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Akuity, which makes software for Kubernetes to deliver apps, said today that it has closed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Lead Edge Capital and Decibel Partners. This brings the total amount of money that Akuity has raised to $25 million. Hong Wang, co-founder, and CEO of Akuity says that the funding will allow the company to hire more people and give back to the open-source community.
Containers, or “microservices,” that come with all the necessary dependencies and configuration files are being used more and more to build apps. Kubernetes is free software that can be used to set up and run these containers. Even though Kubernetes is popular, it can be hard to manage containers, especially as legacy software moves to the cloud as part of digital transformations caused by pandemics. One recent survey, which was paid for by a company that sells Kubernetes tools, found that more than a third of developers and architects say that Kubernetes is a major source of burnout.
Wang, Jesse Suen, and Alexander Matyushentsev thought there must be an easier way. The three were the company’s first engineers. In 2018, Intuit bought Applatix, which was a Kubernetes management engine.
A year earlier, Applatix had released a project called Argo as open source. Argo was a “container-native” workflow engine that was made to make it easier to specify, schedule, and coordinate how apps run on Kubernetes. After Intuit bought Applatix, Wang, Suen, and Matyushentsev looked into ways to improve Argo at Intuit, even though the Linux Foundation was now in charge of the project.
“Enterprises are well on their way to being able to use containers.” “But as these organizations move to Kubernetes, they quickly learn that their existing, legacy tools aren’t good for delivering Kubernetes-native apps because they require a lot of configuration,” Suen told TechCrunch in an email. “While Kubernetes is very powerful, it is also very complicated and gives developers a bad experience right out of the box.”
Because of this, companies invest in platform and infrastructure teams as well as developer experience teams to make the move to Kubernetes easier and more consistent. Building these teams is hard because Kubernetes experts are in high demand, but there aren’t many of them. Also, many of these organizations keep using the same patterns and would benefit from a codified set of best practices and standard tools.
Suen and Wang see Argo, and by extension, Akuity, as a complement to the traditional continuous delivery (CD) solutions like Armory, CloudBees, and Harness.io. “Continuous delivery” is an engineering method used in software development in which teams make software in short cycles so that it can be released reliably at any time. Argo lets developers make a “pipeline” for building apps and write it down as code, so it can be built or updated using containers and run on other systems.
Wang told TechCrunch in an email interview that Akuity was made to help companies update their Kubernetes tools by using Argo, which is the best open-source suite of Kubernetes-native app delivery software. “With Akuity, we want to change the way DevOps is done and give developers the most advanced set of tools they need to get the most out of Kubernetes.”
In order to do this, Akuity is in the process of releasing the Akuity Platform, which is a fully managed version of Argo. Akuity Platform adds features to Argo, such as deployment analytics and telemetry, health checks for app components, an audit trail and history of app events and API calls, and more. It is currently in closed beta, but it will be available to everyone later this year.
Matyushentsev, who was just named chief architect at Akuity, told TechCrunch via email, “The number one problem we solve for enterprises is making it easier for them to switch to Kubernetes.” “With Akuity, businesses can enable a high frequency of deployment for quick delivery of new features and updates, decrease ent lead time for changes and updates, decrease tch mean time to recovery to recover quickly, minimize the change failure rate (i.e., the percentage of failures that are caused by changes), and increase the stability and reliability of apps and services.”
It’s still early for Akuity, which has competitors like Flux CD and Jenkins X which are also CD tools that work well with containers. But Wang said that the success of Argo shows that Akuity is taking the right approach. The Linux Foundation, which is in charge of Argo, did a survey in 2021 and found that the number of companies using Argo in production went up by 115% from the previous year. Wang says that since Akuity started up last October, it has closed “several” deals with Fortune 1000 companies.
We don’t know if that will lead to strong momentum down the road, especially since we don’t have any sales numbers to go on. No matter what, it’s true that the tools and services built around Kubernetes are a huge opportunity. 45.6% of organizations now use Kubernetes in production, according to a survey from Canonical in 2021. In 2028, the market for Kubernetes solutions is expected to be worth $5.56 billion, up from $1.71 billion in 2021.
“Our products were bought more quickly during the pandemic,” said Wang. “From what we’ve heard from customers, a lot of them are taking advantage of the Kubernetes adoption opportunities to update their developer tool stack.” As Argo is built on Kubernetes and has the most active open-source community in the CD space, it becomes the default choice.
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