Part 2 – Sierra Ventures Perspective: B2B IT Infrastructure Trends from 1H 2019

5 Areas to Watch: Part 2

 

As early-stage technology investors, we see a wide range of companies working on game-changing businesses. This 5 Part Blog Series shares what our firm has been most intrigued by within the early-stage Enterprise B2B IT Infrastructure space in the first half of 2019.

Trends we noticed led to the 5 Areas to Watch which we’ll cover in this 5 Part Series:

Kubernetes Management

As Enterprises move towards implementing application containers, we think the orchestration war has been won by Kubernetes and all Enterprises will need to have a Kubernetes strategy in place. Firms like Gartner have predicted that by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 30% today. Most of the recent Enterprise feedback we’ve received matches these predictions and highlights an increasingly complex road to manage Enterprise-grade Kubernetes environments. 

We have come across 5 methods for how Enterprises are deploying Kubernetes:

  1. Do it Yourself – this option is less realistic today as Kubernetes is becoming a broad and complex technology, and it is difficult to devote significant resources to stay current with all the lifecycle management components. 
  2. Big 3 Cloud Providers – AWS (EKS), Azure (AKS) and GCP (GKE) are all heavily involved with this space. They are all working on providing offerings for Kubernetes deployments in hybrid environments (AWS Outpost, GCP Anthos, Azure Stack). However, the cloud piece in the hybrid environment will be limited to each vendors’ respective offering.
  3. Existing Providers – other large providers like Red Hat and VMWare have offerings in this space with Red Hat being farther down the road with market traction. These offerings allow customers to automate many of the core functions, plus provide embedded security and networking. However, the Kubernetes from these providers are often pre-curated and opinionated, sometimes not fully compatible with upstream Kubernetes, and tightly coupled with vendor’s other solutions with less flexibility for integration with enterprise’s existing services.
  4. SaaS Managed Hybrid/Multi-Cloud Providers – these independently managed products need to exist for enterprises to prevent points of commitment with large cloud vendors, as well as run applications on their native infrastructure. 
  5. Go through some Professional Service companies such as Marantis. The issue with this approach is Kubernetes is evolving very fast, enterprises often have to continue to spend money on services for upgrades and integrations. A product-centric and less service-centric approach is much preferred.

Sierra Ventures recently made an investment that falls under the 4th category. This company is building a SaaS platform that allows you to manage and deploy your containerized applications across all cloud and on-premise environments. We think companies like this are critical for Enterprises to solve issues around multi-cloud, hybrid, and edge environments while bringing simplicity to the table.

 

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