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This is the documentation for the project Kestrel.

What is Kestrel?

Kestrel is a substructure for deploying open source Software-as-a-Service applications. The Kestrel substructure is designed to fulfill the following design goals:

  1. Allow developers to deploy open source applications at scale without worrying about deployment costs or business models.
  2. Incentivize contributors to improve open source applications.
  3. Provide users with ownership over the data they generate as users of these applications.

Kestrel achieves this with its three main pillars: User Pay-Go Pricing, Fair Compensation, and the Self-Managed Database.

User Pay-Go Pricing

On applications deployed on the Kestrel substructure, users pay their own way for the data they use and the API calls they make. While this may act as a disincentive to using the product, it means that SaaS applications can scale up automatically without the need for upfront investment or a proper business model.

More enterprising creators can pre-fund an account for their application and define rules that allow users to experience a "free tier". In fact, you can even take an existing Kestrel application and redeploy it with your own business model using tiers, subscription pricing, or whatever you think will best attract users. All of this is done while ensuring the developers of the original application are appropriately compensated (see next section).

See User Pay-Go Pricing for more details.

Fair Compensation

Kestrel defines base-level usage costs to ensure that the fundamental costs of data storage and compute are appropriately covered. Individual Kestrel applications have a premium applied to them so that in addition to base costs being covered, the application contributors also get compensated.

See the Fair Compensation documentation for more details.

Self-Managed Database

Kestrel provides a simple document-like database interface for persisting queryable user data. It also provides an S3-like file storage interface for persisting binary data. Users are charged per GB-month for storage fees for each service.

Since users are on the hook for their storage, they are provided free rein to review and manage the data associated with their account. Kestrel provides a usage dashboard

See Self-Managed Database for more details.