Showing posts with label Start-ups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Start-ups. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Verodin raises $21 million for cyber security instrumentation

Verodin, a start-up based in Tysons, Virginia, announced $21 million in Series B funding for its Security Instrumentation Platform (SIP), which continuously executes tests and analyzes the results to proactively alert on drift from a known-good security baseline The system validates and optimizes control configuration, and provide evidence demonstrating if the controls purchased and deployed are actually delivering the desired business outcomes.

The new funding was led by TenEleven Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP). Capital One Growth Ventures, Citi Ventures and all existing investors participated in the round.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Arrcus builds Network OS for white box data center infrastructure

Arrcus, a start-up based in San Jose, California, emerged from stealth to unveil its software-driven, hardware agnostic network operating system for white boxes.

Arrcus said it sees an opportunity to help enterprises transform the way they manage their networks, liberating them from vertically integrated proprietary solutions and opening the door to horizontally diversified choices of best-in-class silicon and hardware systems.

The company's new ArcOS networking operating system has been ported to both Broadcom’s StrataDNX Jericho+ and StrataXGS Trident 3 switching silicon platforms.

ArcOS is built on a modular micro-services paradigm and offers advanced Layer 3 routing capabilities. Key elements include a hyper-performance resilient control plane, an intelligent, programmable Dataplane Adaptation Layer (DPAL), a data-Model Driven Telemetry for Control Plane, Data Planes and Environmental, and a consistent YANG/OpenConfig APIs for easy programmatic access.  These capabilities in conjunction with Broadcom’s StrataDNX Jericho+ platform enable the support for the full BGP internet routing table.

Arrcus cites the following use cases:

  • Spine-Leaf Clos for Datacenter workloads
  • Internet Peering for CDN providers and ISPs
  • Resilient Routing to the Host
  • Massively Scalable Route-Reflector clusters in physical/container form-factors

Arrcus also announced $15 million in Series A funding from General Catalyst and Clear Ventures. Advisors include include Pankaj Patel, former EVP and CDO of Cisco; Amarjit Gill, serial entrepreneur who founded and sold companies to Apple, Broadcom, Cisco, EMC, Facebook, Google, and Intel; Farzad Nazem, former CTO of Yahoo; Randy Bush, Internet Hall of Fame, founder Verio (basis of NTT’s DataCenter Business); Fred Baker, former Cisco Fellow, IETF Chair and Co-Chair of the IPv6 Working Group; Nancy Lee, ex-VP of People at Google, and Shawn Zandi, Director, Network Engineering at LinkedIn.

“We use ‘network different’ as our fundamental approach to enable the freedom of choice through our product innovation and challenging the status quo.  Arrcus has assembled the world’s best networking technologists, is bringing new capabilities, and changing the business model to make it easier to design, deploy, and manage large scale networking solutions for our customers,” stated Arrcus co-founder and CEO Devesh Garg.

  • Arrcus is headed by Devesh Garg, who previously was president of EZchip (acquired by Tilera) and founding CEO of Tilera (acquired by EZchip). He also served at Bessemer Venture Partners and Broadcom. Other Arrcus co-founders include Keyur Patel, who was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco; and Derek Yeung, a former Principal Engineer at Cisco.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Oasis Labs plans cloud platform based on blockchain

Oasis Labs, a start-up based in Berkeley, California, is reported to have raised $45 million in a private token sale for its "privacy-first public cloud platform based on blockchain. The idea is to ensure that privacy is built into each layer of the stack, from the application all the way down to hardware.  The system promises codified and self-enforceable privacy protection without relying on any central party.

Oasis Labs is headed by Dr. Dawn Song (CEO) who is Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and a MacArthur Fellow.

https://www.oasislabs.com


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

AT&T takes equity stake in Magic Leap

AT&T has made an equity investment in Magic Leap. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Magic Leap is the high-profile start-up developing an enhanced reality computing and visualization platform. The company is based in Plantation, Florida with offices in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, the UK, New Zealand and Israel.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

AT&T to acquire AlienVault for cyber threat intelligence

AT&T agreed to acquire AlienVault, a privately held company based in San Mateo, California that specializes in enterprise-grade security solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.

AT&T said it intends to integrate AlienVault’s threat intelligence with its cybersecurity solutions portfolio.

“Regardless of size or industry, businesses today need cyber threat detection and response technologies and services,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Business. “The current threat landscape has shifted this from a luxury for some, to a requirement for all. AlienVault’s expertise in threat intelligence will improve our ability to help organizations detect and respond to cybersecurity attacks. Together, with our enterprise-grade detection, response and remediation capabilities, we’re providing scalable, intelligent, affordable security for business customers of all sizes.”

“We’re thrilled to join forces with AT&T. They bring a robust cybersecurity portfolio with an industry-leading technology ecosystem,” said Barmak Meftah, president and CEO, AlienVault. “This deal accelerates our ability to deliver on the AlienVault mission, which is to democratize threat detection and response to companies of all sizes.”



Saturday, June 30, 2018

Veridium raises $16.5 million for biometric authentication

Veridium, a start-up based in Quincy, Mass., announced $16.5 million in Series B funding for its biometric authentication solutions.

Veridium offers a software-only biometrics platform that enables users to replace passwords, tokens, OTPs or swipe cards with multiple biometrics from their smartphone. The solutions include native device sensors such as face and fingerprint, and Veridium’s 4 Fingers TouchlessID. The result is increased security, improved convenience and user experience; all while reducing fraud at a lower total cost of ownership than traditional multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions.

