Sunday, March 6, 2016

Docker Acquires San Francisco-Based Conductant

Docker on Thursday announced that it has acquired Conductant, a San Francisco-based early-stage startup founded by people with experience building software to automate the process of deploying code at scale. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Docker acquired the company to expand its capabilities and to gain more deep technical knowledge, which will allow the company to address deep problems and issues in the developer stack. 

Image credit: SiliconAngle
The Conductant team has developed an orchestration engine that could be used to scale Docker containers, this aligned with what Docker currently doing internally.

Bill Farner is Conductant’s CEO and cofounder. Farner has worked at Twitter and Google, and has earned the distinction of beuing the creator of the open source project Apache Aurora, a scheduler that can deploy workloads in association with the Apache Mesos software. Mesos has gained some adoption, as have Docker’s technologies, but there’s one company in the market today that has been known to have strong focus on Mesos, and this company is Mesosphere, a well-known Docker competitor. 

Like Docker and Google,’s Kubernetes, Mesos is also seen as modern technologies for developing and deploying software more quickly and effectively that can be done with more traditional virtual machines.  

Docker sees potential in integrating the Aurora technology into the Docker software. Solomon Hykes, Docker CTO and founder, explains in a blog post:

One very exciting possibility is to integrate Aurora with Docker Swarm to form a powerful large-scale web operations stack. Swarm’s goal is to provide robust, standardized primitives for deploying any distributed application, on any infrastructure, at any scale. This makes it an ideal standard base layer to scale all kinds of applications, from databases to stateless web workers, scientific computing or big data pipelines. In contrast, Aurora is optimized for the specific needs of large-scale consumer apps reaching hundreds of millions of users, and developed with a bleeding edge architecture and methodology. We believe that in many use cases, a stack combining Docker Swarm and Aurora could democratize the battle-tested Twitter operations model. Of course, not every application is a good fit for Aurora, and it will remain completely optional for Docker users – and vice-versa. By making two of the most popular open-source infrastructure projects interoperate better, we believe both communities will benefit.”

Not much is known about the San Francisco-based Conductant team, which has just launched last year. This is deal is more about acquire-hire, where Docker gets world-class engineers who have lots of experience at places like Google and Twitter. 

The Conductant team comprising of Bill Farner (CEO and founder), David Chung (Formerly of Zynga and Google, and John Sirois (formerly of VMware, Google and Twitter), will join Docker’s infrastructure group and bring unprecedented experience in massively scaling containers clusters to Docker.

Before it acquired Conductant team, Docker has raised a $95 million funding round last year at a reported billion-dollar valuation. Previous acquisitions include Tutum, Kitematic, Koality, Orchard, SocketPlane, and unikernel technology specialist Unikernel Systems

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Docker, Inc. is the company behind the widely popular Docker open source platform, an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship and run distributed applications. Docker’s technology has been downloaded more than 1.8 billion times, and it’s been  used by millions of developers across thousands of the world’s most innovative organizations, including eBay, Baidu, the BBC,Goldman Sachs, Groupon, ING, Yelp, and Spotify. 

Docker is backed by AME Cloud Ventures, Benchmark, Coatue, Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Northern Trust, Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, Trinity Ventures and Y Combinator.

Currently, Docker is still exploring options for how best to leverage the capabilities of the Conductant engineers and technology. One possible option is just to integrate Aurora into its own orchestration engine, Docker Swarm. Another is to take ideas from the Conductant team and develop those anew as features in its Docker Swarm.

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