Docker isn't waiting for its war chest to be drawn down so that it has to seek another round of venture capital to continue its rapid expansion. It added $95 million to the $40 million it collected last September -- and the $15 million it collected in January 2014 -- bringing its total funding to $150 million, plus early seed money.
Notable among the backers in this round of financing was Goldman Sachs' venture unit. Docker CEO Ben Golub said in an interview with InformationWeek that the initiative to back Docker came out of the Goldman Sachs IT department, which urged the venture capital investors at Goldman to sign up.
"When our engineers discovered and started using Docker’s open source platform, they were immediately impressed by the portability it provides applications. It inspired us to move towards a standardized infrastructure for packaging, shipping and running our applications based on Docker’s technology,” said Don Duet, global co-head of the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs, in the funding announcement.
Golub spoke with InformationWeek at Docker's newly remodeled San Francisco offices, into which the company moved at the end of December. "We're raising our D round while we still have plenty of money left over from our C round," said Golub. During its C round of funding, Docker had 60 employees. It now has 120, and plans to continue expanding at that pace. It moved at the end of 2014 from 5,000 square feet of space to 18,000 square feet in San Francisco's startup district South of Market.
Golub said Docker isn't going to over-hire staff or over-expand its code projects. It would continue to discriminate in what it was trying to do, in the manner of successful startups. But he said he was taking some cues from the escalating downloads of the Docker platform with the Docker container engine in it; they've totaled 150 million since Docker first became available.
Golub said the Docker community of code contributors, and its list of partners seeking integration and co-development projects, continued to grow as well. They include IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and VMware. All support use of the Docker's Linux container format in their public cloud environments.
[Want to learn more about Docker's expansion? See Microsoft Brings Docker Containers To Azure, .Net developers.]
"It's always good for a startup to stay focused. But we want to make sure we can grow as fast as we need to for the opportunity that's in front of us," Golub added.
Goldman Sachs' participation means one of the primary backers of the Open Compute Project sees Docker as core to building out its commoditized, x86 infrastructure of the future. Goldman and Fidelity Investments are basing future data centers on the principal that standardized designs, in the public arena, can lead to easy-to-manage, uniform infrastructure from multiple suppliers.
"The ability to manage and run business-critical technology at scale in an agile and adaptive ecosystem has become fundamental to our firm," Duet added. With Docker containers as a standard, a financial services firm can move toward frequently updated applications that exist as a number of separate pieces in its data center, or across several data centers, including the public cloud.
Linux containers neutralize some of the difficulty of moving application code between environments by putting it in standard packaging that tells the host on which it lands what it needs.
Although they grew out of the Linux environment, containers are operating-system neutral and in the future will work with Microsoft's next version of Windows Server. In each case, a minimal footprint version of the operating system is needed on a host to work with the application and operating system elements included in layers in the container.
Golub said many companies are giving Docker a try because it enables applications consisting of loosely coupled parts, each in its own container, but able to run on a wide variety of x86 infrastructure. "That makes it much easier to move around on-premises or from on-premises into the cloud," he said.
The D round financing was led by Insight Venture Partners, with a contribution from Coatue and Northern Trust, also new participants along with Goldman Sachs. Existing investors Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Trinity Ventures, and Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures also participated in the round.
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