VMware buys Heptio - what does this mean for Kubernetes

    In early November, VMware announced the purchase of a startup Heptio, creating corporate tools for deploying Kubernetes. Together with the start-up development, the founders of Heptio, who previously created the Kubernetes framework itself, will move to the company.

    We understand what this transaction will affect.

    / photo cattu PD

    Reasons for the acquisition

    Heptio was founded in 2016 by former Google employees Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, who together with Brendan Burns had previously developed Kubernetes. Heptio was created to help other companies use Kubernetes for organizing business processes. In particular, the startup offers open tools that simplify the deployment of container clusters.

    Heptio solutions interested VMware, so they made a deal in early November. The tools that the startup has developed will be introduced into the VMware service for working with Kubernetes - Pivotal Container Service (PKS). It allows administrators to manage application containers in public clouds and on-premise.

    The integration of the tools of the two companies in the future will speed up the process of implementing Kubernetes in organizations whose infrastructure is built on VMware solutions, and will attract new customers for the IT giant.

    According to the vice-president of VMware, both organizations want to develop Kubernetes as an open framework for creating hybrid cloud environments. Heptio representatives support him as well. According to Craig Maklaki, a startup could well exist as an independent company, since it attracted large investments - this is about $ 33 million . But Craig is convinced that by working with VMware, they will be able to achieve great success in the development of Kubernetes.

    How it will affect the industry

    Experts note that the purchase of Heptio will make VMware one of the key players in the open source market and will have a significant impact on Kubernetes.

    Popularity will grow. According to analysts of the cloud technology market, the purchase of Heptio can make Kubernetes a peculiar standard for the sweep of hybrid environments. They connect this possibility with the fact that many other VMware technologies, for example, vSphere, have long become the standard for companies.

    Integrating Kubernetes with VMware tools will simplify the implementation of the framework in companies that have not worked with it before. It is believed that Kubernetes will begin to implement more organizations outside the IT sphere.

    Experts are concerned only with the fact that organizations will start to implement Kubernetes even in cases where it is simply not needed. Technology benefits when a company needs the ability to quickly expand its infrastructure or transfer applications between the cloud and its own data center. If the company has no such needs - the introduction of Kubernetes will result in a waste of time and money .

    Development will go faster. Significant contribution to the development of an open product is always made by those companies that actively use it. One of the most famous examples is the Linux kernel. Only in 2017, 3% of changes to the code were made by developers from Google and Samsung. For 13% of the changes "responsible" in Intel.

    For this reason, it is believed that such a large player, like VMware, will be able to bring new functionality to the Kubernetes ecosystem.

    Nevertheless, not everyone in the open source community responded positively to the deal. Some fear that, due to the takeover of VMware, Heptio will no longer support its own tools for working with Kubernetes. However, Heptio employees noted that VMware will continue to work on existing startup products.

    Who else develops Kubernetes

    At the end of October, another major purchase occurred that would affect the Kubernetes ecosystem. IBM acquired Red Hat, and this deal was one of the largest in history — its value was $ 34 billion.

    The main acquisition for IBM was the Kubernetes Red Hat OpenShift cluster management platform. According to company representatives , IBM and Red Hat are planning to jointly develop Kubernetes as a tool for creating hybrid cloud solutions.

    / photo PxHere PD

    With this Red Hat will remainan independent unit with their leaders and development plans. Therefore, IBM will not “destroy” Red Hat products, but will give the company resources for their further development, which will make Kubernetes more popular in the corporate infrastructure market.

    NetApp has become another Kubernetes ecosystem. In September, NetApp acquired the startup StackPointCloud, which created the kubernetes-as-a-service platform. As a result, the market leader in disk storage systems introduced the new NetApp Kubernetes Service (NKS), which allows customers to manage Kubernetes clusters in public clouds or in their own data center.


    The absorption of startups by large companies shows that corporations are striving to create services that simplify the implementation of Kubernetes. The technology in the "pure form" has a significant drawback that prevents its spread - the complexity of implementation. The creators of the framework agree with this - Joe Bede himself wrote that learning to work with Kubernetes is quite difficult.

    If IBM and VMware manage to create improved “experience of interaction” with cluster management platforms, the technology will become more and more popular, especially in hybrid cloud systems.

    This opinion is shared by other large companies - on their own hybrid infrastructure management tools using Kubernetes workGoogle, Cisco and HPE. Probably in the near future we will see more new solutions aimed at developing a tool for managing containers.

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