The end of centralized data? Samsung teams with Expanso on distributed processing

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Today, Samsung Next, the venture capital arm of Samsung Electronics, announced it is making a strategic investment in Seattle-based Expanso, a startup looking to power distributed data processing.

The companies expect this move to help both of them, streamlining how Samsung handles the vast swathe of data coming from its globally distributed workloads and providing Expanso with more reach and growth.

“Samsung is a global company with products and services that span every aspect of customer’s lives,” David Aronchick, CEO of Expanso, said in a statement. “Teaming up with Samsung Next is a no-brainer, and is core to our mission of tackling those pervasive data challenges. Our role is more about bridging gaps and enabling our customers to freely choose how and where to handle their varied workloads, all while ensuring they maintain full control over their data.”

What Expanso offers

Today, enterprises are leaning heavily towards globally distributed workloads and generating data across various environments, including cross-regions, cross-cloud, IoT and edge devices and even on unreliable networks. 

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Usually, teams tend to extract insights from this data by moving all of it across networks through complex ETL pipelines and centralizing everything in a cloud data platform.

The approach works well (allowing for BI/AI applications) but also takes a lot of time and financial resources at the same time.

Even building custom peer-to-peer computing solutions doesn’t work as it increases developer time, maintenance costs and forces teams to learn and reinvent 40 years of distributed computing knowledge. 

Expanso takes a decentralized approach to this challenge by providing enterprises with Bacalhau — an open-source distributed data processing platform.

The offering runs on the distributed systems organizations have already deployed (or plan to) and schedules data processing jobs against the data right where it’s generated, be it on the cloud or on the edge.

This enables teams to analyze data in situ, reducing the operational overhead of replicating data centers or managing data movement between clouds.

Not to mention, it also helps increase the speed of data jobs while also bolstering security at the same time.

Now, with the strategic backing of Samsung Next, Expanso’s Bacalhau is expected to support the global distributed workloads of the electronics major which has platforms spanning from mobile devices and computers all the way up to heavy industrial deployments.

This would also be very critical as the company – and the industry at large – continues to witness a surge in global data generation, with emerging technologies such as generative AI and 5G networks. 

“It would be hard to imagine a better fit for Expanso’s distributed computing architecture, in terms of providing faster answers, more reliable execution, and integrated security, even over spotty networks. There is no doubt that partnering with Samsung will be a wonderful catalyst for all of our use cases,” Aronchick told VentureBeat.

While it remains unclear how exactly Samsung will leverage Bacalhau across its environments, Andy Duong, an investor at Samsung Next, did indicate some applications, including video processing on the smallest edge devices and sharing sensitive petabyte (or larger) datasets between enormous organizations.

“We’re excited to invest in Expanso for many reasons, including the potential for new applications driven by real-time data analysis, more efficient resource utilization than in traditional data centers, and the ability to empower users with greater data privacy control. We believe an approach that recognizes both data gravity, and the underused power of distributed devices while giving developers the same reliability and verifiability as running in a traditional data center will be part of every organization’s IT infrastructure in the future,” Duong told VentureBeat.

Significant growth since launch

According to Aronchick, since the launch of Bacalhau’s public demo last year, the platform has been used to run over 2 million jobs across use cases. The exact revenue stats remain unclear but some of the company’s clients are heavyweights such as the U.S. Navy, University of Maryland, Prelinger Labs and WeatherXM.

“From distributed ETL, to log processing, to Edge ML (including video processing), we have seen customers take our platform and use it in tons of ways we could never have imagined. For each significant case, we have been able to build out solutions and open-source the project so that other folks can do the exact same thing. This means that whether you are in retail, manufacturing, transportation, or high-traffic web/mobile applications, you can use Bacalhau from Expanso quickly and easily, with a lot of the basics taken care of for you,” he added.

Moving ahead, the company plans to focus on adapting its platform to all the ways people are already using it – with easier frameworks, integration into more services, and better getting-started examples. This, the CEO hopes, will also shake off many of the reservations about building distributed computing architectures.

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