Kubernetes stalwart Heptio lined its pockets with fresh funds, and said it may start to look outside its current ecosystem for more opportunities. Heptio said this week’s Series B funding round added $25 million to its coffers. The company formed last year with an initial $8.5 million in funding.
Madrona Venture Group took the lead this time on the funding round, with past lead investor Accel Partners and new investor Lightspeed Venture Partners also participating. Madrona’s investment was significant enough to gain a spot for managing director Tim Porter on Heptio’s board.
With the new funds, Heptio CTO and Co-Founder Joe Beda said the firm plans to accelerate growth and begin looking beyond just Kubernetes in supporting enterprises as they move into the hybrid cloud environment.
“The biggest benefit is that it lets us execute on the bigger opportunities in the space,” Beda said. “We can look at a wider set of technologies and problems as enterprises look to adopt more cloud native ways of working.”
Beda said the company was not yet ready to get into specifics on what those expansion plans might include, but they could involve both open source and commercial products. “We are looking to not have hard walls where we can’t help someone,” Beda said. “Customer problems don’t always fall along clean lines, so we need to be able to help in broader situations.”
The company launched last year under the guise of making the Kubernetes platform more accessible to developers running apps on-premises or in the public cloud. Heptio’s focus on Kubernetes is understandable as Beda and fellow co-founder and CEO Craig McLuckie were part of the initial Kubernetes team at Google.
Kubernetes was born two years ago out of Google’s Borg platform, before being spun out into the open source community.
Heptio last month launched a pair of open source projects designed to assist the deployment and management of Kubernetes container orchestration.
Beda said the Sonobuoy diagnostic tool was seeing strong initial reaction. The tool can run a subset of open source configuration tests in Kubernetes or customer plugins. The tool is also cluster agnostic, creating a readout of a cluster’s core characteristics regardless of setup.
While Heptio was an early player in the Kubernetes space, the ecosystem has seen rapid expansion over the past year.
Just this week, Oracle became the latest large cloud provider to throw more weight behind Kubernetes by joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). This followed on the heels of both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft joining the Kubernetes host that had already included Google and IBM.
While not an official standard in terms of container orchestrators, a growing number of vendors and enterprises are at least throwing the “de facto” label on Kubernetes.
According to a survey conducted as part of a recent SDxCentral report on container and cloud orchestration, 64 percent of respondents said they were using Kubernetes, 36 percent said they were using Swarm, and 18 percent said they were using Mesosphere’s Marathon. The survey included the option for multiple answers.
Beda said this expansion has not been a surprise, citing the embedded potential of the platform, but it has been gratifying. “We were hopeful for success, but it’s been great to continue to see the ecosystem grow,” he said.
Moving forward, Beda said the community needs to remain focused on growing what Kubernetes can do, but not letting it get too broad as to lose focus. This includes maintaining a strong governance model inside of CNCF, while continuing to tackle enterprise deployment challenges.
“A big part needs to be in connecting the dots,” Beda said. “It’s clear there is a lot of potential, but there are also a broad set of choices for enterprises that require some elbow grease for them to fully take advantage of. We are looking to make sure we don’t constrain the opportunity.”