Lota.cloud aims to become a major player in FinOps with OVHcloud managed services
OVHcloud and Lota.cloud
for Public Cloud Databases For MongoDB since it was launched
Up to 190 million documents
to integrate for a new customer
to create a MongoDB database for a new customer
Although French companies migrated to the public cloud relatively late, many now use resources hosted by one or more cloud providers. They all realised that the invoices sent by hyper-scalers are very complex — and it quickly became clear that using Excel to analyse expenses turns into a nightmare.
Lota.cloud is a startup founded in 2017 that has entered the FinOps solutions market. These SaaS applications enable companies to manage and control their spending on cloud services. Romain Karmann, co-founder and Lead Developer at Lota.cloud explains: “Our observation was that as cloud technology gained popularity, and more companies migrated to the public cloud, new issues would arise surrounding the billing for these services. They would have to organise monitoring, analysis, and ensure they understand all of the elements that their cloud service providers are billing for, while the multi-cloud model is becoming increasingly common.” While each cloud provider offers online tools to detail their billing, Lota.cloud’s idea is to support all cloud providers — including OVHcloud — in order to collect all of these billing elements, consolidate them, then analyse this data. This analysis then enables them to issue recommendations to customers, and optimise their infrastructures or purchasing methods to lower their spending.
Lota.cloud aims to set itself apart from existing FinOps solutions through its service pricing, since its competitors charge prices that are considered too high by many CIOs.
We are now entering the French market, which is out of step with the US market in terms of its adoption of the public cloud. In the face of these players, we leverage our geographical proximity and relationship of trust with our customers. We also rely on intuitive design that is aimed not only at technical experts, but also for the CFO, the purchasing manager, the CTO and project managers. We want our solution to be intuitive for everyone in the company who needs to use cloud services.”
The core business of Lota.cloud is processing its customers’ billing data. The initial target is naturally the most mature companies with regard to the cloud, who already have a lot of production resources with several cloud providers. These companies' cloud bills range from €50,000 to €100,000 per month, which represents millions of documents to load into the database for each customer. “To give an example, importing a 2-year history from one of our customers represented 190 million documents,” explains Romain. “We import all these documents into the database, then aggregate them. We can then make the usage data available to our customers via our application. ”
This data arrives on the Lota.cloud platform in the form of large 1GB CSV files, which must be cut out and then inserted into a database. The FinOps application can then launch these requests according to different criteria, in order to create views adapted to what users want to view.
When it launched, the startup mainly used OVHcloud Public Cloud instances to port the different technological building blocks of its application. Currently, the startup still uses around 10 machines, which represent approximately 80% of its infrastructure.
Since August 2021, Lota.cloud has chosen to use the OVHcloud Public Cloud Databases for MongoDB managed service. We chose MongoDB before OVHcloud offered this managed solution. We had an OVHcloud dedicated server, which we installed MongoDB on. This approach worked well, but we needed to maintain the database ourselves, deploy updates, and track database usage and performance. This meant we couldn’t focus on our core business — developing our software, working on data virtualisation, and finding customers.”
Managing servers and having to perform updates does not generate value for a startup. Relying on a managed service eliminates all of these low-value-added tasks, so the small-scale team can focus on developing their product and finding their first customers. OVHcloud ensures that the nodes in the MongoDB cluster are maintained in operational condition, and that all data is backed up automatically. A simple dashboard provides a real-time view of live database resource usage.
Romain Karmann: “By relying on a managed MongoDB service like the one offered by OVHcloud, we have the peace of mind that enables us to focus on scaling up and bringing more new customers to our platform. For large-scale customers who have a lot of data and use high volumes of resources, the ability to isolate them is of interest. We are able to have a separate database for each customer, because with a managed service, we can launch a new MongoDB database in just a few minutes.”
The beta-test and public release of the Public Cloud Databases for MongoDB solution persuaded the technical manager to choose the managed services option. Initially, Lota.cloud used a single high-power OVHcloud server to host its MongoDB database, which was attached to large volumes of disks. By switching to the Platform as-a-Service solution, the startup accesses a MongoDB instance configured on three nodes.
With this configuration, the business has great read-write capacity, and can anticipate peak activity. It can also handle service growth as the number of customers increases rapidly.
“The migration of our MongoDB platform to Public Cloud Databases for MongoDB resulted in a net performance increase of 15% — which is proof of the excellent platform optimisation offered by OVHcloud, both in terms of hardware and available bandwidth,” explains Romain.
In addition to the MongoDB infrastructure, which is at the heart of the service delivered by Lota.cloud, the startup also relies on another database managed by OVHcloud — Public Cloud Databases for MySQL. The uses for this SQL database are more standard: user management for their service, access rights, and more.
By having a portfolio of several databases managed at OVHcloud, we can choose the best database for our use cases. This is highly valuable from a technical point of view.”
Currently, the startup has around 10 customers, including the connected devices manufacturer Kolibree, Digora, Combat Network and the Fnac Darty group. Lota.cloud’s goal for 2022 is to reach 100 customers. For each new customer, the volume of data and associated processing increases by around 10% – a workload increase that the technical manager can observe with ease. OVHcloud’s MongoDB as a Service solution has demonstrated its reliability and ability to scale with 100% availability since September 2021, when Lota.cloud production first switched to the OVHcloud managed solution.
With the OVHcloud Startup Program, Lota.cloud has direct access to the Database Product Manager at OVHcloud. We have regular discussions with him on the MongoDB roadmap, as well as the big data aspect of it. OVHcloud is testing a number of solutions on the market, which means I get interesting feedback on our future solution choices.” The startup has established close relationships with the OVHcloud marketing team, which enabled Lota.cloud to take part in the OVHcloud Ecosystem Experience event — organised in November 2021 — and to present its solution to OVHcloud customers and future prospects.
For further developments in the technical architecture of his service, the co-founder of Lota.cloud is interested in serverless services, and would like to develop the solution from a data and data analytics perspective. “Our ambition for 2022 is to work on artificial intelligence. OVHcloud has deployed machine learning services, including OVHcloud AI Training and ML Serving, to help us carry out this project.” The aim of the startup is to offer its customers optimisation tools and recommendations to follow in order to reduce their cloud bill. To achieve this, Lota.cloud is leveraging OVHcloud’s product portfolio to harness the full potential of these solutions when they are linked to one another. This enables them to create high-value-added features, which will constitute a strong differentiator for the development of Lota.cloud.