Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, May 20, 2022

App Container Startups Remain VC Darlings 

Various segments of the application container movement continue to attract investment capital as the emerging technology slowly but steadily make its way into production.

The latest example from the networking segment comes from Weaveworks Inc., which positions itself as a Docker container networking and monitoring specialist enabling cross-platform micro-services. The San Francisco-based startup announced the close of its most recent funding round last week that garnered $15 million.

Series B funding was led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and existing investor Accel. Weaveworks said it has so far raised $20 million. Google is the force behind a leading container platform, Kubernetes.

Weaveworks emphasizes the lack of a "one-size-fits-all" platform for building and running micro-services based on application containers. Besides the Kubernetes cluster manager, other options include Amazon's EC2 Container Service, Docker Data Center and Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System.

The startup said it intends to use the cash infusion to boost investment in open source while developing tools and commercial cloud services with the goal of delivering an "integrated commercial offering." The new capability would help meet demand in an expanding container ecosystem for tools to deploy, monitor and manage cloud-native container platforms.

The point of this and other feverous activity around containers and micro-services is speeding the delivery of enterprise applications and other IT services using hyperscale techniques pioneered by Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Containers are used to break down software into smaller, more agile micro-services.

Weaveworks notes that industry analysts peg the DevOps tool chain market at an estimated $2.3 billion in 2016 as vendors offer more automation aids that would free developers to focus on getting enterprise applications out the door.

Other companies focusing on network virtualization said the investment in Weaveworks also bodes well for that sector. The new funding "validates the need for further innovation in networking from companies like Weaveworks and Midokura in an increasingly containerized world," noted Adam Johnson, Midokura's vice president of business.

"Running containers at scale in production requires operations tools and fine-grained security policies applied at the container level, and we’re glad to see that investors are recognizing the value and providing the support needed to advance container technology," Johnson added.

Meanwhile, Weaveworks is positioning its next product as a platform for delivering a micro-services console for running a container orchestration platform. The company expects to release both open source and commercial versions, and a cloud service currently in beta testing will be generally available soon.

Weaveworks also is playing a leading role in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation launched last year to coordinate interface and other standards needed to harmonize container technologies and micro-services. Alexis Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Weaveworks, service as the chair of the foundation's technical oversight committee.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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