Sandstorm News

Sandstorm is returning to its community roots

By Kenton Varda - 06 Feb 2017

Most people know Sandstorm as an open source, community-driven project aiming to enable self-hosting of cloud services and to make it possible for open source web apps to compete with today’s cloud services.

Many people also know that Sandstorm is a for-profit startup, with a business model centered on charging for enterprise-oriented features, such as LDAP and SAML single-sign-on integration, organizational access control policies, and the like. This product was called “Sandstorm for Work”; it was still open source, but official builds hid the features behind a paywall. Additionally, we planned eventually to release a scalable version of Sandstorm for big enterprise users, based on the same tech that powers Sandstorm Oasis, our managed hosting service.

As an open source project, Sandstorm has been successful: We have a thriving community of contributors, many developers building and packaging apps, and thousands of self-hosted servers running in the wild. This will continue.

However, our business has not succeeded. To date, almost no one has purchased Sandstorm for Work, despite hundreds of trials and lots of interest expressed. Only a tiny fraction of Sandstorm Oasis users choose to pay for the service – enough to cover costs, but not much more.

We attribute this failure to two main problems:

We plan to publish a more complete postmortem in a subsequent blog post.

Unfortunately, Sandstorm the business has now run out of money, and we have been unable to raise more.

The Project Lives On

Although it will no longer be our full-time job, Sandstorm will continue as an open source project. We still strongly believe in Sandstorm’s long-term vision and cannot abandon it. I personally will continue to lead Sandstorm’s technical development: reviewing and merging pull requests, pushing releases, and developing new features. We will continue to operate Sandstorm Oasis – your data there is safe. Meanwhile, we will make it easier for our extended community to be involved in core development and decision-making. Jade will be in contact with individual community members to appoint community leaders and grant them the authority to handle a variety of community organizing functions, from App Market approval to organizing meetups.

Ironically, the pace of development may not even be hurt much. Over the past year, the Sandstorm team has spent a great deal of our time on enabling our business, e.g. building a payment mechanism, processing customers, marketing, and the like. I personally have spent far too much time on fundraising, sales, and other deal-making rather than on coding. With this shift in direction, we can now focus strictly on building out the core platform, getting more done with less time.

Immediate Action Items

As a result of this change, the following has happened today:

How you can help

Want to see Sandstorm succeed? Then, contribute!