Kubernetes was introduced in July 2015 and since then thousands of companies have switched to this unique and flexible open-source container orchestration system. The Google-created open-source technology is used to keep up with container workloads systematically in almost 3000 international businesses including Google, Spotify, Pinterest, Capital One, etc. But managing different environments of Kubernetes or simply K8s has been a challenge for most which have resulted in the formation of the K8 management market.
Established organizations that rely on K8s are looking for a simplified approach that helps manage the full lifecycle of any combination of new/existing, simple/complex, and small/large Kubernetes environments. The company Spectro Cloud is offering an integrated platform to enable IT, teams, to easily manage and control multiple and diverse clusters. Spectro Cloud is still an early-stage venture which was co-founded in 2019 by three experienced system software professionals Tenry Fu (CEO), Gautam Joshi (VP Engineering), and Saad Malik (CTO).
Spectro co-founder and CEO Tenry Fu say “We want to be the first company that brings an easy-to-use managed Kubernetes experience to the enterprise but also gives them the flexibility to define their own Kubernetes infrastructure stacks at scale.”
Recently, Spectro Cloud completed its funding milestone after wrapping its Series B funding round led by New York-based Stripes. Ken Fox-led Stripes is one of the leading growth equity firms that focus on software and consumer businesses. Tenry fu’s Spectro Cloud also secured investment from T-Mobile Ventures. By locking in almost $60 million in Spectro Cloud’s innovative platform, it is evident that investors see potential in Kubernetes.
The reason why Spectro Cloud was able to successfully launch as a one-stop destination for managing K8 environments is due to the three veteran co-founders behind it. Tenry Fu, who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Spectro Cloud, has more than 20 years of experience working in system software. Fu also has 15 patents in the relevant fields for building scalable distributable systems.
Fu started his professional life in 1999 as a software architect at McAfee Inc where he worked for 8 years before shifting to VMware in 2007. At VMware, Tenry Fu was able to lead several technical projects and autonomous computing initiatives that urged him to create a tech startup. At that point, Fu met Gaurav Manglik, a senior member of the technical staff and a Stanford University alumnus.
Both Fu and Manglik concluded that IT devs desperately needed a place to deploy and handle their workloads on either private or a public cloud.
In 2010, after much thought, Fu and Manglik co-founded CliQr, a multi-cloud platform dedicated to helping developers and IT professionals in a modernized way to add or automate the deployment of public cloud applications easily. The San Jose-based company grew from 10 to 10,000 employees after Cisco, the leader in computer networking acquired CliQr, now Cisco CloudCenter in 2016 in a deal worth $260 million.
Between 2016 and 2019 the duo remained Director for Cisco Cloud Platform Solutions Group. But by the end of 2019, Tenry Fu, being the serial entrepreneur that he is, had another idea about a startup. As the senior director at Cisco, Fu handled the multi-cloud platform as well as private cloud & container platform initiatives. Fu envisioned a way to handle and run Kubernetes at different scales anywhere.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for channel players to support customers with a variety of Kubernetes infrastructure needs. Kubernetes is complex, and customers are looking for help which the channel is ideally suited to provide,” said Tenry Fu, co-founder and CEO of Spectro Cloud. “Channel partners need a flexible and consistent way to manage Kubernetes across customers and clouds. We’re confident that Spectro Cloud is the platform they’ve been looking for, and we’re pleased to be recognized by CRN.”
Gautam Joshi, a veteran in network management who worked at CliQr as VP of Engineering joined hands with Fu and Saad Malik, who also worked as the Director of Engineer at Cisco, San Jose. Together, the trio co-founded an innovative platform that we all know as Spectro Cloud in the year 2019. Upon forming their startup, Joshi handled the responsibilities of VP Engineering while Malik is currently the Chief Technical Officer.
“Kubernetes can be challenging, let alone deploying directly on bare metal servers,” adds Saad Malik, CTO at Spectro Cloud. “The challenge with bare-metal Kubernetes was always in treating those environments as one-offs that required specialized management, customizations and additional oversight. What we have built is essentially a way for any team to deploy and manage bare metal Kubernetes just like any other cluster. This open-source contribution, along with the Spectro Cloud platform, further demonstrates our work in bringing life to the CNCF Cluster API project.”
Together, this trio has managed to tap into the consistent growth of the Kubernetes management market with their Bay-area based modern infrastructure startup.
The team behind Spectro Cloud understands the growth rate of containers and how it is directly proportional to the expansion of the Kubernetes ecosystem. As developers continue to look for creative solutions to turn enterprises into digital-first businesses, K8 continues to thrive. Keeping this in mind, Spectro Cloud has launched its signature product and solutions which come in handy across many industries.
