I don't want an email nor an empty promise. I honestly just want you guys to keep the name "compose" and keep that cheap postgres option open for the long run (years and years not weeks and weeks) so us folks who just want to build something for fun have a quality database with a professional operation to support it at the great pricing it is today.
The thing about lone wolf developers, and side projects, and one off things people hack together over the weekend is that they sometimes "flip" and become big customers. That's when we win, and we monitor our funnel like crazy and continuously see that it's working. Interestingly, some of the bad customer experiences you see in this thread are the direct result of this model. We aren't very good at handling one offs, or doing things by hand, or consulting, because we focus so much on repeatable, self service offerings — which have to work for small applications.
IBM is interested in three things from us. The technology is good, the team is great, and the way we sell to customers is something they have told us they firmly believe is the future of selling tools to developers. There's a really, really good chance that you'll see other parts of IBM acting like us (and building things for you) before you see us becoming all enterprisey.
We'll keep the name Compose (because it's fabulous!), we'll keep the cheap Postgres option, and we'll do our best to keep that true for years and years.
For what it's worth, I greatly appreciate your comment.
Hope I'm wrong, but I can't see how this will be anything but disastrous. Your key company abilities were you controlled your own destiny to a degree, and you could react quickly. Now you are part of a larger group within IBM, I doubt this will be possible.
I do wish you the best though, and that my dire prediction is completely wrong. I've just seen what happens when a smaller company is bought by a massive one.
I've seen utterly awful acquisitions, and good acquisitions. You're right that there's a lot we can't control, and we could be ground up by the big corp machinations, but I do actually think IBM has a big interest in not screwing us up. We shall see.
That's "the canary dying in the mine" to watch for IMHO.
Our client base seems to be growing much quicker now after getting fully integrated. It seems like people may be buying our technology almost by accident (packaged deals, etc) and now realizing they have it and want to actually use it. That's something that seems unique to these huge tech firms. Before we had to sell each person.
I'd love to see your services running on Google Cloud Platform, for example, so that they could be used with co-located customer services.
As bootstrapped founder, I can tell you that customers who pay less than $30/month are just trouble. These users can used as early adopters and promotes - but not to grow the business. After company gains attraction these users should be dumped.
This is unfortunate story but that is status of SaaS: this kinda explains that there is very little new B2C SaaS startup.
Actually my thinking that for SaaS any offering with price under $30/month should be free tier and I think IBM will give your tier for free.
I'm not using it yet but Bluemix does appear to have a non-trial free tier, and it looks like they actually offer a fair bit more than Heroku did.
also expect compose to be totally different after about a year (source: i've worked for a company that was aquired by IBM)
And anyone challenging them, their government connections, and patent portfolio better remember that.
They're more of a technology company than most that make Hacker News. They also sell services. They also acquire proven implementations of new products and services. The combo is called a technology conglomerate & it's a proven model to make billions over decades.
New Relic and MMS were previously relatively fragile, hand done addons for some customers. Since the beginning of 2014, we've made an attempt to cut back on snowflakes and build reliable, self service features instead. It doesn't excuse you having a suboptimal experience, I know, but that's what's going on.
I'm happy to talk more about things if you want to email me.
Would someone from Compose care to explain why their pricing isn't really 12X or 18X greater than Cloudant? (And whose pricing is going to change? I'm kind of worried that IBM is going to quadruple Cloudant's prices, and then quadruple them again, to bring them into line with Compose.)
Cloudant's actually going to be really nice for our customers. Since our service and pricing are meant for transactional databases, we've lost customers and potential customers who had mountains of cold data they needed to keep somewhere. As an independent company, that was the right choice, as part of IBM we now have a good answer for those types of data loads. We hope to be able to use our Transporter feature to make it relatively easy to keep data moving around between DBs, Cloudant included.
Plus, I'm sure other startups might want to know whether this benefit exists or not. Might even factor into a decision of whether a company wants to be acquired by IBM vs another company. A 100+ free (or cheap) software products would really really sweeten the deal to me if I was to continue working at the company post-acquisition. Especially those delightful, bug-hunting and productivity-boosting products. :)
Anyone on the inside know the answers to any of this?
The way I understood it, IBM has a system called "blue dollars" or "blue bucks" I forget which one. Basically, groups within IBM are given an allotment of credits they can spend to "buy" other IBM products.
When it comes to software, you pretty much can use any IBM software you want (or are told to). A lot of the Rational products were heavily pushed for teams to use, although I think you had to justify why you use it. This caused some contention, as I worked in automated UI testing and the capabilities of IBM products vs open source alternatives varied quite widely. It was always fun justifying your decision to management when the IBM product didn't match your needs.
