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Akuity raises $20 million to simplify Kubernetes container management – ​​TechCrunch

Akuity, a provider of application delivery software for Kubernetes, today announced the closing of a $20 million Series A funding round led by Lead Edge Capital and Decibel Partners, bringing the total raised to Akuity at $25 million. Co-founder and CEO Hong Wang said the funding will allow Akuity to expand the size of its workforce while contributing to the open source community.

Applications are increasingly built using containers or “microservices” that come with all the necessary dependencies and configuration files. Kubernetes is open source software for deploying and managing these containers. While popular, container management with Kubernetes can become complex, especially as legacy software moves to the cloud amid pandemic-driven digital transformations. According to a recent survey (although commissioned by a Kubernetes tool vendor), more than a third of developers and architects admit that Kubernetes has become a major source of burnout.

Wang, Jesse Suen and Alexander Matyushentsev thought there had to be an easier way. The three were founding engineers at Applatix, a Kubernetes management engine acquired by Intuit in 2018. A year earlier, Applatix had open-sourced a project called Argo, a “container-native” workflow engine designed to streamline the process of specifying, planning and coordinating the execution of applications on Kubernetes. While working at Intuit after the Applatix acquisition, Wang, Suen, and Matyushentsev investigated ways to foster Argo, as project oversight was transferred to the Linux Foundation.

“Companies are well on their way to containerization. However, as these organizations migrate to Kubernetes, they quickly discover that their existing legacy tools are not suited to deliver native Kubernetes applications with its heavy-configuration design,” Suen told TechCrunch via email. “[W]Although Kubernetes is very powerful, it is extremely complex and offers a poor out-of-the-box development experience. For this reason, organizations are investing in platform and infrastructure teams, as well as developer experience teams, to standardize and ease their transition to Kubernetes. Building these teams is a challenge, exacerbated by the high demand and low supply of Kubernetes expertise. Additionally, many of these organizations re-implement the same patterns over and over again and would benefit from a codified set of best practices and standardized tools.

Suen and Wang position Argo, and by extension Akuity, as a complement to traditional continuous delivery (CD) solutions offered by vendors such as Armory, CloudBees, and (In software development, “continuous delivery” refers to the engineering approach in which teams build software in short cycles to ensure it can be released reliably at all times.) Argo allows developers to create a “pipeline” for building applications and to specify the pipeline. as code, so it can be built or upgraded using containers and run on other systems.

“Akuity was created to help enterprises modernize their Kubernetes tools, leveraging Argo, the leading open source suite of native Kubernetes application delivery software,” Wang told TechCrunch in an email interview. . “[With Akuity,] we aim to revolutionize the DevOps space and provide the most advanced toolset that enables developers to get the most out of Kubernetes.

To that end, Akuity is releasing a fully managed version of Argo called Akuity Platform. Currently in closed beta ahead of general availability later this year, Akuity Platform adds features to Argo such as deployment analytics and telemetry, application component health checks, as well as an audit trail. audit and a history of application events and API calls.

“The number one problem we’re solving for enterprises is making it easier for them to transition to Kubernetes,” Matyushentsev, who recently became chief architect at Akuity, told TechCrunch via email. “With [Akuity,] businesses can enable high deployment frequency for rapid delivery of new features and updates, reduce [the] turnaround time for changes and updates, …reduce mean recovery time to recover quickly, …minimize change failure rate (i.e. the proportion of failures coming from changes), [and] increase the stability and reliability of applications and services.

It’s the debut of Akuity, which has rivals in container-friendly CD tools like Flux CD and Jenkins X. But Wang pointed to the adoption of Argo as proof that Akuity has the right approach. Argo’s production usage grew 115% year over year, according to a 2021 survey by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the Linux Foundation overseeing Argo. And since its launch last October, Akuity has struck “several” deals with Fortune 1000 companies, Wang claims.

Whether that translates to strong momentum down the road remains to be seen, especially with no turnover to continue. Either way, it’s true that the tools and services built around Kubernetes represent a huge opportunity. A 2021 survey by Canonical found that 45.6% of organizations are now using Kubernetes in production. A separate report estimates that the market for Kubernetes solutions will reach $5.56 billion in 2028, from $1.71 billion in 2021.

“Adoption of our products has accelerated during the pandemic,” Wang added. “Based on our conversations with customers, many of them are taking advantage of Kubernetes adoption opportunities to refresh their developer tool stack. Argo is becoming the default choice because it is native to Kubernetes and has the most vibrant open source community in the CD space.

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