State of the ZeroTier Address

Greetings ZeroTier users!

This is ZeroTier Founder Adam Ierymenko and it’s about time for me to deliver a much-belated update on our current status and our future plans.

First: no, we are not dead! Quite the opposite. We’ve had too much attention from large enterprise customers and have badly neglected our web site. Our new site will be easier for us to administrate and update so updates via this channel should be more frequent in the future.

Now on to the good stuff!

Company Status

2018 delivered every angel/VC funded startup’s first big financial milestone: we made nothing! We also lost nothing. (Well really we did lose a little bit but it’s a rounding error in the big picture.)

That means 2018 was the first year we didn’t net burn any investor capital. If 2019 delivers the same or better, it means we are now what startup guru and YCombinator founder Paul Graham calls “default alive.” Default alive means if life support (more funding rounds) is removed, your company doesn’t die.

We are planning to raise a bit more in 2019 to accelerate operations. We desperately need to up our customer support, general inquiry responsiveness, and operational game.

Version 1.4.0

Version 1.4.0 is presently in pre-release. As of the time of this post the dev branch at GitHub holds the goods. 1.4.0 brings beta support for concurrent multipath, making ZeroTier a bona-fide SD-WAN product at least insofar as many users’ needs are concerned. 1.4.0 also contains performance improvements, a new Mac Tap device driver that dispenses with the need for a kernel extension, and the internal guts to eventually support some degree of traffic QoS management via our rules engine.

The 1.4 series will focus on perfecting multipath and QoS and increasing performance. The next major milestone after 1.4 should be 2.0, which will get rid of the cumbersome planet/moon system (and related confusing terminology) in favor of full decentralization of the ZeroTier root server plane! Stay tuned for announcements related to that. It involves some rather cool black magic that you might be able to leverage for other things as well.

The ZeroTier Edge

We’re well aware and somewhat ashamed of how long the ZeroTier Edge took to ship and how long some remaining units are still taking. We’ve been giving refunds to all who have not yet gotten a unit and request one. We’ve also decided that while we’ll continue to update the Edge software we’ll not be producing our own branded hardware anymore (for the immediate future at least).

The Edge was an experiment in low-cost high-performance network hardware and in exploring the plug-and-play network box market. Like many small tech companies who dip their toes into hardware, we found that it was more trouble than we na├»vely imagined. We battled an endless “long tail” of issues including WiFi driver problems and other odd embedded hardware issues and also found that producing and shipping the devices took more of our time and was generally higher touch than we anticipated. In short the device ended up not being very profitable and even worse a major distraction from our core focus of software and SaaS.

Here’s how we are going to deal with the Edge going forward:

  1. Provide refunds to anyone who has not yet received an Edge and asks for one.
  2. Ship the remaining units to anyone who still wants to wait.
  3. Open source the Edge firmware image and provide documentation for anyone who wants to build an Edge out of an espressobin (the board we used) or any other suitably powerful SBC that can run ARM64 Linux.
  4. Open source the Edge 3D printer files so you can print nifty Edge cases for espressobin boards if you so desire.

The recently released Raspberry Pi 4 would make a great platform for a DIY ZeroTier router/SD-WAN box as it finally has full-speed gigabit Ethernet. Coupled with our Edge image’s ability to alias the port, a Pi 4 could give you a fully functional Edge that roughly equals the performance of the one we shipped.

We apologize for the issues surrounding the Edge project and we sincerely want to thank all our generous and patient supporters!

ZeroTier’s Future

Moving forward we want to re-focus our efforts on software and software-as-a-service. We will soon be revising the billing model for my.zerotier.com, making it more gradual and transparent and also likely increasing our revenue a little. This in turn will help keep our company’s focus on providing advanced network virtualization and other decentralization-oriented technologies to the end user as well as to large customers.

We’ll be releasing some new software too in the near future. Some of it is only tangentially related to ZeroTier as you know it and may prove very useful to many people solving many different kinds of problems.

Lastly, we’re going to focus on supporting our largest enterprise customers. We gained some outstanding new enterprise users in 2018 and hope to continue and grow our presence in that market. Our offering is absolutely unique in terms of its combination of openness, versatility, performance, ease of use, and applicability to a wide array of problem domains.

Once again I’d like to thank our users, since they’re the ones who make ZeroTier possible. We can’t do it without you!

Sincerely,

Adam Ierymenko
Founder | ZeroTier, Inc.