Nexedi is an international software publisher specializing in Free Software for the Enterprise market. We introduce in this presentation Nexedi's current status. We then explain what is Rapid.Space, why Nexedi started this services and how it can benefit international corporations looking for a cloud service with more transparency, interoperability, legal safety and reasonable pricing than current market leaders.
Nexedi was founded in Lille area (France) in 2001. It is now probably the largest Free Software publisher in EU with more than 10 products and 15 million lines of code.
Nexedi staff includes 35 engineers located mainly in France but also in other EU countries, Russia, Asia and South America.
Nexedi business model consists of building and deploying large scale Enterprise systems (ERP, Big Data, Cloud), train users and then ensure smooth operation of the system during 10 to 20 years through preventive maintenance and support services.
Nexedi systems are hosted on premise or in the cloud. All generic source code is public. Cource code which contains trade secrets is shared with customers only.
Nexedi's organic growth does not depend on any investor. Nexedi has been a profitable company since day 1.
Nexedi clients are mainly medium to large size companies and governments, looking for scalable enterprise solutions such as ERP, CRM, DMS, data lake, big data cloud, IT infrastructure automation, etc.
Due to its highly flexible and generic nature, Nexedi software is used in very different industries: aerospace, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, mechanical, government, banking, etc. Adapting Nexedi software to a specific industry or region can be achieved in much less time than with competing solutions. This explains why Nexedi does not focus on any specific region or industry. It also explains why Nexedi has been able to transfer success in one industry/region to another industry/region.
Nexedi success cases include the converged e-commerce and billing platform of Big & Go ETC operator (France) with up to 100.000 invoices generated per hour. It also includes the management ERP of two group companies of Kyorin pharmaceutical (Japan), management ERP of TerraSar-X mission at Airbus (Germany), main ERP in various PSA factories, ERP of Sankei Chemical (Japan), accounting platform of Ekiho house construction company (France) and trading platform of Micro (China).
Nexedi is the supplier of the cloud technology of Teralab (France), one of the few successful sovereign clouds in Europe with a strong focus on big data and AI.
Nexedi is the supplier of the big data collection ad processing platform of Woelfel (Germany) which is used for predictive maintenance of wind turbines, vibration detection in vaults, noise detection in airports and also sensor management for smart city in Bavaria.
Nexedi stack covers three different areas: infrastructure, application and front-end. Through Nexedi stack, any company could actually replace traditional proprietary software or public clouds with a consistent, cost efficient, flexible open source / Free Software alternative developed by an international team and exempt of backdoors.
Historically, Nexedi is an open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) company. Nexedi developed ERP5, one of the first open source / Free Software ERPs. ERP5 was awarded in 2004 "Best ERP Implementation by Decision Informatique Professional Magazinest". ERP5 coverage was slowly extended to cover further areas including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Document Management (DMS), Manufacturing Execution (MES) and Industrial Big Datalake. The extension of ERP5 lead to develop a high performance distributed transactional database (NEO), a document conversion server (cloudooo). It also resulted in to a new big data software product, Wendelin, which is a version of ERP5 with special extensions for out-of-core data processing in Python.
Since 2009, Nexedi has developed various technologies to automate the mass deployment and operation of ERP5 instances for its customers with a strong focus on resiliency . This resulted in a software called SlapOS which can automate the operation of any complex cloud but also automate the deployment of edge computing solutions, network management of 4G/5G networks and any distributed computing infrastructure. In order to ensure reliable operation of SlapOS, Nexedi created re6st, a resilient software defined networking software that can circumvent network outages often found on internet backbones, especially in China. Nexedi created caucase to add Zero Knowledge to SlapOS and shacache to add resiliency to open source code repositories.
Nexedi is a group of companies.
The holding company - Nexedi SA - is incorporated in France and is also the group headquarter. It focuses on Entreprise Free Software markets based on ERP5, Wendelin oir SlapOS. Its business model consists of initial implementation services and maintenance services.
Subsidiaries in Japan (Nexedi KK), Germany (Nexedi GmbH) and China (Nayu Shanghai) focus on the same type of Entreprise Free Software marke in their respective countries.
VIFIB SARL provides cloud operation management services for public cloud or private cloud. It also provides Rapid.Space public cloud service outside China. It is a wholy owned subsidiary of Nexedi SA.
