VMware Exec Hired By Container Tech Startup As COO

Mathew Lodge

Startup container technology developer Weaveworks has hired a VMware executive to head its technology development.

Mathew Lodge on Monday said via Twitter that he has joined London-based Weaveworks as its chief operating officer after spending the past five and a half years at VMware, where he most recently served as vice president of cloud service.

Weaveworks is the developer of the Weave network for Docker, which lets customers build and migrate applications to run on any container technology. The company said Weave delivers a software-defined network across containers topped by cross-container services, to do things like getting containers networked into secure application clusters and migrating them through development, testing and production.

[Related: VMware Shows Off Shiny New Container Technology In Push To Attract Cloud Developers]

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The company in December unveiled a $5 million Series A funding round.

A VMware spokesperson confirmed via email that Lodge left VMware and that the company wishes him well in his next endeavor. The spokesperson also wrote that Lodge's responsibilities will move to Angelos Kottas, senior director of product marketing for cloud services at VMware.

"Angelos Kottas will assume product marketing and management leadership for vCloud Air and will report to Ajay Patel, senior vice president of vCloud Air product development at VMware, effective immediately. Angelos has been a part of the vCloud Air team for the last three years," the spokesperson wrote.

Lodge, who now runs U.S. operations for Weaveworks, told CRN that the company was attractive to him in part because the industry is shifting toward a microservices architecture with containers.

"Weaveworks has a very interesting play on networking and visualization, which is a different way to build microservices," he said.

While VMware is also moving to develop container technology, the two companies' focuses are different, Lodge said.

VMware is bringing in a lot of the operational capabilities for the production side of containers, while Weaveworks focuses on the development side, he said.

"We look at application networking for developers by letting them know the components talk to each other and are easy to visualize," Lodge said. "That's great for developers. VMware looks at, great, you now have to manage the containers, and how to connect them to storage."

Weaveworks has already released open-source versions of its technology to GitHub, and plans to release the commercial version in the next quarter or two, Lodge said.

Weaveworks CEO Alexis Richardson wrote in a Monday blog post that Lodge's product management and cloud computing background were the right fit for what the company is doing.

"I’m referring not only to Weaveworks the company, but to the broader container and microservices ecosystem. Strong, experienced voices bring credibility and leadership to the ecosystem and move us all towards wider enterprise adoption of the cloud native stack," Richardson wrote.

Attracting an executive the caliber of Lodge was quite a coup for Weaveworks, said Chris Kirschke, vice president of solutions, security and cloud at Bedrock Technology Partners, a San Diego-based solution provider that works with several startups in the container business.

"Weaveworks gets credibility," Kirschke told CRN. "And the experience Lodge brings will be instrumental from a production and technology perspective. Prospective customers will know the company has experienced leadership."

The move is also good for investors in Weaveworks, Kirschke said. "Prospective investors will benefit by being able to recruit a big-name exec," he said. "To be able to leave a company like VMware to go to a startup like Weaveworks speaks volumes. It makes it easier for other execs to make the jump. And that level of talent will help de-risk further investment."

Kirschke said container technology has already matured in the maybe 3 percent to 5 percent of Bedrock's customer base that has heavily leveraged it.

"But for most companies, it's still the Wild West," he said. "There are a lot of startups. We can still count them on two hands. But when you start seeing merger and acquisition activity picking up, that's when you know the business is really starting to mature."

Weaveworks' hiring of Lodge was first reported by Fortune.

Kevin McLaughlin contributed to this story.