Home Startup Alibaba paid $103 million to acquire Data Artisans

Alibaba paid $103 million to acquire Data Artisans


As Alibaba is a Chinese multinational conglomerate that specializes in retail, internet, e-commerce, AI and technology, of course, something like this would come to light. Well, Alibaba has paid $103 million to a Berlin-based startup called Data Artisans. They provide large-scale data streaming services and distributed systems for enterprises. You might have already heard about this, as the deals were already announced by the EU media, before it was even confirmed by both parties, through a blog post.

How much do you know about Data Artisans?

While everyone is well-aware of Alibaba’s existence, the same story might not apply to Data Artisans. Therefore, for those who do not know much about them, the Data Artisans was founded in 2014 by the same people who created Apache Flink, and their headquarters are in Berlin. Because of the need for a large-scale data processing tech, Data Artisans developed Apache Flink in an open source, and that is when their community started to grow.

Simply put, Data Artisans is an open source large-scale data processing tech. With this startup, you will be able to choose their own dA platform, that has an Application Manager and an open-source Apache Flink, that will enterprise customers who include ING, Uber, Netflix, as well as Alibaba.

Alibaba and Data Artisans

Since 2016, this Chinese e-commerce giant has been working together with the Data Artisans. Both companies have stated that they have the support and the open source work that will help the architecture and performances of their software. Data Artisans is known to have raised over $6.5 million over two rounds. Recently, the Series A that was led by Intel Capital in 2016, but there was an unannounced Series B that has closed last year. It is speculated that Alibaba was involved in this as well, according to one of the blog posts by Data Artisans.

Alibaba’s ownership currently, as you could have expected, resources could help a business reach new heights with their open source technology, which also includes the moves to expand to new areas that we not yet explored in the past by Data Artisans, and to make sure that Flink will become a much more valuable data processing framework for the modern real-time, data-driven enterprise; is what this due stated.

After that they Alibaba and Data Artisans also stated that moving forward together, they will not only continue working hard but also accelerate the contributions to Apache Flink and an open source Big Data. After this Ewen and Tzoumas added that one of the biggest Flink users and contributors to the company is, in fact, Alibaba. T0 mark the new era, Blink, which is an in-house development to Flink provided by Alibaba, has been committed to the community.

Strengthening the growth of Flink

Both teams are leveraging their technology expertise and together with their shared passion to create an open-source community, it is quite obvious that this strategy will make Flink an even bigger community, as well as accelerate the data processing tech and help cushion a collaborative, constructive environment and open for the global developers who are very passionate about enabling real-time applications and the stream processing for modern enterprises.

Alibaba’s 2017 investment in MariaDB is actually quite reminiscent to the previously stated deal, as it was an open source startup that was known for offering some of the most popular alternatives to MySQL. While it was not fully confirmed, the partnership of these two companies will end up with a new product for their community, which is the original goal with Data Artisans as well.

At times when there are many open source technologies and companies who are deciding on more closed and less collaborative approaches, it is quite nice to see that Alibaba has committed to creating the open-source and their mission is to take the Flink’s technological advancement to a whole new level – Tzoumas and Ewen stated.

In reality, moving to an open-source and infrastructure technology does make sense for Alibaba, as they are best known for their e-commerce but they also operate a lot of business, streaming services and so on. On their revenue of $12.4 billion and with their net profit of $2.65 billion in their last quarter of business, this Chinese company definitely has a lot of money to pursue any strategy they want.

A perspective from Alibaba’s vice president

After Alibaba’s vice president was asked why has Alibaba pursued an acquisition instead of continuing a partnership or an investment, he answered quite clearly that they are confident in their joined compatibilities that will contribute even more to Flink, both when talking about the community development and the technology. He stated that this is a shared vision and an effective work relationship that has brought the two teams together. They are learning from each other and better themselves in making the data processing open-source community even more approachable, collaborative and diverse.

On the other hand, he was also asked to respond to given concerns on how can one of the world’s biggest technology companies respect and use the open-source community, not to mention a business headquartered in China. Well, to this Zhou again replied that they have a strong collaboration with Data Artisans since 2016, and since they have always shared the passion of using an open-source stream processing framework, why wouldn’t they try to unify the real-time event-driven apps and the real-time analytics?

This is truly something exciting for the developers from all around the world when looking at it from a technological perspective. He added that for their customers and partners, their joined forces with Data Artisans means that they will be given an efficient option to battle the challenges that many other enterprises are facing in this era of Digital Transformation, which definitely helped their community understand more about their decision to join forces.


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