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The 10 Hottest Container Startups Of 2018

Joseph Tsidulko

These 10 container startups are driving innovation and delivering enterprise-ready solutions for deploying cloud-native applications at massive scale.

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Container Innovators

The container market has created one of the most fertile breeding grounds for startups.

As the disruptive technology -- which allows applications to run effortlessly from one computing environment to another -- rapidly matures, emerging companies are taking leadership roles in driving innovation and delivering enterprise-ready solutions for deploying cloud-native applications at massive scale.

Just a few years after Docker unleashed the container revolution, the industry has largely standardized on the Kubernetes orchestration platform first developed at Google. While name-brand heavyweights compete to deliver that technology on-premises and in the cloud, startups are making their mark by focusing on narrower challenges that arise for specific types of customers and use cases.

The companies below are enabling enterprises to take advantage of containers, and digitally transform their businesses, by solving challenges around ease-of-deployment, visibility, data management, analytics, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and security.


CEO: Xin Zhang

This Chinese startup offers a Kubernetes-based cluster management service and enterprise deep learning AI solutions.

Caicloud was founded by Google veterans who worked on cluster management and artificial intelligence at the internet giant, which first developed Kubernetes.

The company's enterprise service, called Compass, delivers a Kubernetes-based cloud platform that's compatible with popular cloud infrastructures in China: Ali Cloud, VMware and OpenStack.

The solution is being rapidly adopted by large companies in China.

Giant Swarm

CEO: Henning Lange

Giant Swarm offers a managed micro-services platform for running cloud native workloads at scale across on-premises data centers and public clouds.

The Cologne, Germany-based startup's API-driven platform enables customers to easily provision and scale Kubernetes clusters complemented by a wide array of open source micro-services technologies.

Giant Swarm maintains the platform and all its Kubernetes clusters, taking operational responsibility for the availability of that containerized infrastructure.


CEO: Slava Koltovich

Kublr’s Kubernetes platform eases management of containerized applications on any infrastructure.

The Washington D.C.-headquartered startup enables enterprises to rapidly deploy containerized applications into production environments, and automates handling of underlying security, high availability, backup and disaster recovery, monitoring and self-healing.

Built with a pluggable architecture, Kublr also delivers multi-factor enterprise security, configuration management, and logging to make container deployments more reliable and flexible.

Kublr spun out from Eastbanc Technologies, a custom software development shop.


CEO: Fei Huang

NeuVector has focused on Kubernetes security with a product it describes as "the first and only multi-vector container firewall."

That next-generation firewall enables enterprises to confidently deploy container strategies that span multi-cloud and on-premises environments.

NeuVector's technology also delivers visibility into container traffic and offers an integrated security layer that automates threat detection.

The startup based in Milpitas, Calif. has developed behavioral learning technology specifically geared for container security. It partners with Amazon Web Services, Docker, IBM, and Red Hat.


CEO: Joe Doliner

Pachyderm leverages containers to solve challenges data scientists face in scaling their computing infrastructure.

The startup based in San Francisco delivers a platform that implements Docker and Kubernetes as the building blocks of data infrastructure. Data scientists can use any tools they like while deploying their models on unified infrastructure and maintaining complete data lineage and provenance.

Founded four years ago, Pachyderm recently closed a Series A financing round of $10 million.


CEO: Murli Thirumale

Portworx looks to tackle storage challenges that arise when containers are used to run databases and other stateful workloads.

The platform, designed from a DevOps perspective, allows users to manage databases and other stateful services across any infrastructure and using any container scheduler, including Kubernetes, Mesosphere DC/OS, and Docker Swarm.

Portworx looks to solve the five most-common problems DevOps teams encounter when running stateful services in production: persistence, high availability, data automation, security, and support for multiple data stores and infrastructure.

Robin Systems

CEO: Premal Buch

Robin Systems offers container-based platforms geared to run databases and big data workloads.

Robin's container technology was designed to define, deploy, and manage entire applications along with their data volumes and file systems.

The ROBIN hyper-converged Kubernetes platform powers data-intensive applications, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, on-premises or in the public cloud.

The startup based in San Jose, Calif. recently struck a partnership with Microsoft to enable 1-click migration of on-premises databases to Microsoft Azure using Azure Data Box.


CEO: Kamal Shah

The Mountain View, Calif.-based container security startup offers the StackRox Container Security Platform, which protects applications across the entire container lifecycle.

StackRox software discovers an enterprise's full container environment, ensures adherence to security policies, and identifies malicious actors.

StackRox recently appointed former Skyhigh Networks product leader Kamal Shah as CEO to scale up the company's engineering, customer success and channel footprint. Shah replaced co-founder Ali Golshan, who briefly served as CEO following more than three years as the company’s CTO.


CEO: Greg Kurtzer

Sylabs is the commercial company behind the open source Singularity container engine, created by its founders at U.S. Department of Energy labs for High Performance Computing use cases.

The startup based in Albany, California hit the market at the start of 2018 with its first commercial product, Singularity Pro.

Gerg Kurtzer, who pioneered Singularity at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says workloads requiring high-performance resources need capabilities Docker containers cannot provide.

Sylabs sees an opportunity to expand use of the container engine to new types of computationally intensive applications that require containers to enable portability, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Sylabs also develops a high-performance computing cluster management toolkit called Warewulf.


CEO: Suresh Vasudevan

San Francisco-based Sysdig offers an open source container intelligence platform that delivers container visibility, security and troubleshooting.

The startup founded in 2013 has raised around $50 million as it has scaled adoption of its technology to hundreds of enterprises for which it monitors and secures millions of containers.

Sysdig unifies Docker monitoring, container security, and forensics with native Kubernetes and Prometheus integration.

In April, Suresh Vasudevan, formerly CEO of Nimble Storage, took the helm of the company and founder Loris Degioanni transitioned from that job to CTO.

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