But when there is a service cost things are different. I got pulled into my manager's office being showed my bandwidth and storage cost of my Lotus Notes emails and was heavily encouraged to download my emails locally as the department was charged. I think there were similar considerations when it came to using backup software into their TSM - I don't remember exactly but have a feeling you needed management approval to use it.
Then you have the consideration of building one product from another. For example, I worked on WebSphere Application Server which was the app server of many other IBM products. There you have the consideration of which departments earn the revenue when a core product is shared.
It's worth noting that more and more of IBM's software/platforms are cloud-based and even publicly available (e.g. Bluemix) so I imagine the landscape for this type of software acquisition is changing even internally.
I doubt they'll give up $780+ million any time soon. However, my proposal in another comment to at least temporarily bill software at cost or for free might benefit them considerably in both green and blue dollars.
All really strange to a guy like me whose companies only dealt with green money and just used cost for internal expenses. :)
Could you give an example for that?
This would be a nice start for a division or project: Rational w/ all analysis & productivity addons; the management software; cloud services (i.e. backups); security services/software (basic); an IBM i (comes with DB2) for critical stuff. Add in some servers and storage appliances [from IBM] where needed as growth occurs. Also remember that that Microsoft used to run their whole business on one AS/400 until they were called out and replaced it with 20+ Windows servers to match performance/reliability. Funny stuff.
They have all kinds of good tech. A permissive policy on its use, even if for limited time, could greatly aid internal projects and growth of companies they acquire. If I was them, I'd throw my weight into everything on the software side given it would be as easy as an order, a license, and a download. ;)
Clearcase was a good idea in 2001, when the alternative was CVS. In 2015, I am wholeheartedly unconvinced it offers anything over git. (And I'm not a devoted booster of git.)
(I was nominally responsible for a Clearcase setup at Ericsson in 2001. I mentioned it in passing on the 2002 version of my CV, and no later version. I still get pings from those last few Clearcase shops, desperate to find someone willing to touch the thing.)
You may disagree, and perhaps Clearcase has substantially changed its model since then. What in detail do you like about Clearcase over (say) git?
(Also hitting the server for every little operation kills me. Even the command line tool just communicates to a java daemon to go hit the server, arrrrrgh.)
I think I also have a lot of positive thoughts about RTC because I remember how easy it felt to get started with it. With git it took me a little while to internalise how it worked, and I screwed up my repositories beyond my newbish ability to recover a few times. When comparing each to SVN, RTC provided me the improvements I cared about most (easy sharing, interim 'commits' prior to pushing to mainline), with very little learning overhead.
Combine that with really excellent work item/defect integration and I think it's a pretty compelling product. As you say, the constant communication with the server is a definite bummer. I think that comes out of the more corporate focus of an IBM product - for a centralised team sitting in the same building as the campus, a bit of server communication isn't such a big deal.
This was "fixed" in later versions of RTC with --accept-missing-changesets 
If tools were available, I'd certainly consider Rational's modeling, testing, and cross-platform features as worth due consideration. :)
The free software obviously isn't making the company money. However, most internal projects on a budget or startups in this era aren't going to choose IBM's tools. They're too expensive and not that popular. So, by not giving it away, they probably gain nothing in licensing. By giving it away, they gain nothing in licensing but might in the project's goal due to software's advantages.
For at cost, it might be sustainable. They continue to make most of their profit outside IBM. Inside IBM, they offer their products anywhere ranging from free to a considerable discount. The offer covers the cost of the product in terms of delivery, support, hardware, and so on. That money fuels development and/or cost-cutting on the offerings in general. Volume of IBM use alone might add several developers to any product. So, in this model, there's no losses past what they currently charge, the products get funds for development, and there are gains throughout organization via their benefits.
The final model is basically a trial period. The projects or acquired startups get to use their choice of products with discounts ranging from cheaper to at cost to free depending on budget. As budget or success grow, the discount gets lower. Over time, you have a division that's paying full price for the products or begins transitioning to others. You get the benefits of option 2 with some of what general market might pay.
Personally, I think Model 1 wouldn't hurt them except whatever they're charging for internal use. Model 2 seems to be the best with Model 3 having a chance of success. The reason I promote this is that IBM is sitting on a lot more potential than they're using, mostly due to culture. However, I think they could create significant, competitive advantages if all their projects and divisions could inexpensively use every key capability they've produced. Software productivity, security, infrastructure, and administration at the least.
Bluemix has been weird to me. Got the hardest time to get founding and that annoyed the hell out of me. Couldn't even get space for the blue tilde group running (weird thing, maybe still on w3, maybe not)
I'm biased but think it speaks highly that Cloudant people (Adam Kocoloski and Derek Schoettle) were tapped to lead this group.