The investment round was led by UK entrepreneur and philanthropist, Michael Spencer, with participation from Citrix Systems, Inc. and financial services executive and investor Michael Powell.

“In today’s digital age, global organizations are challenged to secure their most critical assets against advanced threats in a way that’s both convenient and secure,” said Michael Spencer. “Veridium is unique in the industry because it provides organizations an enterprise-ready authentication solution to address those problems with the adoption of biometrics – while increasing security and convenience.”

https://www.veridiumID.com


  • In May, Veridium announced that it had been selected by a multinational Swiss bank to replace passwords, tokens and swipe cards, validating the need for stronger more user-friendly authentication processes.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Silver Peak adds $90 million in funding for SD-WAN

Silver Peak, which specializes in broadband and hybrid WAN solutions, announced a $90 million strategic investment from TCV.

"It’s rare that we see an opportunity to disrupt a massive, entrenched $100 billion technology category supporting mission-critical applications and communication,” said Tim McAdam, general partner at TCV. “After researching all the players in the multi-billion-dollar SD-WAN market and speaking with enterprise CIOs, it is clear that Silver Peak has the most complete solution, clear market differentiation and traction, and a unique vision for the future of the new WAN edge. We look forward to working with the team to rapidly grow the business."

"With more than $100 billion spent on the WAN every year by enterprises, much of it on technology that pre-dates the cloud, Silver Peak has an enormous opportunity as we deliver disruptive new WAN edge solutions for enterprises,” said Silver Peak Founder and CEO, David Hughes. “TCV has a proven track record for identifying high-growth markets and investing in those innovative companies with the right solution and the right team in place to achieve market leadership. Our partnership with TCV will help accelerate our growth trajectory, increase our competitive advantages and extend our market leadership. We are excited to work with the TCV team."

Silver Peak is based in Santa Clara, California.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Orange Fab launches Fab Connect(ai)

Orange Fab, which is an Orange Silicon Valley initiative for connecting startups to corporations for proof-of-concept projects, distribution, or investment opportunities, is kicking off an accelerator program called Fab Connect(ai) focused on artificial intelligence.

Fab Connect(ai) will run in partnership with a group of top-tier investors led by Cathay Innovation, Iris Capital, Michelin Ventures, Total Energy Ventures and Homebrew. It is being launched in collaboration with prominent partners, including Google Cloud’s Startup Program, NVIDIA’s Inception Program, Microsoft IoT & AI Insider Labs, LAB IX Flex Ventures, Publicis Groupe, Groupe Seb, Michelin, Valeo, Ping An Technology and Lumi.

Startups that participate in Fab Connect(ai) will have access to a network of seed-stage investors and corporations providing technical resources and real-world business challenges.

“Fab Connect(ai) is one of the first accelerator programs to align capital with global growth opportunities sustained by such a network of partners,” noted Georges Nahon, CEO of Orange Silicon Valley, the home of Orange Fab. “Our goal with Fab Connect(ai) is to identify the most promising startups in AI & IoT, a domain of growing importance for Orange and our Fab Force members.”

“Fab Connect(ai) is the only global initiative designed to empower AI with the benefits of smart connectivity, from a collaborative and global perspective, and with an extensive network of influential partners,” said Denis Barrier, co-founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation. “As a global venture capital fund deeply committed in the fourth industrial revolution, Cathay Innovation believes that this approach can be helpful for the rise of a Super AI able to foster the next wave of digital transformation.”

http://www.orangefab.com/connect

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Aviatrix offers cloud networking as a service for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud

Aviatrix, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, announced a hosted service to build and manage virtual private cloud (VPC) networks in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) public cloud environments.

The Aviatrix Hosted Service provides a centralized console for building and managing all secure connectivity. The company said its software-defined router goes well beyond what existing instance-based virtual routers offer. The solution consists of the Aviatrix Controller, now available via the Hosted Service, and Aviatrix Gateways, which are deployed in VPCs to support cloud networking use cases that include AWS global transit networks, remote user VPN and VPC egress security.

“Even using a public cloud vendor’s console—which makes it straightforward to build compute and storage in the public cloud—VPC networking has remained complex, especially as the number of VPCs grow from single digits to many hundreds across the globe,” said Steven Mih, CEO of Aviatrix. “The Aviatrix Hosted Service—the first cloud networking-as-a-service option—provides the easiest way to build out VPC networks in the public cloud. Using our hosted service, it takes less than 10 minutes, and requires no serious networking expertise, to deploy and securely connect a large number of VPCs. It’s your central console for all things networking.”

Key use cases include:

  • Next-gen global transit network. Create VPCs in seconds, scale and migrate workloads from on-premises sites, and manage growing numbers of VPCs with ease from a software-defined, centrally managed controller.
  • VPC egress security. Control VPC traffic outbound to the internet with powerful Layer 7 filtering that enables organizations to allow or deny access based on policies using high-availability, in-line gateways.
  • Remote user VPN. Provide secure remote access to VPCs and cloud services for developers, employees and partners—using the cloud-native Aviatrix solution, based on OpenVPN® technologies.
  • Multicloud peering. Simplify networking among AWS, Azure and GCP public cloud infrastructures. Use Aviatrix’s native, API-based approach to centrally manage connectivity and eliminate complexity for implementations spanning multiple cloud services.
  • Encrypted peering. Meet corporate and regulatory compliance requirements by encrypting data in motion. Use IPsec between any two VPCs to centrally manage secure peering across accounts and clouds.
  • Site-to-cloud VPN. Quickly create secure connections from on-premises data centers, sites or branch locations to cloud resources. Use existing on-prem hardware and internet infrastructure to minimize costs.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Cohesity pulls in $250 million for its hyperconverged secondary storage

Cohesity, a start-up based in San Jose, California, raised $250 million in an oversubscribed Series D funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund with strong participation from strategic investors Cisco Investments, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, along with early investor Sequoia Capital and others.

