9 hot startups providing Kubernetes as a Service

It’s strange that Kubernetes is the most preferred Docker orchestration tool given that it was never really designed to work with Docker in the first place. This accidental relationship, however, has been so successful that an entire sub-industry — “Kubernetes as a Service” — is being built around managing Kubernetes for you.

Open sourced by Google in mid-2014, Kubernetes was the first capable Docker orchestration platform. After this, Docker responded by announcing built-in orchestration for Docker Swarm in mid-2016. However, Kubernetes already had a great head start in the orchestration space, and Swarm has some catching up to do. One of the ways Kubernetes leads Swarm is in the ecosystem it’s spawned over the past couple of years. Let’s look at the many startups and products Kubernetes has sparked since its launch.


Kubernetes as a service

Platform9’s Kubernetes as a Service is touted to be the only infrastructure-agnostic managed solution that can be used across public and on-premise infrastructure. Platform9 manages delivery, which enables onboarding in minutes without the ongoing operational overhead of 24/7 monitoring, troubleshooting, and managing of Kubernetes upgrades. This means that Platform9 manages all the nitty-gritty details of Kubernetes deployment and configuration while developers are free to use the Kubernetes API to build cloud-native applications.

Platform9 also makes your private cloud-management service available across the globe, which eliminates infrastructure silos and the associated problems. In fact, the option of outsourcing your Kubernetes workload is so tempting that people are calling it DevOps without the work.

Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit

Kismatic provides commercial support for Kubernetes for working with applications that have their code packaged in containers. Earlier last year, Kismatic was acquired by PaaS cloud platform provider Apprenda. Kismatic is one of the only companies to initially pursue enterprise Kubernetes because they felt that it had a lot of power but needed capabilities built around security, authentication, and auditing. Kubernetes was all about offering people the workflow architecture that Google was using in house called “the Borg.” Apprenda plans to expand Kismatic’s existing business operations and will support subscriptions with guaranteed service level agreements and professional services.


Heptio is another managed Kubernetes service that is straight from the original founders of Kubernetes — Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda. McLuckie felt that what the enterprise needed more than anything else was a Kubernetes-focused company that wasn’t tied to an adjacent business. A lot of people are wary about their infrastructure and applications getting too dependent on each other and are looking for a neutral partner to help them adopt containers and Kubernetes. Given the fact Beda and McLuckie founded Kubernetes, it’s probably a wise decision to believe they know what they’re talking about, and it’s no surprise that they have already raised over $8.5 million in funding.


While the enterprise slowly but steadily moves and evolves their architecture beyond VMs, organizations are not only looking for ways to embrace the new container architecture but they are also looking for some simplicity as well. Diamanti aims to create a solution from the problem that arises from a high density of containers that effectively have three to five times the workload on the same architecture.

When this happens, a lot of containers begin to conflict with each other, and that can lead to unpredictable behavior and performance. Their solution to this problem is an appliance that sits inside a company’s datacenter and deals with the problems companies face while they transition from legacy architecture to containers. The reason they have taken this approach is that most apps are data driven, and I/O is big part of that picture.

CoreOS Tectonic

CoreOS Tectonic is a leader in the open Kubernetes and container community. After pioneering automatic updates for Linux containers, the company plans to bring that same self-driving architecture to the world of managed Kubernetes. Along with the latest Kubernetes release, Tectonic also includes installers to help get you up and running in no time, a console to visually inspect your clusters and manage the self-driving features, and security features that integrate with your existing security framework. Being an enterprise solution that can deploy, manage, and secure containers anywhere, the fact that you can sign up for free for up to 10 nodes makes it a lucrative prospect indeed.


Though a lot of developers are more than comfortable running Linux containers, a multi-tenant environment often calls for a stronger degree of isolation. Unfortunately, such users have even resorted to running containers inside VMs to a point of running a single container inside a single VM. This particular setup effectively negates a lot of the benefits of containerization while creating a large resource footprint and wasting valuable resources.

Hypernetes tries to give you the best of both worlds by merging containers and VMs into a Hypervisor-based container that allows you to launch standard Docker images with a hypervisor. It features a new container image called hypercontainer, which provides a fully isolated sandbox with an independent kernel. Think hypervisor minus the weight. The best part is that it is designed to support multiple container runtimes and avoid vendor lock in.


With the success and popularity of Kubernetes and thousands of commits from hundreds of contributors, a lot of enterprises are announcing integration. Datera is one such enterprise that states that its intent-specific universal data fabric can be used with any application on any stack and to any scale. An integration of Datera and Kubernetes means automatic provisioning of stateful applications at scale that will let them translate application-service level objectives such as performance, scalability, durability, security, and capacity into its universal data fabric. The aim is to allow enterprises to seamlessly and cost effectively scale up applications of any kind.


There are said to be a lot of moving parts to the “straight-out-of-the-box” deployment process of Kubernetes, and its network setup varies significantly depending on many factors as well. Weave aims to make Kubernetes easy to set up and run anywhere along with bringing transparency to the network configuration so you don’t need an expert to set it up. Weave, or Weaveworks, is also being referred to as “Kubernetes Anywhere” and is enabling an easy way to deploy a Kubernetes cluster in an enterprise environment.


NavOps describes itself as “Superpowers for Kubernetes.” They provide a suite of products that they say enable enterprises to take full advantage of Kubernetes and running containers at scale. NavOps features a scheduler and policy-management system that not only provides virtual multi-tenancy and resource sharing, but also allows organizations to run containerized microservice application and non-containerized workloads more effectively on Kubernetes.

The ability to run on any Kubernetes-based platform means customers can choose to work with an array of vendors and their products.

Google obviously believes that developing Kubernetes will instill into the enterprise Google’s best practices with reference to containers. Since containers are the future of computing, this gives Google a unique advantage in the ongoing cloud wars, and maybe even some much needed leverage against rival and cloud dominator AWS. Apart from the huge community of developers Google married into by releasing Kubernetes, they have now also inherited a vast ecosystem of tools that make up for its shortcomings. The managed Kubernetes market is one to definitely look out for.

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