The tribe at Armory announced the company‘s $28m series B funding, led by Insight Partners. Armory enables continuous software delivery at enterprise scale, powered by Spinnaker.
That is a crisp mission statement, but beyond that Armory is bringing the open source Spinnaker to the enterprise market. As such, they are also helping the entire Spinnaker community and as part of this the entire CD market. They are members of the CD Foundation and part of the Linux Foundation as well.
In this DevOps Chat, I had a chance to catch up with Armory’s founder/CEO, DROdio and VP of marketing, Carl Landers to talk about Spinnaker, CD and the state of software delivery.
BTW, if you are interested in learning more about Spinnaker and will be in San Diego for CloudNative.com/KubeCon, the Spinnaker Summit is the weekend before. The Armory folks have been nice enough to arrange a 20% discount if you would like to go:
www.eventbrite.com/e/spinnaker-sum…=ARMORYAUGUST20. The code for discount is ARMORYAUGUST20.
Also, you can join the Spinnaker Slack channel at: join.Spinnaker.io
As usual, the streaming audio is immediately below, followed by the transcript of our conversation.
Alan Shimel: Hey, everyone, it’s Alan Shimel, DevOps.com, and you’re listening to another DevOps Chat. We’ve got some exciting funding news on today’s DevOps Chat. A company I’ve been familiar with now for a few months, Armory, Armory.io—is it Online Networks, DROdio, or just Armory?
DROdio: Just Armory.
Shimel: Armory. And—well, they let that cat out of the bag. I’ve got with me the Armory CEO and Founder, DROdio. DROdio, welcome.
DROdio: Great to be here. Thank you, Alan.
Shimel: And some people, if you’re wondering out there, when I first met DROdio, he told me it’s like rodeo with a D, so if you’re wondering how to say it, that’s how you say it. But DROdio, just for the record, give our listeners your real name, your full name.
DROdio: Yeah, so, my full name is Daniel Rubén Odio, and I go by DROdio. It’s my handle on everything, so DROdio is easy.
Shimel: Okay. And then joining DROdio and myself today is—well, DROdio, why don’t you introduce Carl?
DROdio: Sure. I’m very happy to welcome Carl to Armory. Carl has recently joined us, our VP of Marketing. Carl, I’ll let you introduce yourself.
Carl Landers: Welcome to everyone who’s listening. This is Carl Landers, and I’m happy to join you, and I’ve been with DROdio at Armory for a couple of months, and we are excited to share news today about what’s happening with Spinnaker and with Armory. Alan, it’s great to be here.
Shimel: Thanks, Carl. Hey, and it’s a pleasure to have you here. So, we’re gonna jump into Spinnaker and Armory and go a little bit more in depth in that in a moment, but let’s take care of the news first. The big news is, you’ve announced a series B of $28,000,000.00, and it’s led by Insight Partners, correct?
DROdio: That is correct. Very happy to have Insight joining our board. Insight has seized the same opportunity that we do, which is that there is a large category forming in software delivery that could never be a category before, and we can talk a little bit about why that’s changing, but Lonne Jaffe is gonna be joining our board as the newest board members, and I just—I couldn’t be more thrilled about having Insight involved and funding Armory’s growth.
Shimel: Well, and again, let me just fill in with a little background. For those who may not be familiar with Insight Partners, I think the number is something outrageous, $25,000,000,000.00 under management or something like that. And they are the folks who have really financed a ton of, or a bunch of really blue chip companies in the DevOps space, including companies like JFrog and Tricentis and now Armory, and more than several others, really doing a nice job there.
Lonne Jaffe from Insight is joining the board, you mentioned, DROdio. Any just—I mean, do you know his background that you can share? What does he bring?
DROdio: Yeah, so, Lonne is an especially good board member for us, because Lonne has a deep background in AI and ML and really understands that space well. And Alan, I’m sure that you know this and probably the people listening also understand it—software delivery is, especially into the cloud, is just in the first innings of a very long game. So, really, a lot of what’s happening today is focused more around automation.
And, in that process, as software delivery matures, we see a lot of opportunities to really make it smarter and unlock a lot of data across the SDLC. So, having Lonne on the board just positions Armory extremely well to be a leader in that over the coming decade. So, very happy to have him involved with that deep level of expertise.