Cohesity specializes in hyperconverged secondary storage. Its hyperconverged appliance consolidates all secondary data and associated management functions on one unified solution, including backups, files, objects, test/dev copies, and analytics.

“My vision has always been to provide enterprises with cloud-like simplicity for their many fragmented applications and data – backup, test and development, analytics, and more,” said Cohesity CEO and Founder Mohit Aron. “Cohesity has built significant momentum and market share during the last 12 months and we are just getting started. We succeed because our customers are some of the world’s brightest and most fanatical IT organizations and are an extension of our development efforts.”

Cohesity said its annual revenues surged 600% from 2016 to 2017. In the last two quarters, over 200 new enterprise customers selected Cohesity, including Air Bud Entertainment, AutoNation, BC Oil and Gas Commission, Bungie, Harris Teeter, Hyatt, Kelly Services, LendingClub, Piedmont Healthcare, Schneider Electric, the San Francisco Giants, TCF Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Air Force, and WestLotto.

The latest $250 million round brings total funding in Cohesity to $410 million.

“We backed Mohit at his previous firm, Nutanix, and are proud to support him again at Cohesity. The company has a smart and timely vision for radically simplifying secondary data for large customers, which is part of a broader move by enterprises toward hybrid-cloud infrastructure. We believe Cohesity is armed with the right team and product to attack this large and growing market,” said Neeraj Agrawal, general partner, Battery Ventures.

Foundry.ai raises $67 million for enterprise AI

Foundry.ai, a start-up based in Washington, D.C., announced $67 million in funding for its artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions for large enterprises
.
Foundry has launched four businesses to date:

  • Vizual.ai, which provides image optimization to web publishers and e-commerce businesses;
  • Supplier.ai, which allows enterprises to improve procurement economics through improved vendor selection, pricing and risk management;
  • HUD.ai, which empowers go-to-market professionals selling large enterprise solutions to improve the quality and quantity of personalized, high-impact outreach; and
  • Curia.ai, which provides advanced decision optimization tools to healthcare provider networks.

"In every global 2000 C-suite and boardroom, someone is asking the question, 'How will AI impact our business?'," said Ned Brody, co-founder of Foundry.ai. "Foundry's new funding will allow us to build a significantly greater number of Practical AI businesses, creating AI solutions that focus on replicable, every-day decision improvements that drive immediate profitability increases."

https://www.foundry.ai/

  • Foundry.ai was founded by Jim Manzi, who previously was founder and CEO of Applied Predictive Technologies.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Paul Jacobs sets up a new company to pursue next-gen mobile

Paul Jacobs, the former CEO and executive chairman of Qualcomm, has founded a new company called XCOM to focus on next-generation mobile technologies.

Jacobs is joined in the effort by Derek Aberle, previously president of Qualcomm from March 2014 to January 2018, and Matt Grob, previously CTO of Qualcomm from 2011 to 2017.

https://xcom-tech.com

Avi pulls in $60 million including an investment from Cisco

Avi Networks, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, announced $60 million in new funding including investments from Cisco Investments along with DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Menlo Ventures.

Cisco resells the Avi Vantage Platform in markets around the world, and Avi closely integrates with Cisco ACI, Cisco’s intent-based networking and automation solution for the data center.

Avi Networks offers an application delivery controller (ADC) with a Software Load Balancer, an Intelligent Web Application Firewall, and an Elastic Service Mesh for container-based applications. The company says that as businesses shift their operations to clouds such as Azure and AWS, its intent-based software offers easier management, faster performance, greater elasticity, deeper analytics, and more powerful automation than legacy ADC vendors.

Avi also reports that it has tripled its bookings over the past year, with significant adoption by the Global 2000 and 20% of the Fortune 50.

This latest round brings Avi’s total funding to $115 million.

“Modern applications are driving a new urgency with which enterprises are automating their networks and application delivery systems,” said Amit Pandey, CEO of Avi Networks. “Cisco software and infrastructure are a cornerstone in this transformation. I am thrilled about this strategic investment from Cisco and our continued joint efforts to deliver the elasticity, intelligence, and multi-cloud capabilities that enterprises need.”


  • Avi Networks is headed by Amit Pandey, who joined the company as CEO in 2015. Previously, Pandey spent nearly a decade at NetApp in a wide range of executive positions, and followed that with two successful stints at startups - first as CEO of TerraCotta that was acquired by the European software giant, Software AG and next as CEO of Zenprise that was acquired by Citrix.
  • Avi Networks was co-founded in November 2012 by Umesh Mahajan, who previously was VP/GM of Data Center Switching at Cisco; Murali Basavaiah, who previously was VP Engineering at Cisco for NX-OS Software and Nexus 7000/MDS product; and Ranga Rajagopalan, who previously was Sr. Director of Engineering at Cisco and responsible for NX-OS systems/platform software for the Cisco Nexus 7000.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Start-up profile: Rancher Labs, building container orchestration on Kubernetes

Rancher Labs is a start-up based in Cupertino, California that offers a container management platform that has racked up over four million downloads. The company recently released a major update for its container management system. Recently, I sat down with company co-founders Sheng Liang (CEO) and Shannon Williams (VP of Sales) to talk about Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration system that was originally developed by Google. Kubernetes was initially released in 2014, about the time that Rancher Labs was getting underway.

