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Today marks the launch of a startup called StackEngine. The nascent company is revealing software for managing the use of the popular open-source Docker technology for developing and deploying applications.

And it’s pulling the covers off a $1 million initial funding round that will help the company get ready to make the software available to all later this year.

Docker has become a hotly discussed technology in developer circles, because its containers for holding code can eliminate the need to rejigger applications as they move from one server to another, which speeds up development. But operations people don’t always know which servers are running Docker containers and how those servers are doing. That’s where StackEngine sees a place to fit in to the emergent Docker world.

“Now ops [operations people] need to figure out how to take [Docker] to the last mile, into the red zone, and score,” Bob Quillin, chief executive and a co-founder of the startup, said in an interview with VentureBeat.

In the quest to manage the use of Docker, other companies could one day compete with StackEngine — not least of all Docker. Yet for now Docker seems more intent on making Docker easy for developers to adopt.

“There will be competitive aspects to what we do eventually,” Quillin said.

As for the Google and Microsoft-supported Kubernetes cluster manager for handling Linux containers such as Docker, and the Apache Mesos cluster manager that Mesosphere supports, they’ll be able to play well with StackEngine, Quillin said. And as for CoreOS, which supplies a server operating system that handles Docker containers, its tools can help developers. At the moment, it don’t pose a competitive threat to StackEngine either, Quillin said.

StackEngine comes in after developers have adopted Docker, when teams need to know the health of their infrastructure and set rules about where containers end up running. That tooling is alive and well for other systems that run multiple applications on each physical server. But the days are still early for Docker, and there’s room for multiple options.

“Will Docker have to build management solutions similar to how VMware built vCenter? They will have to do that eventually,” Quillin said. “It doesn’t exist today. We’re coming in at this level.”

Companies will be able to run StackEngine’s software as a cloud service or in their own data centers.

Silverton Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners participated in the seed round in StackEngine, which started earlier this year and is based in Austin, Texas. Five people work there now, and the workforce should double within nine months, Quillin said.


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