Fortune | May 19, 2016

Software Upstart Apprenda Buys Kismatic for Its Container Smarts

Tech providers are duking it out to monetize container management.

Apprenda, which offers businesses a way to build and run their own software on their own servers or on public cloud infrastructure, is buying Kismatic, a startup specializing in managing software containers, an important new development tool.

Terms were not disclosed, but Patrick Reilly, chief executive of Kismatic is now chief technology officer of Apprenda. By virtue of this deal, Apprenda, based in Troy, N.Y. with offices in New York City, also has a new presence in San Francisco, where Kismatic is based. Kismatic has raised venture capital funding in the “seven figure” range, sources said.

Kismatic is all about Kubernetes, an open source technology spun out of Google GOOG -1.22% as a way to help businesses manage Docker containers, which have become a popular way for developers to package up all the components of an application—the database, file system, etc.—so that the application becomes a sort of self-contained unit that can run almost anywhere.

In a related move, Apprenda will now field a commercial version for Kubernetes with support subscriptions. “Apprenda will also take the lead in building out Windows support for Kubernetes, which has been Linux focused,” said Sinclair Schuller, chief executive of Apprenda.

That makes sense. Apprenda got its start as a software development environment optimized for Windows and Microsoft’s software framework .NET, which companies could run in their own data centers. Over the years, it’s added support for the Java universe and other key technologies. In March, Apprenda shifted to support Kubernetes in a big way, and now it’s bought a Kubernetes player.

Apprenda claims some big customers, including Boeing and JPMorgan Chase . But it also faces massive competitors in what techies refer to the Platform-as-a-Service market. IBM, HP Enterprise, and Pivotal, a spinout of EMC and VMware, offer their own flavors of the open source Cloud Foundry platform.

Schuller stresses a critical distinction between Apprenda and Cloud Foundry, most notably Pivotal CF, is that Pivotal is all about new born-to-the-Web applications while Apprenda accommodates companies with older, legacy applications that they won’t replace any time soon as well as new applications.

Still, it is what most would call a dynamic market. Pivotal has huge backers beyond its parent companies, which also include General Electric and Ford, the latter of which just led a massive $253 million investment round that also drew money from Microsoft.