Jim Carroll, OND: So where does Kubernetes stand today?

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: Kubernetes has come a long way. When we started three years ago, Kubernetes was also just getting started. It had a lot of promise, but people were talking about orchestration wars and stuff. Kubernetes had not yet won but more importantly, it wasn't really useful.  In the early days, we couldn't even bring ourselves to say that we were going to focus exclusively on Kubernetes. It was not that we did not believe in Kubernetes, but it just didn't work for a lot of users. Kubernetes was almost seen as an end unto itself. Even standing up Kubernetes was such a challenge back then that just getting it to run became an end goal.  A lot of people in those days were experimenting with it, and the goal was simply to prove - hey- you've got a Kubernetes cluster.  Success was to get a few simple apps.  And its come a long way in 3 years.


A lot of things have changed. First, Kubernetes is now really established as the de facto container orchestration platform. We used to support Mesosphere, we used to support Swarm, and we used to build our own container orchestrations platform, which we called Cattle. We stopped doing all of that to focus entirely on Kubernetes. Luckily, the way we developed Cattle was closely modeled on Kubernetes, sort of an easy-to-use version of Kubernetes. So we were able to bring a lot our experience to run on top of Kubernetes. And now it turns out that we don't have to support all of those other frameworks. Kubernetes has settled that. It is now a common tool that everyone can use.

JC: The Big Three cloud companies are now fully behind Kubernetes, right?

Sheng Liang: Right. I think that for the longest time a lot of vendors were looking for opportunities to install and run Kubernetes. That kept us alive for a while. Some of the early Kubernetes deals that we closed were about installing Kubernetes.  These projects then turned to operation contracts because people thought they were going to need to help with upgrading or just maintaining the health of the cluster. This got blown out of the water last year when all of the big cloud providers started to offer Kubernetes as a service.

If you are on the cloud already, there is really no reason to stand up your own Kubernetes cluster.

Well, we're really not quite there yet, even though Amazon announced EKS in November, it is not even GA yet. It is still in closed beta status, but later this year Kubernetes as a service should become a commercial reality. And there are other benefits too.

I'm not sure about Amazon, but both Google and Microsoft  have decided to not charge for the management plane, so whatever resource you use to run the database, and the control plane nodes, you don't really pay for, I guess they must have a very efficient way of running it on some shared infrastructure. That's what I suspect. This allows them to amortize that cost on what they charge for the worker nodes.

The way people set up Kubernetes clusters in the early days was actually very wasteful. Like you would use three nodes for ECD and you would use two nodes for the control plane and then when setting it up people would throw in two more nodes for workers. So, they were using five nodes to manage two nodes, while paying for seven.

With cloud services, you don't have to do that. I think this makes Kubernetes table stakes. It is not just limited to the cloud.  I think it's really wherever you can get infrastructure. Enterprise customers, for instance, are still getting infrastructure from VMware. Or they get it from Nutanix.

All of the cloud companies have announced, or will shortly announce, support for Kubernetes out of the box. Kubernetes then will equate to infrastructure, just like virtual machines, or virtual SANS.

JC: So, how is Kubernetes actually being used now? Is it a one-way bridge or a two-way bridge for moving workloads? Are people actually moving workloads on a consistent basis, or it basically a one-time move to a new server or cloud?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Portability is actually less important than other features. It may be the sexy part of Kubernetes to say that you can move clusters of containers. The reality is that Kubernetes is just a really good way to run containers reliably.

The vast majority of people who are running containers are not using Kubernetes for the purpose of moving containers between clouds.  The vast majority of people running Kubernetes are doing so because it is more reliable than running containers directly on VMs. It is easier to use Kubernetes from an operational perspective. It is easier from a development perspective. It is easier from a testing perspective. So if you think of the value prop that Kubernetes represents, it comes down to faster development cycles, better operations. The portability is kind of the cherry on top of the Sundae.

It is interesting that people are excited about the portability enabled by Kubernetes, and I think it will become really important over the long term, but it is just as important that I can run it on my laptop as that I can run it on one Kubernetes cluster versus another.

Sheng Liang: I think that is a very important point. The vast major of the accounts we are familiar with run Kubernetes at just one place. That really tells you something about the power of Kubernetes. The fact that people are using this at just one place really tells you that portability is not the primary motivator.  The primary benefit is that Kubernetes is really a rock-solid way to run containers.

JC: What is the reason that Kubernetes is not being used so much for portability today? Is the use case weak for container transport? I would guess that a lot of companies would want to move jobs up to the cloud and back again.

Sheng Liang:  I just don't think that portability is the No.1 requirement for companies using containers today. Procurement teams are excited about this capability but operations people just don't need it right now.

Shannon Williams: From the procurement side, knowing that your containers could be moved to another cloud gives you the assurance that you won't be locked in.

But portability in itself is a complex problem. Even Kubernetes does not solve all the issues of porting an application from one system to another. For instance, I may be running Kubernetes on AWS but I may also be running an Amazon Relational Database (RDS) service as well.  Kubernetes is not going to magically support both of these in migrating to another cloud. There is going to be work required. I think we are still a ways away from ubiquitous computing but we are heading into a world where Kubernetes is how you run containers and containers are going to be the way that all microservices and next-gen applications are built. It may even be how I run my legacy applications. So, having Kubernetes everywhere means that the engineers can quickly understand all of these different infrastructure platforms without having to go through a heavy learning curve. With Kubernetes they will have already learned how to run containers reliably wherever it happens to be running.