Shimel: Absolutely. We’re gonna dive more into that as well in one second. Just, last question or last point I wanted to make regarding the announcement—you know, Insight led this round, I take it, but you also have some pretty nice names on your investor list even prior to this, right, if I’m not mistaken?
DROdio: Yeah, we’ve been very blessed. You know, we started in Y Combinator’s W17 batch and we’ve had Noah Doyle from Javelin was our seed investor, Crosslink with a series A investor, Celeal from Bain has participated in a number of rounds. So, we also recently had Robin Vasan from Mango join as an investor as well.
So, we just—you know, we were lucky to have a lot of great angel investors, including Eric Reese, the kind of father of the lean startup series; Andrew Miklas, a founding CTO of PagerDuty; and other angels like that. So, you know, we just—we’re in a bit of a special situation with Armory. We just, we’ve never had a hard time fundraising. I think a lot of that has to do with just this massive shift of computing into the cloud and all the challenges that come along with it.
Shimel: Yep. Alright. We covered the announcement well. I think we did it justice. Let’s dive in now, guys. So, look—when you talk about Armory, you can’t talk about Armory without talking about Spinnaker, right? And again, in our audience—well, our audience is pretty savvy to this stuff. They probably have heard of Spinnaker. Spinnaker, of course, came out of the Netflix kind of factory there that brought so much great software tools to the forefront. But it was also—you know, Spinnaker was the father of, I mean, if Netflix was the father of Spinnaker, Google is the godfather. And, you know, they’ve done a lot for us.
But I’m not giving it justice. DROdio, you’re much more well versed on Spinnaker. Carl, I don’t know how much of the Spinnaker story you know, but guys, give us the background.
DROdio: Yeah, sure. Why don’t I—before we talk about Spinnaker, actually, let’s just talk about some of the trends that we’re seeing in computing and then back into how Spinnaker is solving for some of that.
So, you know, we’ve been working with large enterprises, Fortune 500 and Global 2000 enterprises. And what we’re seeing—and I don’t think this will be a surprise to anybody who is deep in DevOps—is, enterprises are recognizing that, in order for them to thrive over the next decade, they really have to become software companies. Now, they may not die. They may just survive. But in order to really thrive, they have to make big investments, and their ability to take an idea and get it out into the world with safety and velocity—so, to really become good at navigating the SDLC, the software development life cycle.
The big shift that we’re seeing is that companies are starting to move out of data centers and into the cloud, and what we’re seeing is—and I actually don’t think that every engineering leader is quite seeing it this way yet, but what we’re seeing is that a company’s path to production in a data center was a very static one. It didn’t change. Maybe they were running The Sphere. But they could afford to build it themselves, and they had to build it themselves because every data center’s different.
And so, they would use these, what we would consider legacy kind of mutable configuration management tools like Chef and Puppet and Ansible to build these brittle paths into production, into their data centers.
Well, that’s changing. The infrastructure layer is going from being very static to very fragmented, and we think that’s just beginning. There’s so much innovation coming from Amazon and Microsoft and Google that large enterprises, which have been building their own roads into production, are having a hard time dealing with this dumpster fire of innovation that’s coming from the cloud. I mean, if you look at AWS, it’s more than just AWS, it’s EC2, it’s ECS, it’s EKS, it’s Fargate, it’s Lambda—it’s whatever AWS is gonna announce at re:Invent in November. And, you know, that’s just AWS, let alone GCP or Azure or Pivotal or Oracle.
And so, you know, when I talk to CIOs at Fortune 500 companies, they have a big problem, which is that they have these legacy and brittle paths to production that are not set up to enable them to really take advantage of this just massive amount of innovation that’s happening in the cloud. And so, they have a hard time actually getting their ideas out as features into the cloud.
Netflix, as it started moving out of data centers and into the cloud a decade ago, recognized that there was a need for a platform that would not only codify the process of going from idea to featured production—so, that’s really all of the kind of human and cultural aspects of writing code and getting it out into the world. So, things like different stages. So, manager approvals, different environments, Dev/Stage/Prod, code scanning, vulnerability scanning—all of those things, security policies, compliance policies codify all of that into one golden path, but then also allow a company to have workload portability. So, allow a company to be able to decide if that code should go in as a VM on AWS or into a data center running Kubernetes.
And so, they built Spinnaker to become much more sophisticated about really leveraging all of those different cloud targets. And so, now, they’re giving it away, right? Netflix and Google have codified the kind of decade of best practices they have at delivering software into the cloud, and they’re giving it away to anybody that is serious about becoming a software company.
