Kubernetes startup Heptio raises $8.5 million from Accel Partners, Madrona Venture Group

Kubernetes startup Heptio raises $8.5 million from Accel Partners, Madrona Venture Group

by John Furrier | Nov 17, 2016 | 0 comments

heptioGoogle Cloud executive and Cube alumni Craig McLuckie is teaming up with the founder of the Kubernetes project Joe Beta to launch Heptio to commercialize Kubernetes in a report by Frederic Lardinois of Techcrunch.

I just spoke with Craig McLuckie who confirmed the news and will be CEO of the new venture. Additionally, he told me that Accel Partners will be the lead firm with Madrona Venture Group following for a total of $8.5 million in the funding round. Partners in the funding are Ping Li from Accel and Tim Porter from Madrona.
Kubernetes has become the big trend in the DevOps and new cloud-native marketplace. As traditional, on-premise network infrastructure transitions to the cloud-native model, some are asking what role remains for legacy storage platforms and how will these platforms interface with cloud-based Platform as a Service architecture? Heptio goal is to help bring the benefits of Cloud Native to the wider IT industry.

As the movement to further the education and advancement of Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native architectures continues to grow, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is hoping to be the definitive body to make sure no one land grabs the future of cloud. This year we saw the emergence of KubeCon and CloudNativeCon, the event for Kubernetes ecosystem now managed by the Linux Foundation. KubeCon was a sellout. Last year’s the founder year had 550 people with 35 corporate sponsors with lots of multinational companies involved, including VMware, Red Hat, Metaswitch and Google. This year, the conference had 1,500 attendees, plus a waiting list; conference officials anticipate several thousand people will attend next year.

At KubeCon I asked Joseph Jacks, founder of Kubecon, about the impact of Kubernetes. Jacks described Kubernetes as the “linux kernel” for distributed systems. When asked about the so-called software lock-in. He pointed out that, for example, Amazon Web Services’ competitive advantage is speed and code pushing. It pushes so much code and has a flywheel of leverage that people can leverage with the code. So the alternative is for companies to do it themselves; but it would be impossible for them to achieve the efficiencies of what Amazon is producing, which speaks to the dynamic in a community model.

Jacks agreed, and said, “There’s a beautiful analogy of Kubernetes being sort of the ‘Linux kernel’ for distributed systems, or you can look at it as a POSIX (Portable Operating System interface) for distributed systems. If you take Linux as an example, there’s just this explosion of distributions. As Linux started to stabilize and become more reliable, vendors came in and started to package the system. We’re going to see the same thing happen with Kubernetes; we’re starting to see major multinationals invest in the technology and provide their own distributed approach around packaging and integration with different tools … starting to invest serious dollars and stabilizing the code base.”

What Heptio will be is something we’ll dig into with the team. My prediction is that they will have an instant presence. However their impact will depend on how they contribute and the business model they chose. Do they partner with Google or AWS or both? Is Docker a friend or foe? Will they go open-core?

For more coverage from KubeCon and CloudnativeCon just search Google with #KubeCon

Here is the first public post on their mission via Heptio blog:

The real value from Cloud Native goes far beyond the basket of technologies that are closely associated with it. To really understand where our industry is going, we need to examine where and how we can make companies, teams and people more successful.

At this point, these techniques have been proven at technology centric forward-looking companies that have dedicated large amounts of resources to the effort. Think Google or Netflix or Facebook. Smaller, more flexible, companies are also realizing value here. However, there are very few examples of this philosophy being applied outside of technology early adopters.We are still at the beginning of this journey when viewed across the wider IT world. We are still at the beginning of this journey.

With some of the early experiences being proven out and shared, what themes are emerging?

  • More efficient and happier teams. Cloud Native tooling allows for big problems to be broken down into smaller pieces for more focused and nimble teams.
  • Drudgery is reduced through automating much of the manual work that causes operations pain and downtime. This takes the form of self healing and self managing infrastructure. Expect systems to do more.
  • More reliable infrastructure and applications. Building automation to handle expected churn often results in better failure modes for unexpected events and failures. Example: if it is a single command or button click to deploy an application for development, testing or production it can be much easier to automate deployment in a disaster recovery scenario (either automatically or manually).
  • Auditable, Visible and Debuggable. Complex applications can be very opaque. The tools used for Cloud Native applications, by necessity, usually provide much more insight into what is happening within an application.
  • Deep Security. Many IT systems today have a hard outer shell and a soft gooey center. Modern systems should be secure and least trust by default. Cloud Native enables application developers to play an active role in creating securable applications.
  • More efficient usage of resources. Automated “cloud like” ways of deploying and managing applications and services opens up opportunities to apply algorithmic automation. For instance, a cluster scheduler/orchestrator can automate placement of work on machines vs. having an ops team manage a similar assignment in a spreadsheet.

John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.
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