JC: So how are people using Kubernetes? Where are the big use cases?

Shannon Williams: I think with Kubernetes we are seeing the same adoption pattern as with Amazon. The initial consumers of Kubernetes were people who were building early containerized applications, predominantly microservices, cloud-native Web apps, mobile apps, gaming, etc. One of the first good use cases was Pokemon Go. It needed massively-scalable systems and ran on Google Cloud. It needed to have systems that could handle rapid upgrades and changes. The adoption of Kubernetes moved from there to more traditional Web applications, to the more traditional applications.

Every business is trying to adopt an innovative stance with their IT department.  We have a bunch of insurance companies as customers. We have media companies as customers. We have many government agencies as customers, such as the USDA -- they run containers to be able to deliver websites. They have lots of constituencies that they need to build durable web services for.  These have to run consistently. Kubernetes and containers give them a lot of HA (high availability).

A year or so ago we were in Phase 0 with this movement. Now I would say we are entering Phase 1 with many new use cases. Any organization that is forward-looking in their IT strategy is probably adopting containers and Kubernetes. This is the best architecture for building applications.

JC: Is there physical limit to how far you can scale with Kubernetes?

Shannon Williams:  It is pretty darn big. You're talking about spanning maybe 5,000 servers.

Sheng Liang: I don't think there is a theoretical limit to how big you can go, but in practice, there is a database that eventually will bottleneck. The might be the limiting factor.

 I think some deployments have hit 5,000 nodes and each node these days could actually be a one terabyte machine. So that is actually a lot of resources. I think it could be made bigger, but so far that seems to be enough.

Shannon Williams: The pressure to hit that maximum size of 5,000 nodes or more in a cluster really is not applicable to the vast majority of the market.

Sheng Liang: And you could always manage multiple clusters with load balancing. It is probably not a good practice anyway to put everything in one superbig cluster.

Generally, we are not seeing people create huge clusters across multiple data centers or multiple regions.

Shannon Williams: In fact, I would say that we are seeing the trend move in the opposite direction.  Which is that the number of clusters in an organization is increasing faster than the size of any one cluster. What we see is any application that is running probably has at least two clusters available  -- one for testing and one for production.  There are often many divisions inside a company that push this requirement forward. For instance, a large media company has more than 150 Kubernetes clusters -- all deployed by different employees in different regions and often running different versions of their software. The even have multiple cloud providers. I think we are heading in that direction, rather than one massive Kubernetes cluster to rule them all.

Sheng Liang:  This is not what some of the web companies initially envisioned for Kubernetes.  When Google originally developed Kubernetes, they were used to the model where you have a very big pool of resources with bare metal servers. Their challenge was how to schedule all the workloads inside of that pool. When enterprises started adopting Kubernetes, one thing that immediately changed was that they really don't have the operational maturity to put all their eggs in one basket and make that really resilient. Second, because all of them were using some form of virtualization. They were either using VMware or they were using a cloud, so essentially the cost of making small clusters come down. There is not a lot of overhead. You can have a lot of clusters without having to dedicate the whole server into these clusters.

JC: Is there an opportunity then for the infrastructure provider, or the cloud provider, to add their own special sauce on top of Kubernetes?

Sheng Liang:  The cloud guys are all starting to do that. Over time, I think they will do more. Today is still early. Amazon, for instance, has not yet commercially launched the service to the public. And Digital Ocean just announced it. But Google has been offering Kubernetes as a service for three years. Microsoft has been doing it for probably over a year. If you look at Google's Kubernetes service, which is probably the most advanced, now includes more management dashboards and UIs, but nothing really fancy yet.

What I would expect them to do -- and this would be really great from my perspective -- is to bring their entire service suite, including their databases, AI and ML capabilities, and make them available inside of Kubernetes.

Shannon Williams: Yeah, they will want to integrate their entire cloud ecosystems. That's one of the appealing things about cloud providers offering Kubernetes -- there will be some level of standardization but they will have the opportunity to differentiate for local requirements and flavors.

That kind of leads to the challenge we are addressing.

There are three big things that most organizations face (1) you want to be able to run Kubernetes on-prem.  Some teams may run it on VMware, some may wish to run in on bare metal. They would like to be able to run it on-prem in a way that is reliable, consistent and supported. For IT groups, there is a growing requirement of offer Kubernetes as a service in the same way they offer VMs. To do so, they must standardize Kubernetes. (2) There is another desire to manage all of these clusters in a way that complies with your organization's policies. There will be questions like "how do I manage multiple clusters in a centralized way even if some are on-prem and some are in the cloud?"  This is a distro-level problem for Kubernetes. (3) Then there is a compliance and security concern with how to configure Kubernetes to enforce all of my access control policies, security policies, monitoring policies, etc.  Those are the challenges that we are taking on with Rancher 2.0

Jim Carroll, OND: Where does Rancher Labs fit in?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: The challenge we are taking on is how to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters, including how to manage users and policies across multiple clusters in an organization.

