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Case study: Aiven

State of Open: The UK in 2021

Phase Two: “UK Adoption”

Lorna Mitchell, Head of Developer Relations


Helsinki-based Aiven specialises in managed Open Source data technologies across major clouds, such as PostgreSQL, M3, and Kafka. Having raised $100m in 2021, Aiven is establishing its Open Source Program Office (OSPO) to formalise development and maintenance of Open Source Projects. The OSPO aims to contribute to the projects crucial to Aiven’s business, acting as a liaison between various Open Source communities. Aiven plans to hire four to five Open Source developers and an OSPO manager, prioritising upstream contributors. The OSPO will facilitate intentional collaboration with the Open Source community, aligning project goals with business objectives.

8.2 Aiven: An OSPO for the community

In conversation with Lorna Mitchell, Head of Developer Relations

Aiven, headquartered in Helsinki, provides managed open source data technologies on all major clouds, enabling organisations to harness leading open source technology to build an infrastructure that drives innovation along with business results. Having raised $100m in investment in 2021, they are developing their Open Source Program Offce (OSPO).

Behind the scenes

Aiven provides managed open source data technologies, like PostgreSQL, M3 and Kafka, on all major clouds and believes that the value of open source is not only in the code itself but lies equally, in sharing information and solving community challenges. As Lorna explains, “It’s quite diffcult to separate open source from our business and the wider community, because we’re deeply embedded in those communities and are very close to individuals within those communities. It’s one and the same thing for us.”

Their growing relationship with clients and community alike, has pushed them to formalise their development, management and maintenance of open source software, tools and projects by creating an OSPO team. Aiven’s OSPO will specifcally aim to contribute back to the open source projects it has built its business on act as a bridge between different open source communities to drive fixes and features important to Aiven. As Lorna says, “A lot of our engineers, particularly the more experienced ones, are also open source contributors. It’s very much part of what we do. Because we offer open source projects as a service, we’re dependent on those upstream projects. We’re also part of their ecosystem in terms of fixing things and helping out.”

Aiven’s OSPO: a force for the community

Currently they are aiming to recruit four to five open source developers spanning multiple specialisations, in addition to an open source program manager. A key aspect of their hires will be upstream contributors, as Lorna believes that those people who have a lot of experience in open source projects are going to be highly valuable.

They hope the OSPO will create a seamless path for them to develop their open source community and contributions. As Lorna explains, an “OSPO gives a route for businesses who want to support the open source community to align the goals of those projects and the businesses. Certainly for Aiven as a tech company, it brings together some different threads and really gives us a place to be intentional about the work that we do with open source.”

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