Docker, the container software company, has sold its enterprise arm to San Francisco’s Mirantis – an Intel Capital-backed provider of full-stack enterprise support for Kubernetes and OpenStack – for an undisclosed sum.
Docker plans to pivot its focus onto the developer-Kubernetes pipeline, via an emphasis on Docker Desktop and Docker Hub instead, a blog suggests, although how it plans to make money doing so remains an open question.
The move effectively makes Docker a new company, which the same day said it has raised $35 million in a venture round with backing from Benchmark, and Insight Partners. (The news that troubled Docker is selling off the main revenue generating part of its business was met with some bemusement.)
Congratulations to Docker on spinning off that pesky part of their business that makes money. https://t.co/0Q69OCeYft
But Docker CEO Rob Bearden said it was the logical choice: “We determined that Docker had two very distinct and different businesses: one an active developer business, and the other a growing enterprise business.
“We also found that the product and the financial models were vastly different. This led to the decision to restructure the company and separate the two businesses, which is the best thing for customers and to enable Docker’s industry-leading technology to thrive.”
CPO Scott Johnston said in a Wednesday blog that the business “will continue to expand the functionality of our open source frameworks and developer productivity tools like Docker Compose, Docker Apps and Docker App Templates.”
“In Docker’s early days we shared a vision of making things easier for developers,” he added.
“The growth in the open source and commercial community around Docker and Kubernetes these last six years suggests that we’re onto something ;-). But we’re just getting started, and there’s plenty more to be done.”
If you had said “Docker sells to Mirantis” to anyone 5 years ago, they would have laughed you out of the room. Remember: there are no sure things, and who you help on the way up surely matters on the way down. And there is always a down.
Precisely what and how it will make money remains somewhat unclear. (“To make it even easier for developers to benefit from the speed of these services but without giving up app portability and infrastructure choice, Docker Hub will seamlessly integrate developers’ “build” and “share” workflows with the cloud “run” services of their choosing”, the CPO said. Again, it is not entirely clear what this means, practically).
Mirantis, meanwhile, gets access to a strong team and IP.
Adrian Ionel, CEO and co-founder at Mirantis said: “The Docker Enterprise employees are among the most talented cloud native experts in the world and can be immensely proud of what they achieved.
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity to create an exciting future together and welcome the Docker Enterprise team, customers, partners, and community.”
CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey told Computer Business Review: “What makes this announcement so unique is that it is hard to define what part of the story, Docker or Mirantis, is the most surprising.
“Docker essentially gets to restart pretty much from scratch with their brand as their key asset. While it might be easy to get snarky about some of the stigma attached to the brand, the reality is that as you get further away from Highway 101, this brand has an amazing visibility. On an average day, a developer is likely to say the word “Docker” more than “Coke”.
“As for Mirantis, it seems it is getting increasingly easier to define them by what they don’t do…”