And so, that’s the real big opportunity that we see is to bring this open source project that codifies these best practices into Global 2000 and Fortune 500 companies that are serious about being able to thrive and not just survive over the next decade.
Shimel: Absolutely. And a couple things there, right? As widespread as open source adoption is—and it is, it’s 95 percent penetration or higher—Global 2000 and Fortune 500 companies, when they do adopt open source, especially something platformish like Spinnaker, want to have some commercial entity usually wrapped around there, someone who’s gonna help provide support, and someone to go to if there’s a problem, someone who’s gonna continue kinda pushing the ball forward in terms of development. And that’s a role, right, that Armory is sort of fulfilling in the marketplace—the commercial Spinnaker.
DROdio: Absolutely. Very much so. So, there’s a couple things about that. Spinnaker—I mean, if you think about what a company needs to do to become software first, the entire way they deliver value to the world is with some sort of platform either that they’ve built and housed, which is usually the case. They’ve extended Jenkins, which is really a CI tool, into delivery because they had to. But that’s really the entire way that they deliver value into the world is by being able to take code and get it out with safety and velocity.
And so, when a company is starting to think about Spinnaker, I mean, that is like doing open heart surgery on a company’s core ability to create value. And Spinnaker is a huge and heavy code base. I mean, it is a big, meaty project. And so, companies need a lot of assistance and best practices and support to be successful with Spinnaker, because it is like open heart surgery for them.
Now, the good news is that Armory is very, very good at doing this. So, we have the most expertise operationalizing Spinnaker inside complex enterprise environments and making it work within these complex environments of any company. As Netflix once joked with us, they only ever operationalized it once, right? We’ve done it many times.
We’ve also built a number of features that are enterprise grade to make Spinnaker more consumable and valuable to the enterprise. So, things like being able to install it in an air gap data center environment, or pipelines as code that gets into this GitOps need of being able to create these pipeline definitions and then check them as code to make them reusable and make pipelines more standard across teams.
So, there’s all sorts of features that we have built in our building that extend Spinnaker for specifically enterprise needs. But most broadly, what we are really doing is, we are championing Spinnaker and helping the enterprise adopt it so that they can become, truly, software first in a very sophisticated, multi-cloud way.
DROdio: One other thing that I would mention is really the cultural change that’s required from these large enterprises, which is probably its own separate podcast and conversation, but there’s this thing that we see in these Global 2000 companies, which is that most companies are not very good at managing risk in production in sophisticated ways. And what I mean when I say that is, most of these Industrial Age companies are used to building products or having services that must be perfect in production. When you’re building a car, you can’t have it come off the assembly line and fail right away.
The kind of cosmic joke is that the slower you are when you’re writing code, the less safe you become, and by moving faster, you actually become safer. But that’s a terrifying cultural concept to these companies that don’t wanna break customer trust or damage brand equity in production.
A platform like Spinnaker allows them to become much more sophisticated about managing risk in production. So, things like a canary deployment allow companies to not nuke their entire user base when they ship a new feature. They can, instead, limit the blast radius. And so, it’s an important cultural element here to bring a platform like Spinnaker into the company to give, really, the executives and management the kind of license and the trust to start to innovate faster and to move faster in ways that allow them to feel safe, but then become much more sophisticated about the way that they manage risk.
So, there’s a whole cultural aspect to Spinnaker that is very necessary to give companies these tools that they need to actually undergo this digital transformation.
Shimel: There’s a cultural aspect to everything with DevOps, even.
DROdio: Yeah. [Laughter]
Shimel: But let me—hey, Carl, we’ve been negligent, here. Let’s bring you into the conversation. So, Carl, it’s a unique kind of opportunity. It’s almost a double-edged sword, though, in that, you know, you get to, you’re in charge of marketing what, in essence, is this fantastic platform, Spinnaker, and then, on top of that, what Armory is doing to enhance and make it better for large organizations to adopt Spinnaker—you know, it’s a great opportunity, but it’s a little scary it’s that big.
As newly appointed or here a few months now VP of Marketing, what do you see as the challenge here in going to market?
Landers: Sounds like you’ve been living in my office, Alan, the way you just laid that out. But, you know—yes, it’s a big challenge. The way we look at it, though, I think is fairly straightforward. We’re devoting our resources to making Spinnaker a success. As the Spinnaker community grows, as more people are aware and are using and are having success with Spinnaker, the right number will come to Armory for help when they need it.