“So far, we have seen two fairly compartmentalized efforts to evolve the use of bare metal with all of its benefits and to modernize Kubernetes management. The problem has been that each of these initiatives has been siloed thus far. With the Spectro Cloud Cluster API provider for MaaS, we have built the bridge between the two—this will enable the whole market to expand.”
The pallet is Spectro Cloud’s platform that combines all of one’s clusters at once to reduce the complexity and hassle of lifecycle management. A pallet allows developers to manage their K8s infrastructure however they want and enjoy benefits like rapid deployment, lower risk, and full-stack operations. This product has passed SOC 2 Type II certification and PCI DSS.
Spectro Cloud’s unique KaaS service helps an organization that is unable to allow its developers to consume Kubernetes without raising tickets. The existing options that are available in the market burden devs with tasks like configuration and maintenance of add-on app services. Through this KaaS, clients receive curated, validated, and tested ways to consume K8s infrastructure.
Businesses that are struggling with spending a significant amount of time taking care of different types of Kubernetes clouds and tools can use the “Multi-cluster fleet management”. With Palette’s Cluster Profiles, it is easier to operate and manage everything on a cluster. Importing existing environments and re-using the newly-created Cluster Profiles is also allowed.
“Spectro Cloud’s release of a MaaS provider for CNCF’s Cluster API project is an important contribution to the technology industry, extending Kubernetes provisioning and management to now include bare metal target environments,” said Joseph Jacks, Founding CNCF Member and Former Board Member, Co-founder of KubeCon. “These types of open source projects and efforts help to advance the adoption of new technologies for both business and solution providers.”
With this solution, developers can treat their bare-metal clusters like any other cluster conveniently. The new Palette Bare Metal architecture can turn a bare metal server’s OS into another layer that can be managed by Palette. This is what Spectro Cloud calls a full-stack bare metal.
Spectro cloud enables developers to seamlessly incorporate their Kubernetes environment using CI/CD pipeline as well as GitOps solution. This method is proven to enhance development agility and bridge the gap between application pipelines and K8s. by automating IaC strategy without any limits, devs can combine both K8s infrastructure and application lifecycle management.
Spectro cloud has launched what it calls a next-gen edge K8s. these are easy to manage and spin up K8s and apps available across thousands of edge locations. It has been developed in a plug-n-play style with risk-free upgrades, VM, and container app support.
With the rise of containers, the world’s cloud providers have had to deliver managed KaaS offerings. Among the heavy lifters in the category are Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Google Kubernetes Engine, and Azure Kubernetes Service. Companies like these are active mainly involved in configuring, provisioning, and managing the clusters. The challenge of performing maintenance at scale in a highly distributed and intricate K8s environment is where Spectro Cloud enters the scene.
“At Spectro Cloud, we have been focusing on supporting our customers’ expansion into multiple locations, including bare metal and edge environments as part of their containerization and K8s journeys.” by Tenry Fu.
Spectro Cloud and its Palette platform offer full-stack lifecycle management for any type of mixed Kubernetes clusters. According to the company’s recent announcement, the Palette Edge edition is capable of redefining industry benchmarks and the possibilities when it comes to scaling and deploying Kubernetes at 5G/Edge locations. The company’s K8s are fully hardened, based on CISA recommendations, and passed through CIS security scans to face any threat.
“Within an organization in the enterprise you can serve the needs of your various groups, down to pretty granular level with respect to what’s in your infrastructure stack, and then you don’t have to worry about lifecycle management,” Tenry Fu explained. That’s because Spectro Cloud handles that for you, while still giving you that control.”
In record time and despite the global pandemic situation, Spectro Cloud has managed to receive backing from Stripes, Boldstart Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Westwave Capital, Firebolt Ventures, TSG, T-Mobile, and Alter Ventures Partners. But Spectro Cloud is not the only Kubernetes management provider active in the market. According to TechCrunch, since the early days, after closing its Seed funding round, Spectro Cloud had been working with 16 beta customers.
Let’s take a look at its direct competitors and understand where Spectro Cloud stands:
“There’s an infrastructure control continuum that forces enterprises into trade-offs against these needs. At one extreme, the managed offerings offer a kind of nirvana around ease of use, but it’s at the expense of control over things like the cloud that you’re on or when you adopt new ecosystem options like updated versions of Kubernetes,” said Tenry Fu.
The California-based DaaS platform Rafay was founded back in 2017by co-founder and CEO Haseeb Budhani. This private company’s platform offers hybrid cloud infrastructure and Kubernetes cluster management solutions for enterprises. Since its inception, the company has received $37.1 million in funding through various funding rounds led by Ridge Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, etc.
Kubermatic was established in 2016 in Hamburg by Sebastian Scheele as a cloud base platform providing edge computing as well as DevOps automation solutions for client businesses. With more than 25 employees, this particular company has been funded by Nauta Capital in 2021 during its $6 million seed round.
