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Case Study | Robusta

Increasing the Speed of Enterprise Adoption Overnight

Robusta is an open source Kubernetes observability platform based on Prometheus. Headquartered in Israel with a talented, remote workforce, the platform is used by companies of all sizes to monitor and power Kubernetes oversight and automate error response. From small start-ups with managed clouds to large enterprises running OpenShift in house, Robusta solves complex DevOps problems by identifying, investigating, and remediating issues. The platform is unique in that it can leverage observability data already present in the customer’s environment, without needing to gather new data or ship the existing data to another location.

"The work they did was delivered at such a high technical level that it surpassed our expectations. It was better than what we could have done in house and much faster, too."

Challenges
  • High volume of OpenShift support inquiries
  • Needed more robust support framework for OpenShift customers
  • In-house developers busy working on product features
Value Created
  • First-class support experience for customers
  • Increased user adoption
  • Facilitating new lines of business
  • Enhanced understanding of constructive security policy
Solutions
  • Development and testing
  • Tuned configuration settings
  • Provided a model for validating product changes in OpenShift
  • Documentation for both customer and product teams

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Robusta’s open source software makes monitoring Kubernetes easy. Founded in 2021, the young company started out with grassroots adoption and has quickly become one of the fastest growing open source projects in the Kubernetes space.

When a company grows fast with a bottom-up type of adoption, the result is interest from enterprise companies and governments. As CEO and co-founder of Robusta, Natan Yellin is trying to balance two things. The first is growing the community, driving mass adoption, and implementing features that people want. The second, equally important, is becoming enterprise-ready and driving commercial adoption.

Yellin, who works closely with customers, noticed they were receiving a high volume of questions from prospects around OpenShift support. This highlighted the need to finesse the software, make it more robust, and give OpenShift a higher priority. “One of our goals is to create a first-class experience for customers on OpenShift. We had some work to do defining better security context constraints for OpenShift and estimated that it would take a week of effort for us to accomplish this in house,” said Yellin.

Although this was mission-critical, Yellin didn’t want to delay the delivery of important product features by pulling someone off of his team to improve the OpenShift support.

He decided to look for external help on LinkedIn. After receiving several offers, he wasn’t comfortable with any of the respondents’ depth of knowledge about how enterprise companies run on Kubernetes in OpenShift. However, when he received a message from SuperOrbital, he immediately knew they were the right team to tackle the project.

“I met SuperOrbital at Kubecon a while back and knew they had the expertise. It was evident they understood enterprise Kubernetes and had the technical skills and hands-on experience we needed,” noted Yellin.

PROBLEMS SOLVED—THE BENEFITS OF PARTNERING WITH EXCEPTIONAL ENGINEERS

Robusta’s code is complex, and Yellin initially wasn’t entirely sure if they could bring someone in that could quickly read the code, understand how everything works, and provide the perfect solution without requiring any oversight.

"SuperOrbital has made it easier for us to drive adoption. By enabling us to provide first-class support for OpenShift, it opens the door to enterprise deals that might otherwise have been unavailable."

One of the hesitations about hiring external help was the time it takes to teach someone about your company, your products, and how you do things. Secondly, contractors are much more expensive than employees, hour-by-hour. If a team has to also dedicate an engineer for prolonged onboarding, the costs can skyrocket. Luckily, these concerns faded when Robusta engaged SuperOrbital.

“Our partnership with SuperOrbital was unusually exceptional. They came in, told us what had to be done, and just fixed it. They took the lead, and we had to do zero explaining,” said Yellin. “It was a fantastic experience. They did a great job, did it fast, and checked off a very important box for our enterprise readiness.”

When a company creates software for a technical audience, there are various challenges. Not only must the software do what it’s designed to do, but the way things are implemented greatly impacts its adoption by DevOps, developers, and engineers.

“If you need deep technical work that involves Kubernetes — and you need it yesterday — go with SuperOrbital. They understand how enterprise companies are using software like Robusta and what it must look like for enterprise adoption,” said Yellin. “The work they did was delivered at such a high technical level that it surpassed our expectations. It was better than what we could have done in house and much faster, too.”

ALWAYS GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND

“If you do something but don’t document it well, then you’ve only done half of the work and your customers may not succeed,” said Yellin. “SuperOrbital not only gave us what we asked for, but they went above and beyond and thoroughly documented everything for our customers. They also integrated into our pull request process so we didn’t have to change the way we work to receive their contribution.”

In addition to customer-facing documentation about how customers on OpenShift can use Robusta, SuperOrbital created detailed, step-by-step instructions for the team on how to test the changes.

"If you need deep technical work that involves Kubernetes — and you need it yesterday — go with SuperOrbital."

FIRST-CLASS SUPPORT PAVES THE WAY FOR ENTERPRISE ADOPTION

In the past, Robusta would receive frequent support requests, GitHub issues, and inquiries about OpenShift support. Today, they no longer get these types of questions. “Since working with SuperOrbital, I have not received a single OpenShift support question, none, zero. The blockage has been removed, and it’s no longer a hurdle for us to overcome.”

“SuperOrbital has made it easier for us to drive adoption. By enabling us to provide first-class support, it opens the door to enterprise deals that might otherwise have been unavailable,” concluded Yellin.