Kubernetes is now available as a supported, enterprise-grade service for anybody in your company. At this scale, Kubernetes really becomes appealing to organizations as a standardization approach, not just so that workloads can easily move between places but so that workloads can be deployed to lots of places.  For instance, I might want some workloads to run on Alibaba Cloud for a project we are doing in China, or I might want to run some workloads on T-Systems's cloud for a project in Germany, where I have to comply with the new data privacy laws. I can now do those things with Kubernetes without having to understand the specific cloud parameters, benefits or limitations of any specific cloud. Kubernetes normalizes this experience. Rancher Labs makes it happen in a consistent way. That is a large part of what we are working on at Rancher Labs -- consistent distribution and consistent management of any cluster. We will manage the lifecycle of Amazon Kubernetes or Google Kubernetes, our Kubernetes, or new Kubernetes coming out of a dev lab.

JC: So the goal is to have the Rancher Labs experience running both on-prem and in the public cloud?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:: Exactly. So think about it like this. We have a distro of Kubernetes and we can use it to implement Kubernetes for you on bare metal, or on VMware, or in the cloud, if you prefer, so you can build exactly the version of Kubernetes that suits you. That is the first piece of value -- we'll give you Kubernetes wherever you need it. The second piece is that we will manage all of the Kubernetes clusters for you, including where you requested Kubernetes from Amazon or Google. You have the options of consuming from the cloud as you wish or staying on-prem. There is one other piece that we are working on. It is one thing to provide this normalized service. The additional layer is about engaging users.

What you are seeing with Kubernetes is similar to the cloud. Early adopters move in quickly and have no hesitancy in consuming it -- but.they represent maybe 1% or 2% of the users.The challenge for the IT department is to make this preferred way to deliver resources. At this point, you want to encourage adoption and that means developing a positive experience.

JC: Is your goal to have all app developers aware of the Kubernetes layer? Or is Kubernetes management really the responsibility of the IT managers who thus far are also responsible for running the network, running the storage, running the firewalls..?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Great question, because Kubernetes is actually part of the infrastructure, but it is also part of the application resiliency layer. It deals with how an application handles a physical infrastructure failure, for example. Do I spin up another container? Do I wait to let a user decide what to do? How do I connect these parts of an application and how do I manage the secrets that are deployed around it? How do I perform system monitoring and alerting of application status? Kubernetes is blurring the line.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: It is not really something the coders will be interested in. The interest in Kubernetes starts with DevOps and stops just before you get to storage and networking infrastructure management.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Kubernetes is becoming of interest to system architects -- the people who are designing how an application is going to be delivered. They are very aware that the app is going to be containerized and running in the cloud. The cloud-native architecture is pulling in developers. So I think it is a little more blurred than whether or not coders get to this level.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: For instance, the Netflix guys used to talk a lot about how they developed applications. Most developers don't spend a lot of time worrying about how their applications are running. They have to spend most of their time worrying about the outcome. But they are highly aware of the architecture. Kubernetes is well regarded as the best way to develop such applications. Scalable, Resilient, Secure -- those are what's driving the acceptance of Kubernetes.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:  I would add one more to the list -- quick to improve. There is a continuous pace of improvement with Kubernetes. I saw a great quote about containerization from a CIO, who said "I don't care about Docker or any other containers or Kubernetes. All I care about is continuous delivery. I care that we can improve our application continuously and it so happens that containers give us the best way to do that." The point is -- get more applications to your users in a safe, secure, and scalable process.

The Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to build next-generation systems that are more reliable, more secure, more scalable and Kubernetes is a big part of this effort.  That's why I've said the value of workload portability is often exaggerated.

Jim Carroll, OND:  Tell me about the Rancher Labs value proposition.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Our value proposition is centered on the idea that Kubernetes will become the common platform for cloud-native architecture. It is going to be really important for organizations to deliver that as a service reliably. It going to be really important for them to understand how to secure that and how to enforce company policies. Mostly, it will enable people to run their applications in a standardized way. That's our focus.

As an open source software company that means we build the tooling that thousands of companies are going to use to adopt Kubernetes. Rancher has 10,000 organizations using our platform today with our version 1.0 product. I expect our version 2.0 product to be even more popular because it is built around this exploding market for Kubernetes.

JC:  What is the customer profile? When does it make sense to go from Kubernetes to Kubernetes plus Rancher?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Anywhere where Kubernetes and containers are being adopted, really.  Our customers talk about the D-K-R stack:  Docker- Kubernetes-Rancher.

JC: Is there a particular threshold or requirement that drives the need for Rancher?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:: Rancher is often something that users discover early in their exploration of Docker or Kubernetes.  Once they have a cluster deployed, they start to wonder how they are going to manage it on an on-going basis. This often occurs right at the beginning of a container deployment program - day 1, day 2 or day 3.

Like any other open source software companies, users can download our software for free. The point when a Rancher user becomes a Rancher customer usually happens when the deployment has moved to a mission-critical level.  When their business actually runs on the Kubernetes cluster, that's when we are asked to step in to provide support. We end up establishing a business relationship to support them with everything we build.

JC: And how does the business model work in a world of open source, container management? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Customers purchase support subscriptions on an annual basis.

JC: Are you charging based on the number of clusters or nodes? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Yes, based on the number or clusters and hosts. A team that is running their critical business systems on Kubernetes will get a lot of benefits in knowing that everything from the lowest level up, including the container runtime, the Kubernetes engine, the management platform, logging, monitoring  -- we provide that unified support.

JC: Does support mean that you actually run the clusters on behalf of the clients? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Well, no, they're running it on their systems or in the cloud. Like other open source software developers, we can provide incident response for issues like "why is this running differently in Amazon than on-prem?" We also provide training for their teams and collaboration on the technology evolution.