And so, as the marketer at Armory, my focus is, the majority of my effort is—how do we make Spinnaker a success? How do we grow awareness and use of Spinnaker so that more organizations are experiencing the benefit? We know that we’ll get our fair share. So, marketing Armory is important, but top of mind for all of us here is making sure Spinnaker is a big success. Does that make sense?
Shimel: Makes perfect sense. And we would be negligent if we didn’t mention this in that regard that, I guess it was now about six months ago, maybe eight months ago, both Netflix and Google joined what’s called the CDF—Armory as well—joined the CDF, the CD Foundation, which is a sister organization to Cloud Native Computing Foundation, all under the auspices of The Linux Foundation. And, you know, we talk about a community and we talk about making Spinnaker successful—that has to, I guess, play into it.
How big a role do you see the CDF playing into this, guys?
DROdio: Carl, I’ll be happy to let you start there and then I can add some color, if you’d like.
Landers: Sure, happy to. Well, we are a proud member of the CDF along with the other organizations you mentioned, and there are several projects in there, including Jenkins and Jenkins X and Tekton and Spinnaker. And the CDF is forming up nicely and we’re contributing to that foundation and helping it take off, and it is gonna be a great way to help build the community around all of these projects, Alan.
One of the things that’s gonna be a great addition to the community is, we have a new developer, evangelist, open source leader joining Armory, Dee Kumar. Dee was actually doing this job for the CNCF and for Kubernetes. So, super experienced about how to grow a successful open source community and market effectively, and she did that at the CNCF and is coming over to join Armory on Monday to help us and help the CDF repeat the success of Kubernetes with Spinnaker. So, that’s super exciting.
Shimel: That’s great. That’s big, that’s big. DROdio, do you want to add—you said you wanted to add a little color?
DROdio: So, you know, I spend my day talking to Fortune 500 CIOs, CTOs and what I’m really seeing is that DevOps is something that I think executive suites at large companies have considered to be tactical, and it really hasn’t been—it hasn’t risen up to the level where a CIO or CTO or even a VPM just is so focused on it.
That’s really changing. As companies realize that they must become software first to compete, DevOps is becoming much more strategic, and I believe that CIOs are going to have to own it personally and be very involved in the cultural change that’s required to transform their companies into ones that become very good at getting through the SDLC in minutes instead of months.
And that’s really why we created Armory. The reason Armory exists is to align very closely with the needs of Global 2000 enterprises that re committed to that transformation and that want to invest in sophisticated, modern platforms like Spinnaker to enable that. We see Spinnaker as powering the core of our platform as we build it. Spinnaker really solves for the delivery challenges that companies have.
There’s a lot more to the SDLC than just delivery, and so, we are really making a big bet on Spinnaker while having an eye towards the needs of the CIO and solving for all those other blockages in the SDLC that a company has that slow them down.
So, Spinnaker is just this incredible platform that we’re putting at the core of our strategy and our platform as Armory grows and matures. And the first thing that Carl said is to cement its status as the de facto standard for Cloud Native software delivery. And then also, having all the major cloud vendors contribute and be involved has been a huge step for that as well. So, I think it’s becoming very obvious that, if a company’s really serious about moving workloads into the cloud, Spinnaker is the way to do that at scale.
Shimel: Excellent. Absolutely. Guys, we’re running low—we’re way over time at this point. I did want to just mention or bring out a few other things, and Carl or DROdio can answer this. In terms of references, we’re talking Fortune 500, we’re talking Global 2000—can you give us some examples of organizations that are using Spinnaker? And if they’re using Armory a well, great, but you know, just to kind of bring home that message of the kind of organizations that are relying on Spinnaker.
DROdio: Sure. So, on the Spinnaker.io website, which is the project site, there are a number of companies that are publicly listed that are using Spinnaker. Companies like Cisco and Target and Under Armour and Samsung and others. There are actually several hundred enterprises using Spinnaker that are not publicly using it, but are making big bets on Spinnaker. And there are also many enterprises that are using Armory specifically. And so, those include some of the world’s largest technology companies, some of the world’s largest banks, some of the world’s largest health care companies.
