I think we can all agree that 2020 was a year like no other. For enterprises, we’ve had to transition to a fully digital and cloud-first business, whether it was our workspace, security, technology, culture, or (and in most cases) all of the above. Thankfully at Styra, we’re lucky to have such a great team, community, and customer base that helped us not only navigate 2020, but make it a success. Now that we’ve moved into 2021, I’d like to take a moment to look back at the past year and share all the great momentum we’ve seen as a company.
OPA has become de facto
But, first, before we talk about Styra, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the growth of Open Policy Agent (OPA) over the past year. It’s been an amazing year for the project and it's clear that OPA is now the de facto standard for cloud-native authorization. Our Developer Advocate, Anders Eknert, wrote up a detailed Year in Review for the project on the OPA blog, but I’ll just take a moment to reshare some quick and impressive stats:
OPA 2020 by the numbers:
- 35+ million downloads
- 1500+ new Github stars
- 1700+ new Slack users, doubled in size!
- 750+ commits
- 90 contributors
- 9 major versions released, 17 point releases
As with every open source project, OPA’s success is thanks to its great community. OPA talks, meetups, webinars, etc have grown over 300% in the last two years, and these conversations are taking place across the globe. OPA is also being implemented, discussed, and recommended by luminaries and thought leaders in the cloud-native space on both social media and in the press. For example, earlier this year, it was great to see Kelsey Hightower gave OPA his “dope” rating on Twitter and mentioned OPA as a project he’s watching in his The New Stack interview in July!
Styra Declarative Authorization Service: new features and offerings
To ease OPA deployments, and speed implementation, we significantly expanded our OPA control plane, Styra Declarative Authorization Service (DAS) this year. In the first half of the 2020, we expanded the OPA use cases accelerated by Styra DAS. In addition to Kubernetes Admission Control, and our extensive policy pack of best practices and PCI compliance rules, we enhanced Styra DAS with support for microservices and service mesh and added further support for Kubernetes with mutating webhooks and new compliance packs for pod security policies. The new enhancements to Styra DAS have been proven over the last year to help customers eliminate manual policy creation and monitoring overhead, minimize production risk and accelerate development timelines.
As we headed into the second half of the year, we introduced two new editions of Styra DAS: DAS Pro and DAS Free, simplifying and accelerating the on-ramp for teams of all sizes to harness the power of OPA for Kubernetes admission control. While each edition supports different production stages, all customers of Styra DAS Free, Pro and Enterprise have access to the same management plane, policy libraries, impact analysis, monitoring and decision logging. Adding these new editions was really exciting and a big milestone for the company!
As I mentioned above, the community is the backbone of every successful open source project. In order to help support OPA users, we released long term support for OPA and announced Styra Academy, a free online portal that provides exclusive OPA, Rego and Styra DAS training. As OPA has matured, and end-user deployments have increased, we saw the need to create a core set of training and curriculum, borne out of proven production examples from the community. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow the Styra Academy with more courses as we move into the new year.
In addition to connecting with OPA users through the Styra Academy and on Slack, we’ve also been so happy to connect with them through social media. The OPA Twitter account saw a 88% increase, the Styra Twitter account saw a 235% increase and the Styra LinkedIn page saw an impressive 570% increase in followers! It’s clear that people are hungry for OPA and cloud-native authorization content - and are sharing the love with their friends, peers and colleagues. We love it!
OPA and Styra were also covered more in the press this year. In fact, mentions of Styra increased over 270% from the previous year! And, not only were we happy to be a more regular part of the conversation, but we’re also humbled to have received recognition: Open Policy Agent was named to the list of InfoWorld’s 2020 Best of Open Source Software Award Winners . Styra was named one of the 10 hottest Kubernetes startups of 2020 by CRN, the winner of the containers category of the Tech Trailblazers Award, winner in the compliance category of the 2020 Fortress Cyber Security Award and chosen as an EMA Top 3 in the Automation – Policy-as-Code category of the “EMA Top 3 Enterprise Decision Guide 2020”! We’re also a finalist in the “Best Cloud Native Security Solution/Service" category of DevOps Dozens awards.
Moreover, we were mentioned in 13 analyst reports in 2020. It’s been exciting to see analysts catching up to the cloud-native and Kubernetes space, and are always glad when they reach out to us throughout the year to ask for briefings or mention Styra and OPA in their papers. For example, both OPA and Styra were mentioned in various Gartner papers, including:
- Guidance Framework for Securing Kubernetes
- Market Guide for Compliance Automation Tools in DevOps
- Best Practices for Running Containers and Kubernetes in Production
- CTO’s Guide to Containers and Kubernetes — Answering the Top 10 FAQs
To keep up with the momentum of OPA and Styra DAS, we grew the Styra team by over 90% in 2020, and our growth shows no signs of slowing—In fact, we have four new employees starting this month! We grew across the company, from sales to marketing to product to customer success to engineering to open source. We added new key functions, such as a customer success team, and important new roles, such as developer advocates. As we move forward into 2021, we’ll be adding more key roles across the organization to help support our growing customer base. And, speaking of customers, stay tuned for a business update coming soon!
Lawrence Hecht wrote in The New Stack, “With a vibrant open source community supporting the project [Open Policy Agent], the future looks bright for Styra, the company originally behind the project.” I couldn’t agree more.
Interested in joining our growing team? Check out our job openings!