JC: What about the company itself. What are the big milestones for Rancher Labs?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: We're growing really fast and now have about 85 employees around the world. We have offices around the world, including in Australia, Japan, the UK and are expanding. We have about 170 customer accounts worldwide. We have over 10,000 organizations using the product and over 4 million downloads to date.  The big goals are rolling out Version 2.0, which is now in commercial release, and driving adoption of Kubernetes across the board. We're hoping to get lots of feedback as version 2.0 gets rolled out. So much of the opportunity now concerns the workload management layer.  How do we make it easier for customers to deploy containerized applications? How can we smoothe the rollout of containerized databases in a Kubernetes world? How do we solve the storage portability challenge? There are enormous opportunities to innovate in these areas. It is really exciting.

JC: What is needed to scale your company to the next level?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Right now we are in a good spot. We benefit from the magic of open source. We were able to grow this fast just on our Series B funding round because thousands of people downloaded our software and loved it. This has given us inroads with companies that often are the biggest in their industries. Lot's of the Fortune 500 are now using Rancher to run critical business functions for their teams. We get to work with the most innovative parts of most organizations.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: There is a lot of excitement. We just have to make sure that we keep our quality high and that we make our customers successful. I feel the market is still in its early days. There is a lot more work to make Kubernetes really the next big thing.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: We're still a tiny minority inside of IT. It will be a ten-year journey but the pieces are coming together.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lumina raises $10 million for its OpenDaylight-powered SDN controller

Lumina Networks, a start-up based offering an SDN controller powered by OpenDaylight, announced $10 million Series A financing, including $8 million in new funding led by Verizon Ventures. Other new investors included AT&T and Rahi Systems.

Lumina was formed in August 2017 as a spin-off from Brocade.

"This investment by both Verizon and AT&T demonstrates the strategic importance of open source networking to the automation and digitization of their networks,” said Andrew Coward, Founder and CEO of Lumina Networks. “We understand the value of our mission to take open source networking out of the labs of our customers and into production deployment. This funding will enable us to reach a wider customer base and realize the industry vision of easily deployable open source software-defined networking (SDN)."


“SDN has emerged as a key architectural model in delivering the promised goals of next generation wireless networks such as 5G by enabling high speeds and low latency at lower cost points,” said Alexander Khalin, Director at Verizon Ventures. “Open source is instrumental to Verizon’s digital transformation, and the team at Lumina Networks has built world-class, carrier grade products and solutions in this space and truly understands how to effectively work with network operators on their transformational journey.  We look forward to their continued success in this field."


“SDN is at the heart of our network transformation, and we’ve committed to virtualizing and software-controlling 75% of our core network functions by 2020,” said Chris Rice, Senior Vice President, AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design.  “Lumina’s leadership and work in OpenDaylight is important to creating a scalable software-defined network. Their open source business model is what our industry is moving to. Much of our future network will be powered by open source software, such as our white box initiative, and we’re excited to help drive innovation and collaboration in this space.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Platform.sh raises $34M for enterprise cloud

Platform.sh, a start-up based in Paris with offices in San Francisco, raised $34 million in a Series C funding for its "idea-to-cloud" application platform.

Platform.sh simplifies deployments for enterprises by combining an automated cloud with its unique rapid cloning technology that can instantly spin up and deploy exact clones of entire live web applications in less than 60 seconds, allowing development teams to ensure that new features do not break when in production. Its product can be used to develop, test, deploy and run their cloud-based web applications with speed and confidence. The company claims more than 650 enterprise customers across the globe are currently using its platform and says sales have grown 110 percent this year.

The funding round was U.S.-based Partech and included Idinvest Partners, Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), SNCF Digital Ventures and returning investor, Hi Inov.

“The customer traction and organic growth we’ve seen over the past 12 months – especially in North America – made it clear that we are ready to scale on a global level,” said Frederic Plais, CEO of Platform.sh. “The productivity gains that our platform delivers are beyond anything offered by managed hosting solutions, or DIY approaches with cloud infrastructures. The recent years have seen an explosion of incredibly strong tools that help implement novel cloud architectures, but the mainline approach is patchwork and piecemeal. Platform.sh proposes a unified model that transcends categories, not only solving difficult cluster orchestration and continuous delivery problems, but also improving testing and quality assurance of applications.”

https://platform.sh

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Oracle to acquire DataScience for centralized model development

Oracle agreed to acquire DataScience.com, whose platform centralizes data science tools, projects and infrastructure in a fully-governed workspace. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DataScience, which is based in Culver City, California, helps enterprises to organize work, easily access data and computing resources, and execute end-to-end model development workflows.

Oracle said it will use DataScience to provide customers with a single data science platform that leverages Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the breadth of Oracle's integrated SaaS and PaaS offerings to help them realize the full potential of machine learning.

“Every organization is now exploring data science and machine learning as a key way to proactively develop competitive advantage, but the lack of comprehensive tooling and integrated machine learning capabilities can cause these projects to fall short,” said Amit Zavery, Executive Vice President of Oracle Cloud Platform, Oracle. “With the combination of Oracle and DataScience.com, customers will be able to harness a single data science platform to more effectively leverage machine learning and big data for predictive analysis and improved business results.”

“Data science requires a comprehensive platform to simplify operations and deliver value at scale,” said Ian Swanson, CEO of DataScience.com. “With DataScience.com, customers leverage a robust, easy-to-use platform that removes barriers to deploying valuable machine learning models in production. We are extremely enthusiastic about joining forces with Oracle’s leading cloud platform so customers can realize the benefits of their investments in data science.”