Xunkongjian is the sister company of VIFIB SARL in China. It has no capital relation with Nexedi SA nor VIFIB SARL. It also provides Rapid.Space public cloud services in China with all licenses granted by Chinese governement.
Nexedi SA has a minoriry share in ClearRoad, the first company in the world to provide a clearinghouse for road usage charging in the USA, a new way to manage road congestion by making drivers pay for creating congestion.
Nexedi SA also has shares in Tylia Invest, an equity crowd-funding company. However, due to its non-strategic nature, Nexedi SA is planning to sell those shares.
Nexedi business model is characterized by growing sales, stable profits, strong R&D and steadily growing staff. Due the the intense R&D activity, part of our income derives from government project that can not be accounted as sales yet present the same nature in terms of daily operations. Moreover, Nexedi benefits from the favourable tax system in France for tech companies, something which is not well known outside France.
Nexedi's main market is ERP5 with management applications that often related to invoicing or manufacturing. This market is fairly divided between industry, services and others (NGO, government).
Nexedi's second market is Wendelin with applications in the field of industrial big data processing based on machine learning or signal processing or physical modelling. It is an emerging business that closely folows the growth of Industry 4.0 in the world. Wendelin was presented at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart in 2018 with applications in wind energy, construction and preventive maintenance.
The third business of Nexedi is SlapOS with projects in the field of datacenter automation, cloud management and edge computing. SlapOS has been recently adopted in China by Xunkongjian. SlapOS market is expected to grow with applications in the field of industrial automation and software defined radio.
Rapid.Space is a new cloud service available worldwide (including in China) which focuses on technical transparency, reasonable pricing and legal safety.
Rapid.Space Hyper Open Cloud service is a high performance, low cost cloud infrastructure that provides: big servers, cluster databases, reslient VMs, CDN, IoT buffering.
It is based on SlapOS cloud operation management Free Software created by Nexedi. It uses Open Compute Project (OCP) servers and switches, the same as the ones used by Facebook, Azure, AWS, Yahoo! Japan, Tencent, JD.com, etc.
Unlike its competitors, Rapid.Space publishes everything:
Rapid.Space will focus - as Nexedi does with ERP5 - on the Entreprise market. Its services complement European companies such as OVH and Hetzner. It will offer professional services that can match US or China based cloud servcies, but at a much lower price and without any form of shackles or bacdoors. Rapid.Space is expected to contribute 1,000,000€ to Nexedi yearly turnover by 2024.
Rapid.Space is available in Europe (France, Germany, Sweden, Nertherlands) and in China. It will soon be available in Taiwan and a second DC will open in China.
Rapid.Space IPv6 backbone is based on a hybrid mesh network which relies on hundreds of routers worldwide. Thanks to babel technology (RFC 6126), all sorts of congestions can be avoided. Latency can be minized.
Rapid.Space provides HTTPS front-ends (HTTP1, HTTP2, HTTP3) in 10 different locations worldwide. In China, Rapid.Space front-ends are places on all major carriers: CT, CU and CM.
Read online: How does Rapid.Space and SlapOS compare to AWS?
Based on an early assessment, 85% of cloud services provided by Amazon AWS could actually be implemented with Rapid.Space low cost, high performance cloud and the vairous open source stacks such as SlapOS (75% services) and a few third party Free Software (10% services).
Rapid.Space was created because we believe that the current cloud market is unfair and untrustable. Prices are way too high. The way it is operated is not transparent. As a cloud user, it is difficult or impossible to improve services. All sorts of legislations are creating risks of state surveillance of trade secrets.
Enterprise Cloud Computing is dominated by US companies (Google, Amazon, Microsoft) and Chinese companies (Alibaba, Huawei), often referred to as GAFAM and BAT.
Enterprise Cloud Computing, which initially brought to the IT service industry the modern utopia of "efficiency through automation and resource sharing" has since evolved into a dystopian market:
Such a Cloud Computing market is likely to stifle the grounds of fair competition and trust in the context of international trade.
It also captures most revenues from Artificial Intelligence (AI) through overpriced AI infrastructure, just like online advertising was able to capture profits of independent e-commerce web sites and eventually kill them.
