fine-tune Kubernetes and microservices monitoring, eBPF monitoring, and increase our ML efforts for even more predictability on infrastructure performance.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Costa Tsaousis: We have been fortunate enough that the current pandemic hasn’t affected our business. Netdata’s employees have always been globally dispersed, so shifting to a completely remote workforce was nothing new for us. Our ML and research infrastructure have always been cloud-native from the start, which has always granted and accommodated our employees with remote access and the ability to collaborate anywhere they are.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Costa Tsaousis: Of course, there are difficult choices: product-related, go-to-market-related, organizational, technical, etc., and every choice has consequences. You gain something, and you lose something. To pursue your key goals, you need to retire a lot of really very good and valuable ideas and paths.
When making such decisions, it is very important to be properly informed. You have to be challenged, and you need to seek people who will challenge your thoughts, views, and opinions. This will allow you to build your reasoning and find weak spots in your thinking.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you project yourself and Netdata in the Future?
Costa Tsaousis: I think the solution to stress and anxiety is identifying what is really important and focusing on that. In many cases, this is not obvious, and as the company grows, priorities may shift or change.
Hopefully, with Netdata, we aim at really helping a lot of people become hugely more effective in monitoring their systems and applications. This is fun! It generates strong feedback coming in from all directions.
Netdata is a monitoring solution for busy people, for those who are responsible for running production systems and applications, but who have no time to play and configure their monitoring tools endlessly; for those who admit that they don’t know everything already, but are very keen to learn new things when it is required; for those who want all the visibility they can get.
This strategy seems to work for Netdata; our community is growing rapidly.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Costa Tsaousis: I don’t think we have any competitors because Netdata is complementary, meaning that it can work in conjunction with other tools (like for logging and tracing). Netdata was built with an eye towards open standards, interoperability, and extensibility. If I had to name the closest similar solutions, I might include Grafana/Prometheus and Datadog, but we are still complementary to them and can be used either as a replacement for them or in addition to them, depending on the requirements.
Netdata is more than a monitoring tool; its intended use is primarily for real-time troubleshooting. After years of frustration working with similar tools, both open-source and enterprise solutions, we’ve identified the pain points and developed a solution that makes it easier for people to troubleshoot issues.
At Netdata, we follow four principles that set us apart from all other monitoring solutions, including:
● Easy installation and configuration: Unlike other tools, all aspects of the product are built for users to easily get up and running quickly. Users don’t need to be monitoring experts to use Netdata, nor do they need to spend weeks or months in planning and resourcing. The installation of data visualization takes minutes.
● Unlimited, high granularity metrics: All metrics are available for users to monitor. Unlike other tools that limit metrics collection, Netdata’s architecture is limitless, and monitoring is infinitely scalable.
● Real-time metrics: Metrics are collected per-second or per-event with data-collection-to-visualization latency of less than a millisecond.
● Interactive dashboards: Netdata auto-discovers metrics and instantly builds beautiful visualizations. Charts are ready out-of-the-box and can be drilled down into easily. Prebuilt dashboards display meaningful metrics optimized for visual anomaly detection, enabling users to explore and learn how systems behave and why.