Rafay Systems lands $8M funding, launches SaaS automation framework

Rafay Systems announced on Thursday an $8 million Series A funding round, and the launch of its software-as-a-service-base (SaaS) framework for containerized application lifecycle management.

The funding round was led by Ridge Ventures, which is an early stage venture capital fund, along with participation from NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Costanoa Ventures and Moment Ventures. Costanoa Ventures and Moment Ventures previously participated in Rafay's  $4.1 million seed round.

Rafay CEO and co-founder Haseeb Budhani said in an email to FierceTelecom that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company expects its next round of funding to occur around the late 2020 timeframe. Budhani and Hemanth Kavurulu, who is vice president of engineering, founded the company in two years ago. Rafay currently has 26 employees.

Rafay also announced the general availability of its turnkey, SaaS-based offering that was designed to confront a complex set of ongoing challenges enterprises and service providers face when modernizing their applications with containers.

The SaaS automation framework was designed to reduce the complexities of deploying and managing applications in Kubernetes environments. Budhani said that customers could leverage the Rafay platform to federate Kubernetes clusters running on premise, in service provider networks and in public cloud.

Rafay's SaaS automation framework works across any Kubernetes environment, and can act as a critical tool on the DevOps team’s tool chain.

While enterprises and service providers are rushing into the Kubernetes arena, it can present a steep learning curve that requires companies to make major investments in training, hiring and in-house development.

"Companies such as Google have built internal platforms that look very much like the platform Rafay has built," Budhani said via email. "Google, Netflix, etc. see these types of platforms as competitive differentiators, and continue to invest in infrastructure software. Building and maintaining these platforms is a gargantuan undertaking and not every company has the right resources or time to build this.

"As such, companies are looking for solutions that can further simplify their software infrastructure and automation investments so they can focus on core company value instead of building tools for container lifecycle management. This is why many have chosen AWS as their primary infrastructure provider instead of building out their own data center environments."

RELATED: VMware throws down the gauntlet on Kubernetes with Tanzu platform

While VMware touted its Kubernetes-based Tanzu platform, which included developer tools, at VMworld last month, Budhani said Tanzu doesn't go into the cluster customization and application management areas like Rafay does.

"Further, Tanzu today does not address multi-cluster federation in the way that Rafay addresses out of the box," he said. "Because Rafay is focused on lifecycle management for apps that run in Kubernetes clusters—be it EKS, PKS or a home-spun Kubernetes environment—it is quite complementary to Tanzu and other platforms like it, such as D2IQ, which was formerly known as Mesosphere."

When asked which vendors are Rafay's closest competitors, Budhani cited do-it-yourself efforts by organizations. Budhani said DevOps teams build internal platforms on top of their Kubernetes environments to do tasks such as automate code deployment, configuration updates, secrets distribution, log aggregation, metrics collection, and debugging infrastructure.

"With Rafay, all of this highly complex, but repetitive, work is automated out of the gate, so DevOps teams can focus on high-value application logic that makes the company more money," Budhani said.

Going forward, Budhani said Rafay would continue its work on reducing complexities in customers’ DevOps initiatives.

"We expect to continue to enhance the work we’ve already done on the cluster blueprinting front," he said. "With respect to cluster blueprinting, we want to make it even easier for customers to be able to make highly customizable blueprints, for example, spin up a PCI cluster with the right security profile, the right Istio config, the right RBAC (role-based access control) settings, etc."