VMware strikes a deal for Kubernetes startup Heptio

At VMworld Europe this morning, VMware added another Kubernetes arrow to its quiver with the news that it is buying startup Heptio.

Seattle-based Heptio was founded two years ago by Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, who—along with Microsoft's Brendan Burns—co-created Kubernetes in 2014 while they were at Google. Google has since put Kubernetes into open source.

Beda, McLuckie and their employees will move over to VMware once the transaction is completed. The deal is expected to close in VMware's fiscal fourth quarter of 2019 after it passes regulatory muster and closing conditions.

VMware didn't say how much it would be paying for Heptio but that a definitive agreement has been signed.

“Kubernetes is emerging as an open framework for multicloud infrastructure that enables enterprise organizations to run modern applications,” said Paul Fazzone, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's cloud native apps business unit, in a prepared statement. “Heptio products and services will reinforce and extend VMware’s efforts with PKS to establish Kubernetes as the de facto standard for infrastructure across clouds upon closing. We are thrilled that the Heptio team led by Craig and Joe will be joining VMware to help us guide customers as they move to a multicloud world.” 

Heptio products and professional services teams help enterprises deploy and scale  Kubernetes. VMware cited Heptio’s work with organizations through training, support and professional services that speed up the integration of Kubernetes and related technologies into the fabric of enterprise IT. VMware is betting that Heptio will open up new channels to further engage the open source community and harden upstream Kubernetes as well as support the cloud-native needs of the largest enterprises once the deal is done.

Heptio's managed Heptio Kubernetes Subscription (HKS) service includes products, designs and support offerings to help organizations manage and deploy upstream Kubernetes. HKS is packaged into a subscription that makes it easier to deploy and then scale Kubernetes as customers grow their deployments.

On the open source front, Heptio has worked on projects such as Sonobuoy, Contour, Gimbal, Ark and ksonnet. Both VMware and Heptio pledged their continued support for Kubernetes in open source.

"The team at Heptio has been focused on Kubernetes, creating products that make it easier to manage multiple clusters across multiple clouds,” said Heptio CEO McLuckie in a prepared statement. “And now we will be tapping into VMware’s cloud native resources and proven ability to execute, amplifying our impact. VMware’s interest in Heptio is a recognition that there is so much innovation happening in open source. We are jointly committed to contribute even more to the community—resources, ideas and support.”

Heptio, whose customer list includes Yahoo Japan, raised $25 million last year in a series B round of funding that was led by Madrona Venture Group and joined by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Accel Partners. In 2016, Heptio raised $8.5 million in its first round of funding.

VMware brings its on premise, hybrid storage, computing services and cloud capabilities to Kubernetes. VMware and Pivotal have delivered PKS, which is a Kubernetes portfolio covering customer use cases for on-premises deployment and as a cloud service.

VMware said the deal wasn't expected to have a material impact on its fiscal 2019 operating results.

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Over the past few years, service providers, vendors and businesses have cast their lot with Kubernetes as a means to deploy cloud-native architectures for IT services. Kubernetes is now the hands-down de facto standard for orchestrating and managing containers across public and private clouds. Earlier this year, OPNFV's sixth software release, which is called "Fraser," added more support for Kubernetes integration, while CableLabs' SDN/NFV Application Development Platform and Stack project also added support for containers and Kubernetes.

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