The 10 Coolest Container Tech Startups Of 2017

Powering The Container Revolution

It's only been a few years since a then-unknown startup called Docker unleashed a technological juggernaut that's forced the entire IT industry to reassess how it builds, deploys and manages applications in the era of the cloud.

The rapid market penetration of Docker containers, and the container-centric methodologies and application architecture it spurred, has been one of the industry's most-potent disruptive forces as organizations look to realize the benefits in portability, efficiency and cost savings that the technology reliably delivers.

Almost every brand-name infrastructure software vendor has readjusted strategy to deliver and incorporate containers. But the ecosystem that's emerged around Docker has largely been driven by innovative startups that have focused on solving problems and delivering unique capabilities that enable wider adoption of the technology.

Here are 10 startups powering the container revolution.

Get more from CRN's 2017 tech retrospect.

Aqua Security

CEO: Dror Davidoff

This startup delivers security tools that scan container environments and discovers their vulnerabilities before problems arise.

Aqua's Container Security Platform integrates security directly into the DevOps pipeline, helping enforce policies and simplify compliance with regulatory requirements. The container security controls and intrusion prevention capabilities can be accessed via APIs.

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aqua allows on-demand vulnerability scans for deployments built on Amazon Web Services ECS container registry, or on-premises.


CEO: Alex Polvi

This pioneering container tech startup was first to bring to market a commercial distribution of Kubernetes, the container orchestration technology first developed internally at Google, which has made an investment in CoreOS through its venture arm.

CoreOS' Kubernetes platform, called Tectonic, was recently verified to run on Microsoft's Azure cloud, in addition to earlier integrations with Google Cloud Platform and Azure Web Services.

The San Francisco-based company started as a lightweight Linux optimized for Docker deployments. CoreOS later released its own container standard, called Rocket, as an alternative to the almost universally adopted Docker runtime.


CEO: Jeff Chou

Diamanti offers hyper-converged infrastructure engineered specifically for hosting container deployments. With its purpose-built, bare-metal platform, the San Jose, Calif.-based startup looks to accelerate the process of deploying containerized apps into production.

Diamanti's appliance allows enterprises to rapidly deploy networking and storage resources integrated with Docker and Kubernetes technology to achieve the best performance for container clusters.


CEO: Craig McLuckie

Heptio, founded by two of the original developers of Kubernetes, recently came out of stealth with the promise of improving the experience of using the technology they helped create at Google.

The Seattle-based startup has since delivered tools that ensure proper configuration and recovery of Kubernetes clusters when failures occur, helping reduce costs when deploying containers at scale.

Heptio also offers Kubernetes training and professional services.


CEO: Florian Leibert

Mesosphere brings to market a commercial platform implementing the open-source Mesos container orchestrator for heavy-duty production environments. Mesos powers some of the world's largest container deployments at places like Twitter, eBay and Airbnb.

The San Francisco-based startup recently struck an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to embed its platform into the hardware giant's server and storage products. Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System (DC/OS) will come pre-integrated on the HPE ProLiant hardware line.


CEO: Sirish Raghuram

Platform9 started as a managed OpenStack vendor, but the Sunnyvale, Calif-based startup has become a player in container tech since the introduction of its managed Kubernetes service.

Platform9 delivers container orchestration through a Software-as-a-Service model, putting in the hands of partners a portable, turnkey solution for deploying containerized applications at scale.

From a single pane of glass, Platform9's Kubernetes service can be managed across bare-metal, VMware, Nutanix and hyper-scale public cloud environments.


CEO: Murli Thirumale

Portworx looks to solve data storage headaches—specifically data loss in databases and other stateful workloads when containers fail.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based startup's solution aggregates storage resources to create a data management layer that facilitates running databases in containers through automated deployment and operations.

Portworx supports all Linux databases, infrastructures and integrates with the three major container orchestrators: Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm.

Rancher Labs

CEO: Sheng Liang

Rancher Labs, a startupbased in Cupertino, Calif., became a prominent player in the Docker ecosystem with an open-source management platform that enables enterprises to scale deployments of container clusters.

The company's latest release entirely commits to Kubernetes as its underlying container orchestration technology. Rancher 2.0 enables management of clusters orchestrated by different Kubernetes distributions across on-premises and cloud environments, while scrapping native support for other orchestrators, including Docker Swarm.


CEO: Ben Bernstein

Twistlock was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, as a cloud-native cybersecurity company.

Now running most operations out of San Francisco, the startup has shifted from an exclusive focus on container security to offering centralized container management.

Twistlock delivers tooling to detect and prevent container vulnerabilities across cloud environments. The company has also added capabilities to lock down serverless computing services from hyper-scale providers: AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions and Azure Functions.


CEO: Alexis Richardson

This London-based startup's first efforts were toward developing Weave Net, a virtual network connecting containers across infrastructure environments.

Since then, the company has broadened its scope with Weave Cloud, a platform that culls several open-source technologies to deliver a Software-as-a-Service solution for deploying and managing complex containerized workloads.

Weaveworks looks to facilitate building and running enterprise applications that leverage containers to implement micro-services architectures.