It has been more than 10 years since the risk of Cloud dystopia was identified by governments and large corporations. Both governments and large corporations have already tried to build alternatives to cloud services created by US (GAFAM) and Chinese (BAT) cloud providers. Most of them failed.
Failures can be categorised into four categories: wrong people, wrong companies, wrong technology and wrong scope.
All failures boil down to a lack of understanding of what enterprise cloud in essence: the total automation of IT service operation on a shared infrastructure . In other words, Cloud replaces the jobs of system administrators and operation management teams with autonomous software. It replaces investment in computer hardware and real estate with rental.
The primary benefit of cloud is to increase productivity of IT operation by at least two orders of magnitude.
But whenever a cloud is designed by the wrong people (eg. system administrators), it often becomes a virtualisation platform with no automation. Obviously, system administrators will not make their own jobs obsolete. Although it looks like a cloud, a virtualisation platform is not a cloud: it does not automate service operation management and therefore brings little increase in productivity.
Whenever a cloud is designed by the wrong companies (ex. telcos, system integrators), it often becomes what those companies' enterprise clients (ie. system administrators) are looking for: an expensive virtualisation platform with an expensive private network. Again, this brings little increase in productivity.
Selecting the wrong technology can also lead to failure: 50% of OpenStack projects deployed in the world have failed. By focusing primarily on virtualisation and traditional enterprise customers (ie. system administrators), OpenStack design lacked so-called "promises" which would have been required for the stability of a fully automated and distributed operation management system. It is thus not possible to use OpenStack and compete with AWS, Azure or Alicloud in terms of productivity. The lack of operation management features - a problem shared with Kubernetes - also means that the platform was not designed as a complete system with customer relationship management (CRM), issue tracking management, accounting and billing in mind - all of which are mandatory for a commercial grade cloud.
A national scope for a cloud does not make sense either. All companies need to deploy their IT services worldwide in their remote offices or factories, including in China. Governments need to deploy their IT services abroad to serve international subsidiaries and expatriates. Moreover, any cloud with a national identity is suspected by foreign companies to be used for economic intelligence. Chinese suspect Europeans. Europeans suspect Chinese. Without a strong competitive advantage, any alternative with national identity such as Andromède (France), Gaia X (Germany) or China Grid spinoff (China) can not be adopted globally.
As it was found by economist Thomas Philippon, Europe has by far the most competitive market for telecommunication services. Europe also has the lowest price for cloud computing services.
Sadly, primary customers of European cloud providers are small businesses (such as Nexedi), individual developers and startups. European cloud providers still have a hard time to convince governments and corporations, even in Europe, to consider using their services. Individual developers and startups outside of Europe tend to ignore them completely. The difficulty of European cloud providers to appeal to a clientele beyond their current European customer base is still difficult to understand because the service, which they provide is good and the price is competitive.
Nexedi's analysis is that for corporations and governments, price matters much less than compliance.
It is also known - thanks to Nicolas Reimen - that the process of writing a tender increases requests for all sorts of certifications and features that are not really useful but significantly increase price or that are not available among European cloud providers. AWS has more than 200 different services, most of which are exclusive and incompatible with equivalent services of competitors. Microsoft Azure provides a wide range of compliance certifications (eg. PCI-DSS).
US (GAFAM) cloud providers have been able to attract a lot of high profile executives. Those executives previously worked for government (eg. Yohann Bénard) or national defence corporations (eg. Fabrice Brégier). They now play a key role in influencing tenders of large customers in favour of US (GAFAM) or Chinese (BAT) cloud providers.
Unless tenders are written in a different way, chances are very low that any significant competition will ever exist next to US (GAFAM) or Chinese (BAT) cloud providers. No manager of information systems (MIS) is going to be blamed for writing a tender which favours a US (GAFAM) cloud provider or a Chine (BAT) one.
Also, European cloud providers do not really offer more guarantee for the protection of international trade secrets after various laws passed in Europe have created risks which are similar to the US CLOUD Act or China Cybersecurity Law.
Price alone with a narrower set of features is not enough to convince the international market.
Price is not enough as a competitive advantage, except maybe for big data or cost conscious industries.
Litigation itself does not create a sustainable product or project.
For alternative solutions to exist and grow, it is necessary to introduce a unique advantage that US (GAFAM) or Chinese (BAT) cloud providers do not have and - if possible - can not copy.
