Apcera is an interesting company. Its founder, Derek Collison, was one of the key people behind Cloud Foundry back when it was a small platform project within VMware. Since then Cloud Foundry has gone on to become, arguably, the most important platform as a service (PaaS) organization on earth.
+ Also on Network World: PaaS vendors draw battle lines over containers +
Collison has moved on as well and founded Apcera, a company focused on giving large enterprises the certainty that comes from using a platform with security and policy baked in. In a world were organizations are hearing more and more about containers and cloud-native applications, having a platform that allows them to use these technologies within the context of tight policy is an attractive proposition.
Of course, having a promising platform and executing a business are two different things, and it is fair to say Apcera has had something of a rocky road. A few years ago, the news came that telco vendor Ericsson was taking a majority stake in the company but leaving it to run independently. It is a little murky what that means, and there isn’t much clarity about how successful of a relationship it has been for Ericsson, but notwithstanding the corporate issues, Apcera continues to soldier on and develop its platform.
Container management for cloud-native and legacy apps
That development takes the next step today with the announcement of Apcera’s container management platform for cloud-native and legacy applications. At the same time, the company also announced it has expanded integration features to further support Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS), Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure—strong integrations that should further the company's claim to providing near-seamless movement of workloads across heterogeneous environments.
The angle about supporting both cloud-native and legacy applications is an important one. The reality is that for the vast majority of organizations, they cannot simply ignore the important existing application assets that they have. So, how do they wrap those assets in such a way as to reduce the cost and complexity of maintenance, increase the flexibility, and give them some options about how and where they host those applications? That’s where Apcera comes in.
At its heart, Apcera is a container management platform that allows organizations to deploy, orchestrate and govern cloud-native and legacy applications across on-premises, cloud or hybrid environments. Part of its value proposition are included tools to help containerize those pesky legacy applications. Apcera offers container workflow, orchestration, scheduling, storage, networking, plus a container engine—in other words, all of the component pieces organizations need to run these applications.
Of course, management of containerized applications isn’t a novel proposition. From Cloud Foundry to Red Hat OpenShift, from Docker’s own management tools to companies like Rancher, managing container applications is all the rage. I would say, however, that Apcera’s pedigree from deep within traditional organizations is particularly sympathetic to the realities of more traditional organizations, and in this they may have an advantage on some of the “cooler kids.”
The company is, understandably, excited about this release:
“Apcera has an enterprise-first approach to container management, and customers regularly turn to us to help modernize legacy applications, as well as to run Docker securely and at scale,” said Mark Thiele, chief strategy officer for Apcera. “This announcement underscores our commitment to delivering a practical, real-world solution for container management that addresses the needs of enterprise IT as they increasingly move workloads to the cloud."
Apcera has an impressive pedigree, and it is certainly in a space that is exciting. To date, however, it hasn’t really lived up to its significant promise. Whether Apcera will find “escape velocity” remains to be seen, but this is certainly a company to watch.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?