Rancher is a private company led by Paul Cormier and is headquartered in Cupertino, California. It serves open-source software to organizations to assist in deploying and managing Kubernetes at scale across any infrastructure. Rancher is owned by the SUSE group since July 2020 after the private company raised $40 million in Series D funding round led by Tesla Ventures, F&G Ventures, Mayfield, etc. total funding raised by Rancher is around $95 million.
Spectro Cloud has emerged as a multiplatform to ease Kubernetes managing, especially for organizations. The growth rate of Kubernetes usage and the increase in demand for a solution like Spectro Cloud is paving the path for this company to take off in the future with support from its backers. It has successfully completed 3 funding rounds including Series B led by Stripes which concluded recently. But the total amount raised is just $67.5 million which is lower than expectations.
The last valuation for Spectro Cloud is close to $260 million while its post-money valuation is $300 million (after Series B). The Oddup score for Spectro Cloud is lowered to 58.41. The score was given after spending several hours on research and analysis by our experts on the company’s growth aspect given Kubernetes management market predictions.
After months of being launched, Spectro Cloud announced a seed funding round which came “naturally” according to the company’s CEO Tenry Fu. The lead investor of 2020’s seed round turned out to be Sierra Ventures which is a globally-renowned venture firm that invests in next-generation enterprises and such technologies. The total amount raised was $7.5 million with the participation of Boldstart Ventures. Funds were used for the continued expansion of the company’s operation and to finalize their product, Palette.
“In many ways, Kubernetes can be viewed as the bridge between a company and the applications it uses to create a lasting and positive experience with its customers,” said Mark Fernandes, managing partner at Sierra Ventures.
A year after the seed round, the early-stage venture called for its Series A funding round in July 2021. The total amount raised was $20 million but this time the leading investor came out to be Stripes. The leading growth equity venture firm based in New York City VC has also reportedly made software investments in Snyk and Monday.com.
“This investment validates Spectro Cloud’s vision and accomplishments toward making Kubernetes more accessible and manageable so organizations can speed up adoption in any environment,” said Tenry Fu, Spectro Cloud co-founder and CEO.
The participation of Stripes in the next-gen Kubernetes enterprise management platform is significant due to the fact that this VC firm is a well-known investor in software as well as consumer products. This funding round was also joined by existing investors like Sierra Ventures, Boldstart Ventures and some new names like Firebolt Ventures, Alter Ventures, Westwave Capital, and T-Mobile.
Tenry Fu says “We are super excited about the great partnership with T-Mobile and thank T-Mobile Ventures for its continued support in investing in our Series B. We look forward to helping accelerate innovation in 5G and Edge even faster.”
Spectro Cloud announced Series B last month led by Stripes and raised $40 million in a bid to expand further with its next-gen K8s management platform and solutions. Other investors participating in this finance round were Westwave Capital, T-Mobile Ventures, and The Syndicate Group. The co-founders shared that the funds raised will be used to extend their Kubernetes platform in order to meet the requirements of businesses to manage.
“We are extremely pleased to lead Spectro Cloud’s Series B financing,” said Stripes founder and Partner Ken Fox. “Stripes also led Spectro Cloud’s Series A financing last summer. Since then, the company has shown tremendous traction, and quickly built brand awareness, leading to large and blue-chip customers. This is a testament to Stripes’ focus on investing in amazing products. Spectro Cloud has executed well in their expansion to include a global direct and partner sales organization, as well as recent product innovations like the extension of its Palette platform to support K8s on bare metal and edge locations.”
Through continuous innovation, Spectro Cloud has established itself as a class apart in the Kubernetes management market. The team behind the startup is working on the trade-off between control and flexibility so that the IT team can use “Palette” as a way for IT teams the control enterprise-class governance without having to compromise with their vision of an ideal Kubernetes environment.
“The next step in our goal of simplifying complex technologies and making them consumable is to make it easier for dev teams to deploy and scale faster by integrating additional application services ‘up the stack,’” Fu said. “Running and optimizing multi-cluster workloads with out-of-the-box integrations for service mesh or a platform service such as databases is something we have already in the roadmap.”
As of now, the company is working closely with both customers as well as design partners to better understand their expectations from the K8s environment. Spectro Cloud’s fresh approach, next-gen solutions like Palette is enabling various development teams for a specific use case to control day 0-2 operations conveniently. It will be fulfilling to observe what Fu’s company achieves in the near future.
“We will continue working with customers to address the challenge of unifying and consistently managing the infrastructure until we completely remove that pain point — underscoring our commitment to making K8s more accessible and manageable by every organization and team,” said Tenry Fu.