Containers and the Chasm: The State of Container Adoption

Geoffrey Moore’s
technology adoption lifecycle is gospel for tech marketers. The model describes
the path of diffusion for discontinuous innovations and explains how ecosystems
emerge and coalesce around IT winners.

Moore and his
work have been top of mind the last couple years now as we’ve observed the rise
of and hype around Linux containers.

Containers are
the next evolutionary leap forward from hypervisor-based hardware virtualization,
offering a way to package an application with a complete filesystem that holds
everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools and libraries. Containers
are smaller, faster, more portable and more developer-friendly than their
virtual machine predecessors. In that, containerization represents a paradigm
shift in how systems and applications are built, deployed and managed.

In the tech
sector, paradigm shift is a euphemism for opportunity, and, appropriately, we’ve
seen a flood of companies come to market with their flavors of tools and
platforms Continue reading “Containers and the Chasm: The State of Container Adoption”

The ‘Cloud-Native’ Landscape

Over the last
several years, we’ve seen the emergence new application architecture – dubbed
“cloud native” – that is highly distributed, elastic and composable with the
container as the modular compute abstraction. With that, a new breed of tools
has emerged to help deploy, manage and scale these applications. Cluster
management, service discovery, scheduling, etc. – terms that previously were
unknown or, at best, reserved for the realm of high-performance computing – are
now becoming part of every IT organization’s lexicon. As the pace of innovation
continues at breakneck speed, a taxonomy to help understand the elements of
this new stack is helpful.

The “Cloud-Native”
Ecosystem presentation is the consequence of many conversations with
developers, CIOs and founders who are playing a critical role in shaping this
new application paradigm. It attempts to define the discreet components of the
cloud-native stack and calls out the vendors, products and projects that
Continue reading “The ‘Cloud-Native’ Landscape”

Containers and the Search for the Killer App

VisiCalc for
early PCs. E-mail for the Internet. SMS for mobile. Every major tech platform
we’ve seen has had the benefit of a “killer application” that transformed it
from “toy” or “cool project” into an indispensable, mainstream product. 

Now that that
we’re in the midst of what looks to be another major platform shift in the datacenter – this time with the layer of abstraction
moving from physical infrastructure via the hypervisor to the OS via
containerization – talk has centered around Linux containers and whether they
represent a paradigm shift in how we build and deploy applications or if they are
simply another instrument in the DevOps toolkit.

The relevant analog
for mapping out the fate of containerization seems to be virtualization. Charting
VMware’s history provides a hint of how
container adoption and ecosystem development may unfold, but it’s far from a
perfect corollary.

In 1999,
VMware Continue reading “Containers and the Search for the Killer App”

Market-Makers, Surfers and 10x’ers: A Model for Investing in Enterprise IT

Warren
Buffet’s right-hand man and Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie
Munger, credits much of his and the Oracle of Omaha’s success to an adherence
to mental models, particularly in their power to guide investment decisions. Munger,
in his 1994 commencement address at USC Marshall School of Business, elaborated:

…the first rule is that you
can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang
‘em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you
don’t have them in a usable form.

You’ve got to have models in
your head. And you’ve got to array your experience—both vicarious and direct—on
this latticework of models…

Mental models
help investors make heads or tails of fact patterns to problem-solve quickly;
something that’s become increasingly important as the velocity of companies
formed and funded has accelerated to breakneck speed.

Most models tend to be deductive,

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Continue reading “Market-Makers, Surfers and 10x’ers: A Model for Investing in Enterprise IT”

DockerCon 2015: Outside the Echo-chamber

DockerCon tore
through SF last week and the feeling is that we are at the apex of the hype
cycle. Fear not, we at Redpoint are here to (attempt to) distill signal from
noise. Here’s a recap of the top story-lines as we see them along with some
thoughts… 

image

You
down with OCP…?!

What happened: Docker and CoreOS got on stage, kissed and
made up and announced the Open Container Project (‘OCP’). OCP is a non-profit governance
structure, formed under the Linux Foundation, for the purpose of creating open
industry standards around container formats and runtime. You may remember back
in December ’14 CoreOS made headlines by announcing
rkt
, an implementation of
appC, the company’s own container image format, runtime and discovery mechanism,
which, in contrast to Docker’s libcontainer, was open, both technologically and in
its development methodology. Then in May at CoreOS Fest, CoreOS’s inaugural conference, Continue reading “DockerCon 2015: Outside the Echo-chamber”

Hello from Redpoint

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A pause from
our regularly scheduled programming to announce that I’m thrilled to have
joined Redpoint
Ventures
as a Principal
in their early stage group. The move is a homecoming for me – I was raised in
the South Bay and went to college in Berkeley (Go Bears!) before shipping out east
for a little over five years – and I can’t be more excited to be back!

When I began
the conversation with the team at Redpoint, I was already familiar with the
firm’s track record with them having backed multiple category-defining
companies from A(rista) to Z(uora) with everything including Juniper Networks, Netflix,
Pure Storage, Stripe, Twilio and many more in between. But track record in VC is
derivative – it’s a byproduct of the people and culture of the firm – and the
more I got to know the team and their inner-workings, I found a firm Continue reading “Hello from Redpoint”

CoreOS Fest Post-Mortem

Last week I attended
the inaugural CoreOS Fest.
It was a fantastic event which brought together some of the best minds in
distributed systems and celebrated the vibrant open source community CoreOS has
fostered. Given this somewhat seminal moment, I thought it’d be a good
opportunity to share a few observations from the conference and reflect on the
state of industry, so here goes:

The
pace of innovation in enterprise IT has never been faster.
It’s been just over two years since the
initial release of Docker and it’s amazing how quickly an
ecosystem has coalesced around Linux containers and, more broadly, distributed
systems infrastructure. By any metric – contributors and contributions to open
source repos, companies founded and funded, support and partnerships from
incumbent infrastructure vendors, etc. – there is a now a fully-formed,
distributed computing stack and accompanying value chain. This rapid innovation
cycle has compressed release cycles.

Continue reading “CoreOS Fest Post-Mortem”