DevOps teams have turned to containerization in a big way in order to help improve their efficiency. But many enterprises have run into problems scaling containers across their infrastructure to account for issues like networking and load balancing.
Rancher Labs, a Cupertino-based cloud software startup, is hoping to help organizations address the scalability with a new open-source Docker platform. Eponymously dubbed Rancher, the beta version for the platform went live this week. It’s designed to be a full set of tools to help DevOps teams manage Docker containers in production. The platform folds in infrastructure services built specifically for containers, including networking, storage management, load balancing, service discovery, monitoring, and resource management.
The goal of containers is efficiency and full portability, but Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO at Rancher Labs, notes that the implementation can be hard to get perfect.
“As users deploy containers across different infrastructures, they quickly realize that different clouds, virtualization platforms and bare metal servers have dramatically different infrastructure capabilities,” said Liang. It’s these variables that Rancher seeks to limit. “By building a common infrastructure backplane across any resource, Rancher implements an entirely new approach to hybrid cloud computing,” said Liang.
The company is going long on containers—an assessment that backers agree with. The company also recently announced that it has received $10 million in series A funding from Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. In addition to its Rancher suite, the company also produces RancherOS, a minimalist Linux distribution tightly focused on running Docker containers.
The management team behind Rancher is one that is familiar to many cloud practitioners. Co-founder and CEO Sheng Liang was co-founder and CEO of Cloud.com, and continued on at Citrix as CTO of Cloud Platforms Group after the company’s 2011 acquisition. Also on board are Cloud.com and Citrix veterans Shannon Williams as vice president of sales and marketing, Darren Shepherd as chief architect and Will Chan as vice president of engineering.
According to industry analyst Paul Burns, Rancher Labs’ niche is ripe for new innovation.
“In its current state, running any containerization solution at scale and in production requires a significant amount of effort from those adopting the solution,” says Burns, who is president of analyst firm Neovise. “Key functions such as networking, service discovery, storage and load balancing can cause integration issues, keeping enterprises from truly reaping the benefits desired. By providing a unique solution that eases and simplifies the management of container software, Rancher is allowing companies to better utilize and benefit from the technology.”