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Technology Preview Release of RTBkit

Today is a big day for Datacratic and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic.  We are releasing the first open source version of RTBkit, our real time bidding platform, which represents several man-years of effort and is an expression of our vision for what we think a data-driven RTB platform should look like.
 
This post is intended to provide an overview of RTBkit and most importantly some detail on how we hope the ecosystem coalesces around the project. Over the next few days, I’ll be releasing a series of posts describing the design vision, and technology used to build RTBkit.
 
RTBkit is an open, modular system with a plugin architecture that allows it to be customized and extended. The RTBkit framework makes it very easy to implement a custom bidding algorithm and run it live on an exchange. The software is being distilled from our production bidder, which means that we are gradually transplanting code and features from that code-base into RTBkit.  The process is ongoing, which is why we are calling today’s announcement a Technology Preview Release: the basic structure and functionality of the product are in place, but there are still several features to be added.
 
Today we are releasing the source code for RTBkit’s core; this is the glue that holds the bidder together.  In the coming weeks and months we will be releasing system images and other components that together form a fully-featured, scalable bidder stack.  We plan to release a 1.0 version of RTBkit in early April that will be suitable for immediate deployment; this will then become the foundation for all of our production deployments.
 
We decided to make it available under the Apache license (version 2), a very liberal open-source license that allows for integration into other proprietary systems.  At Datacratic we are huge advocates of the open source software movement and its beneficial effects on innovation; and we want to encourage wide adoption and ensure it was compatible for integration with other commercial software applications.
 
The goal of releasing early is to start building a community around the project and let interested parties get an understanding of how it could fit in with their plans.  Ultimately that will mean different things to different players in the ecosystem:
 
Ad Exchanges can participate by working with us to get an exchange connector plugin built.  We are porting our existing exchange connectors over to RTBkit and expect that most of the large exchanges will be supported with the v1.0 launch. We think ad exchanges will benefit by lowering the technical barriers to entry and increasing the bid density. More bid density will mean higher cpm’s and ultimately more money for their publishers. 
 
Data Providers and Server-Side Data Store Providers can create augmentor plugins that will attach extra data directly to the bid stream.  The data can be keyed off any of the attributes in the bid request. allowing innovation to flourish at the data management layer. 
 
Analytics Providers can create plug-ins to the data-logger and inject real-time data from RTBkit directly into their products.  By building and maintaining a plug-in they will be instantly compatible with the RTBkit installed base, right out of the box.
 
Systems Integrators and Solutions Providers can get up to speed with RTBkit and consider using it as the basis for their offerings or adding compatible services such as load testing or validation.
 
Developers working on RTB software anywhere in the stack are welcome to download, use and contribute to the code.  We always find it interesting to see how other people have solved problems similar to those that we focus on and we hope that RTBkit will become a reflection of the industry’s collective wisdom on how to build the best possible bidder.
 
As I mentioned earlier, I will be releasing a few more blog posts over the next few days where I go into more depth into the why, what and how of RTBkit.  But you don’t need to wait; you can check it out today at rtbkit.org or the source code directly at https://github.com/rtbkit/rtbkit-preview. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.
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