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12 hot application container startups

Brandon Butler | June 26, 2015
The container revolution is upon us.


Headquarters: San Francisco Founded: 2013 Funding: $20 million from Google Ventures, KPCB, Fuel Capital, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Y-Combinator Why it's worth watching: The founders of CoreOS thought containers were great, but didn't love some of Docker's design decisions related to security and management. So, the CoreOS team crafted a lightweight Linux operating system meant to run in scale-out distributed systems as well as its own container software dubbed rkt (pronounced "rocket"). Similar to the open source Docker project, rkt is a container runtime format that allows for container creation.

CoreOS also has developed Tectonic, a commercial distribution of the Kubernetes open source container management platform from Google. If Docker will have any near-term competition from another startup, it could come from CoreOS, which was launched by Alex Polvi and Brandon Phillips, who worked on cloud monitoring at Rackspace.


Headquarters: San Francisco Founded: 2013 Funding:  $150M from Insight Venture Partners, Coatue, Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust, Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Trinity Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures.  Why it's worth watching: There is no better recognized company in the container market right now than Docker.

It's the name of both an open source project for creating containers and a company that's commercializing the code. The open source project is led by a governing board that includes some Docker employees, but also contributors from many other companies. Docker has focused thus far on many of the basic aspects of containers how to create them, how they interact with management platforms and what can be done with them. As the company advances though, it's adding more management features atop its product, for example by controlling the networking containers need. Docker the open source code has emerged as a de facto standard for container runtimes, which gives Docker the company a big opportunity to capitalize on commercializing the management of those containers. Solomon Hykes, Docker's CTO, is credited with helping to spur the container movement when he founded dotcloud, which was the original name of Docker the company.


Headquarters: San Francisco Founded: 2014 Funding: Undisclosed Why it's worth watching: Google has said it runs almost all of its applications in containers, and last year open sourced software called Kubernetes that helps manage infrastructure clusters, including containers. Kismatic is a startup hoping to commercialize Kubernetes.

As of now the company is still in stealth mode, so details about what it is doing haven't been shared publicly. But it's expected that Kismatic will attempt to make Kubernetes more palatable to business users. That approach to open source technology usually includes things like packaging it, putting in security controls and making it reliable and fault tolerant.

The folks behind Kismatic come from Mesos, another orchestration technology provider. One executive served as CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation.


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