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A Hot AI Startup Relies on Kubernetes to Support Its Exponential Growth

AlphaSense had already been named one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. when it made Fortune’s Top 50 AI Startups list in 2017.

“From this point, we realized that we needed to be prepared for exponential growth,” says Yuri Bushnev, Technical Product Manager. AlphaSense develops search technology to provide business insights using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning, and its goal, he adds, is to “deliver this content to our users with the speed of light.”

But the company’s infrastructure wasn’t quite as fast. “We were always in the cloud in AWS, but at the same time, we weren’t so much cloud native,” Bushnev says.

The challenges they faced were familiar ones: “We needed to deliver more features much faster, and make the system more stable and reliable,” says Bushnev. “We always had a problem when something went down, because nobody had any ideas, and we’d spend an hour to debug.” Plus, teams needed the ability to spin up new AlphaSense environments quickly and easily in order to work on many features simultaneously;  those working with AI needed a simpler way to spin up experiments and run models on these environments.

Adopting Kubernetes was the answer, and the results were just what the team had hoped for. “Velocity has been increased dramatically from the moment when you have your code developed on a local machine to the moment when you release to production,” says Bushnev. Thanks to ongoing improvements in development practices and the adoption of new cloud native technologies, deployments went from hours to minutes, and releases increased from once to 30+ times a week. Reliability increased from 95% SLA to close to 99.9%, and MTTR went from hours to minutes.

To support AI and machine learning projects that are better suited on different clouds such as GCP, the AlphaSense team is planning to build hybrid cloud solutions — which is enabled by Kubernetes. “Our next target is to allow our developers to use any cloud solution,” says Bushnev. “That’s why we are happy to be on Kubernetes, as everything we’re building lately is targeting a cloud-agnostic nature.”

Read more about AlphaSense’s cloud native journey in the full case study.