So, we are very dedicated to ensuring their success with Spinnaker. We believe that Armory is the best way for a company to be successful with Spinnaker. But more broadly, we’re also really working hard as deep contributors to the open source project to make Spinnaker very consumable, easy to onboard, easy to self-run POCs and get very quick time to value.
So, there’s a lot of focus, like Carl said, with the series B in really making Spinnaker easy to try and easy to be successful with as an open source project, and then making it very enterprise grade and bulletproof for enterprises that are putting it at the core of their hybrid and multi-cloud strategies.
Shimel: Excellent. Excellent, excellent. I know—again, just one more thing and then I’m gonna call it a wrap. There is, as part of CloudNativeCon and KubeCon, there’s a Spinnaker and CDF. Well, there’s both a CDF and I thought a Spinnaker Con coming up in San Diego.
DROdio: Yeah, Carl, why don’t you talk a bit about that, because I think there’s a few opportunities for people to get involved.
Landers: Absolutely. So, Alan, I think you’re referring to the Spinnaker Summit which is coming up. It’s going to be collocated with KubeCon in San Diego. It’s taking place on—let’s see if I get the dates right—November 16th and 17th, so over that weekend, and then KubeCon starts on the Monday, Tuesday following. So, it’s gonna be a huge Cloud Native fest in San Diego.
We were just reviewing the CFP, the proposals that came in today. There were, oh, 80 or 90 sessions submitted from amazing companies to speak at the summit, and we’re just going through right now and picking the best ones to actually put on the agenda. It’s gonna be a great event and information is available from the Spinnaker.io website. You can get there and learn all about the Spinnaker Summit. Thanks for the plug.
Shimel: Absolutely. And you know what, when it’s live, we’ll try to get some announcement—when the CFP is live, we’ll get an announcement out.
DROdio: And, hey, Alan? We haven’t talked about this yet; Carl, we haven’t talked about this yet, but why don’t we just go ahead and offer something up, here, because we do have a culture of defaulting to action.
Why don’t we create a discount code for anybody who’s listening to this podcast and would like to attend the Spinnaker Summit and maybe we can make it DevOps.com or something like that—
DROdio: – and Armory will provide a bit of a discount for anybody who would like to attend to help anybody who’s listening convince their manager that it’s something worth going to. So, I don’t know how much of a discount we can provide, but I’m happy to commit to doing something.
Shimel: Thank you very much, DROdio. And you know what, for listeners—take advantage of it. Guys, what I’ll try to do—Carl, if you can get me the details and the code, I’ll include that in the show notes for the podcast, and anyone listening to this can go check it out there as well as, it’ll be in the DevOps.com article for it, as well.
Landers: Sounds good. I’ve got DROdio’s credit card number coming over to you.
DROdio: That’s right. [Laughter]
Shimel: [Laughter] Fantastic!
DROdio: And then, also, for anybody who would like to learn more about Spinnaker, there is a Slack workspace, and I would highly recommend that anybody check that out. You can get to it on the Spinnaker website, but you can also just go to Join.Spinnaker.io and enter your e-mail address and then you’ll be in that community.
There’s over 7,000 people in there, and it’s a very active community. We are very active in there, as is Netflix and Google and many others. And if you—you know, it’s a very friendly community, so if anybody would really like to ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask any newbie questions in there, we’ll be happy to answer them.
Shimel: Fantastic. Guys, I gotta tell you, this was the longest 15-minute interview I’ve ever done.
DROdio: [Laughter] And yet the shortest at the same time, feels like. [Laughter]
Shimel: Yeah. I told you, it goes quick. I apologize, but you know what, I think it was well worthwhile. First of all, guys—congratulations on the series B. You know what? In today’s world, it seems every day some company’s announcing funding, but there’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there, and DROdio, you know this, right, who never get to raise money.
Shimel: They try and try and try and they just can’t get it done. And the fact that you guys are doing it is a testament to both Spinnaker and Armory’s plan as well as what you’re doing, so, congratulations—and to you guys individually—so, congratulations and success.
And then, secondly, we’re excited to see Spinnaker take its place in the CD universe, here.
DROdio: Yeah, likewise. Thank you for the support, Alan, as well.
Shimel: My pleasure.
Landers: Thank you, Alan.
Shimel: Hey, alright—DROdio and Carl Landers from Armory announcing their series B, and it’s all about Spinnaker and Armory here today. This is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com, and you’ve just listened to another DevOps Chat.