KEDA maintainer Zbynek Roubalik launches Kedify: Enterprise autoscaling for Kubernetes

Published: Oct 2, 2023
By: Erica Lindberg

Open Core Ventures (OCV) is proud to announce our newest company, Kedify, launched this month. Kedify is intelligent event-driven autoscaling for enterprises based on KEDA (Kubernetes Event-Driven Autoscaling). KEDA recently achieved graduation status from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and is used by more than 45 organizations including FedEx, Reddit, and Xbox. 

Zbynek Roubalik, a long-time KEDA maintainer and Kubernetes expert has joined Kedify as co-founder and CTO. Zbynek is one of KEDA’s most tenured and active contributors, a former Knative Technical Oversight Committee member, and a frequent speaker on all things Kubernetes. “Zbynek brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to the table as CTO of Kedify,” said Betty Ma, COO at OCV. “Kubernetes is one the fastest growing open source software projects in history. We’re excited to support Kedify in its journey to bring Kubernetes event-driven autoscaling to the masses.”

Much like KEDA’s mission to simplify Kubernetes application autoscaling, Kedify aims to simplify cloud management for enterprise organizations. “The main idea for Kedify is to provide enterprise features for KEDA,” said Zbynek. “We plan to simplify installation and management of deployments of KEDA installations and provide one place where you can manage your whole cluster.” While Microsoft Azure and Red Hat Openshift offer KEDA on their respective platforms, Kedify is cloud agnostic.

“Kubernetes is the way of the future and KEDA is key to helping it scale,” said Sid Sijbrandij, General Partner at OCV. “There’s an enormous opportunity for Kedify to create value-add enterprise features to help companies with cloud cost control, security, and avoiding vendor lock-in.”

With the initial $2M investment from OCV, Kedify plans to hire a small team of engineers to improve KEDA and begin building enterprise-specific extensions. 

Building on KEDA 

KEDA was started by Microsoft and Red Hat in 2019. Before co-founding Kedify, Zbynek was a longtime Red Hat engineer and an early contributor when the project first got off the ground. “From the beginning, we tried to make KEDA very user-friendly because Kubernetes is complex,” said Zbynek. “Our aim from the beginning was to make autoscaling simple.”

Before KEDA, Kubernetes users could scale clusters based on resource consumption with HorizontalPodAutoscaling (HPA), but couldn’t autoscale based on external factors. “When an application consumes a certain amount of memory or CPU on the server, HPA autoscales the application based on those measures,” Zbynek explains. “But this is not suitable for all the deployments. When we are building platforms or applications, they are very often made in an event-driven way and react to elements from external systems.” HPA can easily scale workloads based on internal metrics like memory and CPU usage but struggles to respond to other metrics. Event-driven autoscaling responds to external triggers and custom metrics. 

“KEDA is unique because it’s event-driven autoscaling based on events happening in an external system, said Zbynek. “Let’s say you have an application running and it’s consuming data from another service or application. For example, a messaging platform. You would like to scale out this application based on the number of unprocessed messages in the messaging platform or in this external system. This is not something that correlates with the resource consumption that the HPA is doing because the problem is not in your application but in the external application. KEDA monitors this external service and based on the metrics coming from there, it scales out the application.”

Unlike HPA, KEDA automatically scales pods down to zero when there are no events to process. “Alternatively, if there is no load coming from the external system, you can scale your application to zero. It means that you are not using any resources and you are saving costs,” said Zbynek. “This is the unique proposition that KEDA offers and is what I like most about the project.” 

Reigning in cloud costs is a major issue for businesses today. The vast majority are struggling to manage their cloud spending citing forecasting and managing usage among the top concerns. Meanwhile, global cloud spending is estimated to reach nearly $600 billion this year, a 21.7 percent increase compared to 2022, according to Gartner. Kedify’s mission is to provide efficient, cost-effective, and hassle-free scaling to help businesses grow without incurring hefty cloud costs.

Starting an open core company

The open core business model is built on the idea that companies improve the existing open source project while developing value-add commercial features and functionality specifically tailored to business (versus individual user) needs. For Zbynek, starting an open core company has allowed him to step into the entrepreneur area while continuing to contribute to open source.

“I worked for Red Hat for a long time and this is something completely different,” said Zbynek. “I see the potential in KEDA and starting a company around it means I can move it very forward in a new way. The important thing for me is that I can maintain the open source principles I’ve always enjoyed working with.”