Cloud, Containers, IoT & More: 10 Startups to Watch in 2017 (Part 2)

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6. Affirmed Networks

About two years ago, AT&T named Affirmed Networks a Domain 2.0 supplier for its virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), and the 5-year-old startup has taken off ever since. The company’s claim to fame was jump-started by its vEPC running production traffic in LTE networks. This is important because at the time, not even companies like Ericsson or Alcatel Lucent were commercially shipping their vEPCs.

Evolved packet cores are the complex network hardware that cellular data and voice networks rest on. And to be able to virtualize that was quite the accomplishment and performance enhancer for telcos.

The company has grown quite a bit since and works with a number of big-name companies like HP, Intel, IBM, EMC, VMware, Symantec, Juniper, Dell, and Mellanox.

7. Deep Instinct

While many startups claim to use machine learning for security, Deep Instinct claims to go a step further by applying the computer-science discipline of deep learning to security to make its operation resemble human intuition. Its artificial brain is able to recognize zero-day threats by building its own sense of what’s normal or malicious, the company claims.

Deep learning is a type of artificial intelligence. While machine learning requires an expert to step in and identify certain features that a system should pay attention to, deep learning doesn’t require that level of human intervention.

However, it does require humans to tell Deep Instinct’s AI which files are good or bad and is then able to draw its own conclusions on what malicious files look like based on previous attacks.

Deep Instinct customers have access to its artificial brain through a small agent, which goes on devices like smartphones or laptops. The Tel Aviv-based company is about two years old and has about 65 employees.

8. Platform9

This startup was founded by formed VMware engineers in 2014 to help enterprises create their own AWS-like private clouds. The company is able to turn a group of servers into a self-service private cloud.

Shortly after the company’s launch, Platform9 released its first service — a cloud-based offering that remotely deploys and manages OpenStack on private servers. The company integrated its OpenStack controller service with VMware vSphere services as well.

This year, Platform9 released a managed Kuberenetes platform intended to make it easier for users to deploy and manage Docker containers.

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Plaform9 has raised $14.5 million to date led by Menlo Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

9. ZeroStack

ZeroStack offers a hyperconverged, on-premises appliance running its own version of OpenStack, which is based on the Kilo and Liberty releases. It’s designed to let users build out private clouds combining compute, storage, networking, and management onto one platform. More importantly, ZeroStack handles the cloud management remotely, as a managed service.

ZeroStack was founded by Kiran Bondalapati, a founding engineer at Bromium, and Ajay Gulati, a senior architect and a R&D lead at VMware. The company has taken multiple steps to make its platform as VMware-friendly as possible to suit enterprises and recently announced a feature that converts VMware workloads to run in ZeroStack’s cloud.

The company has about 45 employees and has raised $22 million since it got its start in 2014.

10. Aporeto

Last but not least, Aporeto is a 1-year-old startup that has taken a surprisingly simple approach to container security.

Traditional security systems try to block certain actions from hackers, whereas Aporeto takes the opposite approach, using a whitelist. This method means the operator will specify which actions are permitted, and anything else gets blocked by default.

This is manifested through the company’s open source project, Trireme, which consists of just 5,000 lines of code. It applies the white list concept by making containers identify themselves to one another.

This removes unknown containers as an entry point for hackers, because no container should be willing to communicate with outside signatures, reducing security to label-matching.

Among Aporeto’s founders is Dmitri Stiliadis, the former CTO of Nuage Networks, which is where Aporeto’s inspiration stems from. At Nuage he found the company was turning to the network to solve security problems, which was primarily a guessing game.