The founders of DataScience include Ian Swanson (previously founder and CEO of Sometrics, a virtual currency monetization platform acquired by American Express); Colin Schmidt (previously served vice president of engineering at online student loan management service Tuition.io, and as engineering lead at Sometrics); and Jonathan Beckhardt (previously led product management and analytics at Tuition.io and developed big data strategy at American Express).

Investors in Datascience included TenOneTen, Greycroft, Crosscut Ventures, and Pelion Venture Partners.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Google Cloud acquires Cask for big data ingestion on-ramp

Google Cloud will acquire Cask Data Inc., a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, that offers a big data platform for enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The open source Cask Data Application Platform (CDAP) provides a data ingestion service that simplifies and automates the task of building, running, and managing data pipelines. Cask says it cuts down the time to production for data applications and data lakes by 80%. The idea is to provide a standardization and simplification layer that allows data portability across diverse environments, usability across diverse groups of users, and the security and governance needed in the enterprise.

Google said it plans to continue to develop and release new versions of the open source Cask Data Application Platform (CDAP).
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“We’re thrilled to welcome the talented Cask team to Google Cloud, and are excited to work together to help make developers more productive with our data processing services both in the cloud and on-premise. We are committed to open source, and look forward to driving the CDAP project’s growth within the broader developer community,” stated William Vambenepe, Group Product Manager, Google Cloud

Over the past 6+ years, we have invested heavily in the open source CDAP available today and have deployed our technology with some of the largest enterprises in the world. We accomplished great things as a team, had tons of fun and learned so much over the years. We are extremely proud of what we’ve achieved with CDAP to date, and couldn’t be more excited about its future.

Cask was founded by Jonathan Gray and Nitin Motgi.


Tachyum announces its Universal Processor Platform

Tachyum, a start-up based in San Jose, California with offices in Slovakia, unveiled its new processor family – codenamed “Prodigy” – that combines the advantages of CPUs with GP-GPUs, and specialized AI chips in a single universal processor platform. The company says its processor architecture attains ten times the processing power per watt compared to conventional designs.

A key innovation of the design is the ability to connect very fast transistor with very slow wires, but technical details on the device physics have not yet been disclosed.

The universal processor promises programming ease comparable to a CPU with performance and efficiency comparable to GP-GPU. It is designed to handle hyperscale workloads, AI, HPC, and other demanding applications

Tachyum claims its Prodigy universal processor will enable a super-computational system for real-time full capacity human brain neural network simulation by 2020. One target application would be the real-time Human Brain Project, where there’s a need for more than 1019 Flops (10,000,000,000,000,000,000 floating-point operations per second - 10 exaflop).

“Rather than build separate infrastructures for AI, HPC and conventional compute, the Prodigy chip will deliver all within one unified simplified environment, so for example AI or HPC algorithms can run while a machine is otherwise idle or underutilized,” said Tachyum CEO Dr. Radoslav ‘Rado’ Danilak. “Instead of supercomputers with a price tag in the hundreds of millions, Tachyum will make it possible to empower hyperscale datacenters to produce more work in a radically more efficient and powerful format, at a lower cost.”

“Despite efficiency gains from virtualization, cloud computing, and parallelism, there are still critical problems with datacenter resource utilization particularly at a size and scale of hundreds of thousands of servers,” said Christos Kozyrakis, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford, who leads the university’s Multiscale Architecture & Systems Team (MAST), a research group for cloud computing, energy-efficient hardware, and operating systems. “Tachyum’s breakthrough processor architecture will deliver unprecedented performance and productivity.” Kozyrakis is a corporate advisor to Tachyum.

http://tachyum.com


  • Tachyum is headed by Dr. Radoslav ‘Rado’ Danilak, who previously was founder and CEO of Skyera, a supplier of ultra-dense solid-state storage systems, acquired by WD in 2014. He also was cofounder and CTO of SandForce, which was acquired by LSI in 2011 for $377M. Its cofounders include Rodney Mullendore (previously Sandforce, Nishan Systems, Sandia National Labs); Igor Shevlyakov (previously Skyera); Ken Wagner (previously Wave Computing, Silicon Analystics and Theseus Logic).
  • Tachyum is funded by IPM Growth, the venture capital division of InfraPartners Management LLP.

Vesper raises $23M for its MEMS piezoelectric microphones

Vesper, a start-up based in Boston, announced $23 million in Series B funding for its MEMS-based piezoelectric sensors.

Vesper said its MEMS microphones represent a radical shift from capacitive MEMS microphones. Its piezoelectric design is suited for far-field applications such as microphone arrays used in voice-interface devices. The design is waterproof, dustproof, particle-resistant and shockproof.

"Our vision is for Alexa to be everywhere, and that means devices need to be built with durable, high-quality components that stand up to the demands of many different environments, especially on-the-go scenarios that require better power efficiency," said Paul Bernard, director of the Amazon Alexa Fund. "Vesper has become further embedded in the Alexa community through its integrations with various development kits and integrated solutions for Amazon AVS, and this follow-on investment is a testament to their continued momentum."

The funding round was led by American Family Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on seed to growth stage rounds. Vesper also received investments from Accomplice, Amazon Alexa Fund, Baidu, Bose Ventures, Hyperplane, Sands Capital, Shure, Synaptics, ZZ Capital and other undisclosed investors. The round brings Vesper's total funding to date to $40 million.

http://www.vespermems.com

See also