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Announcing Tigris Seed Round led by Andreessen Horowitz

· 5 min read
Ovais Tariq

Tigris globally distributed object
storage [src:]

Eighteen years ago today, Amazon completely changed how developers work with data storage by giving us Simple Storage Service (S3).

S3 rewrote the rules of storage and propelled us into a new era of cloud computing. Traditional storage solutions were cumbersome and costly, and they shackled developers to the limitations of the hardware. With S3, Amazon introduced a shift towards Storage as a Service, liberating developers from the burdensome tasks of purchasing, provisioning, and managing physical storage. No longer were they bound by the precarious dance of capacity planning, where overestimating meant wasted resources and underestimating spelled disaster for uptime.

Accessibility was at the heart of S3's appeal. In an industry notorious for labyrinthine sales processes and convoluted purchasing procedures, Amazon disrupted the status quo by putting the power directly into the hands of developers. Signing up for S3 was as effortless as a few clicks and typing in your credit card. Gone were the days of tedious negotiations with enterprise sales reps; in its place, a pay-as-you-go model that scaled seamlessly with storage needs. Need less? Pay less. Need more? The solution was as simple as it gets.

Did you know?

"We knew that the largest consumers of infrastructure would be large enterprises because they spend more absolute dollars. But we also had a mental image of a college kid in his dorm room having the same access, the same scalability and same infrastructure costs as the largest businesses in the world." - Andy Jassy

Remember, S3 stands for "Simple Storage Service". Amazon understood that developers craved a straightforward interface that allowed them to focus on building, not wrestling with arcane rituals and byzantine configurations. In an era where API access required you to use complex protocols (remember SOAP and XML?), S3 delivered an intuitive platform where putting objects in and retrieving them was as intuitive as an HTTP request.

Of course, none of this would have mattered if S3 wasn't so durable that people stopped thinking about it as a failure point. It's hard to do better than Amazon at storing files because of their multiple nines of uptime, unmatched durability, and robust security features. S3 set the gold standard for what cloud storage should be.

To AWS's credit, they've managed to keep the developer experience the exact same for all 18 years of S3 being around. To everyone's horror, they've managed to keep the developer experience the exact same for all 18 years of it being around. The developer experience was intended for scenarios that simply don't exist anymore. When you create an S3 bucket, you doom that bucket to live and die in that single building. So if you set up your upload bucket in Northern Virginia, everybody in the Eastern Seaboard of the United States has a good experience. However, this means your users in Washington state have a really bad experience. There are ways to work around this and to serve files with things like CloudFront, but once you start doing that, everything gets really complicated, and it's easy to have one small configuration mistake spiral into thousands of dollars of cost per day.

This isn't the view of simplicity that we think S3 deserves. And developers agree with us. The needs and desires of developers have changed a lot in that time. If you look at the StackOverflow 2023 Developer Survey, you'll see that while AWS reigns supreme, the adoption curve is growing for platforms like DigitalOcean, Vercel, and They all provide mostly the same core services as AWS, but they're made with the philosophy that developers want to spend less time configuring infrastructure and more time building their applications.

As time has passed, developers want to work with newer, more streamlined cloud platforms over the big three "traditional" cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud).

By 2006 standards, AWS S3 is a technical marvel. However, it isn't 2006 anymore, it's 2024. So we had to ask ourselves, what would S3 look like if launched today? We think there would be vastly different design constraints, especially for modern real-time applications.

About our fundraise

This is why we're building Tigris. We believe that developers no longer have to choose between powerful and easy. Our vision is simple: developers should concentrate on crafting exceptional applications, not fret over serving media, managing ML training data, or grappling with log ingestion complexities. Developers shouldn't be bogged down by naming conflicts or configuring additional services for latency optimization; we simply want blazing-fast applications.

Getting all of this right is hard. Really hard. Heck, Amazon has hundreds of engineers working on S3. Building large-scale distributed systems is hard - from managing and balancing I/O demand within a datacenter across multiple datacenters and getting redundancy schemes right to protect data from hardware failures. It's full of the same problems the entire industry had to deal with before the cloud existed.

But we've built large-scale infrastructure before at Uber. We're building the groundwork that we think developers want on top of, and we're excited to continue on this mission of making highly reliable, globally distributed object storage dead simple for developers.

And we couldn't be more excited to announce that a16z has led our latest fundraise to help our mission become a reality. We're thrilled to be working with Martin Casado - he's had a profound impact on the engineering community with investments in Inngest, Clerk, Tabular,, Instabase, and many others. He gets that developers are looking to escape the headaches and clunky interfaces of the traditional clouds, and he's putting his money where his mouth is. We couldn't be happier having him on our journey.