HN often lives in the startup + Facebook + Google + latest tech trend bubble. But there is a whole world of enterprise + government (DoD) tech world out there that exists, but it is not talked much about here, unless it is being made fun of perhaps.
I think it is really great to see a company of their size and age change course and adapt.
He probably won't move from IBM completely, but they'll be getting less and less business from him. I mean, the other day their entire datacentre's network link was flapping, for hours and hours. It wasn't just his company that was affected, it was affecting even larger companies.
IBM's ability to deliver is going down the plughole. They've always been very expensive, but have been able to justify it because they were able to handle your issues effectively. That's increasingly showing to be not the case.
For instance. Once upon a time I had an internship there, working with a particular product dealing with server management. As part of the setup process required to customize servers, users were directed to go to a random university user's home directory to download one particular older version of some open-source boot-utility software (newer versions wouldn't work). This is, of course, a terrifying distribution mechanism.
Actually hosting and distributing this file wasn't something that IBM people were willing to do; you'd need to run it through the Lawyers. (This probably feeds a Not Invented Here syndrome.)
That said! At least the internship was with the Software division. The way I heard it, Services was 90% of the revenue and Software was 90% of the profit. Things are a lot better in Software. Still a damnable maze of cubicle farms, though.
This is smart, given that hardware is a commodity with low and falling margins, whereas it's very hard to price heterogeneous services such as consulting, integration, etc. They've done some shady things to cut costs, but they needed to pivot pretty drastically in order to maintain their position and restart a growth cycle.
Ultimately, I think the "big data" market is overhyped, and that IBM is playing into this hype. People are gobbling up data storage and analytics services left and right, but are the valuations equivalent to the value added to a company by storing and sorting a ton of (potentially useless) data?
IBM is a large company that does a lot. They put more money and people towards pure tech than most firms, especially in places like IBM Research.
I'm not as much of a fan of their software, though that's probably because I haven't really used a whole lot of it.
Unfortunately for them, they suffer that big company type of thinking that kills innovation. It's why they've had to acquire more. They're were also late to the cloud market. Their last CEO also practically ran it into the ground to prop up stock price before exiting with almost $300 million personal gain. They're facing hard times and it will be interesting to see how they adapt. Their recent push for innovation and agile is interesting. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
– The Tao of Programming, chapter 8, Geoffrey James, 1987
I love this working style
As a friend of mine who works there says, "IBM wanted to have a great cloud business, so they bought one".
Cloudant is awesome for CouchDB, but if you want mongo or redis, we didn't have a lot to offer before today.
Looking forward to working with you guys!
We were on Compose for 1.5 years, but recently switched off to MMS after we started running in to scaling issues.
Compose is a bit limiting if you need to tweak / monitor resources for scaling, but running reliably on MMS means really understanding how your deployment works (which might be the best long-term position to be in, but a bit distracting for a ~5 person team).
It'd be great if Compose could offer a managed MongoDB service that ran off instances in my ec2 account (so I'd pay base ec2 rates, plus a $50-150 per-server fee for managing the deployment)
Side-thought: Did Compose refer to itself as a Cloud Database before IBM acquired it? That seems like a very IBM marketing oriented term.
Any suggestion on similar services?
Thanks to MongoHQ I was able to move one particular app three times to different providers. It took no time, just upload the code, change DNS and you are good.
Echoing mrkurt, ES is indeed hefty to run.
Elasticsearch is going to require a hundred+ megs of RAM just to run an empty node. And then you'll want enough heap and CPU that you're not GCing yourself to death while importing data, or while churning through filter and caches. And then enough memory to run those fancy aggregations in Kibana. Times the number of nodes you want for redundancy, and for your master-role quorum.
It's possible to do long-tail low-volume ES hosting for hobby development. But to do so you need to dig in and consider ES hosting as a holistic system. We've worked hard at Bonsai to build a hobbyist-friendly hosting system. Our approach is to fork ES itself to introduce native multi-tenancy. That means everyone in the cluster is amortizing the overhead of all that JVM memory (and redundant data nodes, and master-node quorum, a load balancer and authenticating reverse proxy, and analytics... etc...)
The problem remains that ES, while easy to spin up, is still a pretty heavy system to manage at scale. So it's generally a lot easier to chuck some extra resources at it, maximize your isolation, and eat the higher entry cost.
I couldn't get over the fact that I have to pay more for one feature in my app, than the entire cost of running the app...
I totally understand that the economics does not work out for you guys and that sucks. Hopefully things will change in the future.
In the context of reasonable hobby/development costs, I our $10/mo plan fits well for that and is pretty popular. Pricing wise it compares well to a $7 dyno or $9 Postgres instance. And addons are prorated to the second, just like dynos.