We believe that two useful features could be easy to implement and difficult to copy by existing market leaders: hyper openness and international sovereignty.
A Hyper Open cloud (a.k.a. Free Cloud) is a cloud which is entirely transparent: Free / Open Source software, open source hardware and open source management procedures. All information is available to a third-party to operate the same service on their own, with the same software and at no license cost. Even the hardware is open source, which means that local suppliers could even manufacture it.
A Hyper Open cloud solves the problem of "customers jailed into horrendously expensive and mutually incompatible services" by having all 200+ services of a typical cloud implemented as open source devops profiles that can be deployed on any physical infrastructure and by any staff, based on open source manuals and operation procedures. This includes the ability to bring back on premise all cloud services at any time and operate them independently of any cloud provider. This includes the ability to customise and improve cloud services, including the operation management and billing platform.
International sovereignty is the idea that one should be able to decide which government will be able to do surveillance. Since all governments are trying to implement surveillance of their national cloud providers, there is no way to escape from surveillance besides hosting all infrastructure on premise. With international sovereignty, a Chinese company can decide if they want their servers in Europe to be under French or German surveillance. A German company can decide if their servers in Asia should be under Japanese or Chinese surveillance. Even though it is ethically desirable to eliminate government surveillance completely, this is not going to happen any time soon: lawful interception is a requirement of ITU, ETSI, etc.
Implementing international sovereignty requires a juridical architecture based on a federation of independent companies owned in each country by citizens or companies of that country. There should be no consolidation of capital, else laws such as the US CLOUD Act could apply outside their origin country.
A few companies are currently building a global hyper open cloud with international sovereignty: Rapid.Space (subsidiary of Nexedi), NixCloud (part of the NixOS ecosystem), etc.
Rapid.Space is OS neutral and focuses on Enterprise applications. It is available worldwide including in China. It provides full disclosure of architecture and procedures.
NixCloud leverages the NixOS ecosystem. It is available in Europe and in the USA. It relies on existing cloud providers (Hetzner, Amazon, etc.).
Rapid.Space is cheaper, ensures global delivery of services (including in China), is fully reversible (customers can quit Rapid.Space easily) and is open to all sorts of contribuions or adoptions of its open source technology. This is the advantage of being "Hyper Open".
Currently, EU has the cheapest prices for cloud. Rapid.Space is only 30% to 60% cheaper compared to EU brands.
US and China have the most expensive prices. Rapid.Space is 2 to 20 times cheaper compared to US or China brands.
Thanks to its global IPv6 backbone and its CDN front-ends, it is possible to create simple applications that will select automatically the best front-end for each user. Thanks to this technology, users can always access corporate applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) with 100% success rate. This approach is much more suitable for corporate applications than DNS based technologies which only provide 99% success rate. 99% is fine for e-commerce. But if the accountant of a company can not access the ERP of a company (because he or she is the 1% of the 99%), it is not acceptable.
Everything in Rapid.Space is open source: software (SlapOS), hardware (OCP) and business procedures.
The Rapid.Space Handbook explains every aspect to build a Rapid.Space node and operate it, either as a public cloud or as a private cloud. This is a major difference with any other cloud provider which usually keep their operating process secret.
All costs of Rapid.Space are public and described in "Business Model of a Low Cost Cloud Operator". The price of Rapid.Space is based on electricity, real estate, hardware amortisation, networking, operation management costs (software, human), hardware maintenance, financial costs. A 20% margin is added to cover all other risks related to the operation of a cloud service.
Anyone can contribute to Rapid.Space their own service in addition to the 70+ existing ones.
Anyone can contribute servers and datacenter to extend the worldwide coverage of Rapid.Space, as long as Rapid.Space procedures are respected.
Rapid.Space can be deployed on-premise too in a way that is typical of hybrid cloud.
It is also possible for one to operate a completely private infrastructure based, as Teralab does.
It is even possible to deploy Rapid.Space services on third-party public or private clouds (AWS, OVH, Azure, Alicloud, Hertzner, Huawei, VMWare, etc.) and benefit from all Rapid.Space services including its IPv6 backbone, CDN, IaaS, PaaS, etc.
Basically, there is no blocker, no secret, no anti-competitive practice of any sort in Rapid.Space.
For more information, please contact Jean-Paul, CEO of Nexedi (+33 629 02 44 25).