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Docker today announced that it has acquired Tutum, a startup that offers a web service for building, deploying, and managing applications packaged up into containers.

Tutum was one of first startups to build on the trendy container technology that Docker released under an open-source license in 2013. Initially, Tutum provided infrastructure for hosting container-based applications, but after picking up venture capital funding last year, Tutum ditched that service (incidentally, so did Docker) and directed its focus toward container deployment and management.

The Docker team discovered that Tutum’s users have found it easy to start using Tutum’s service and then deploy applications very quickly, Docker chief executive Ben Golub told VentureBeat in an interview.

“If they had any concerns, it was that they wanted to be consuming Tutum with the confidence that it was backed by a larger company with greater resources,” Golub said.


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And Docker is that, among other things. Docker, CoreOS, and Mesosphere are all looking to provide the best tools for deploying applications with an eye toward economics, efficiency, and scale. Containers are a lightweight alternative to more traditional virtual machines, and virtual machine pioneer VMware has partnered with Docker, CoreOS, and Mesosphere. (Microsoft, another virtualization software provider, has also announced partnerships with Docker and Mesosphere.) Now Docker has a wider toolset in its quest for mindshare and market share.

Previous Docker acquisitions include Kitematic, Koality, Orchard, and SocketPlane.

With the acquisition of Tutum, Docker is gaining a first-party multi-cloud container deployment system. Making it easy to run applications across clouds has been one of the great value propositions of the Docker open-source technology. (The Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services have their own container registries; IBM is a reseller of the Docker Trusted Registry.)

The question is whether Tutum, which has long been in beta and doesn’t charge for its service, will be able to become a moneymaker at Docker and help justify its billion-dollar valuation.

The Tutum service will live on, with support for more clouds coming in the future, Tutum cofounder and chief executive Borja Burgos-Galindo told VentureBeat. It’s possible that the Tutum service will be able to work in companies’ on-premises infrastructure, just like the Docker Trusted Registry, Golub said.

Tutum started in 2013 and was based in New York. All 11 of Tutum’s employees will start working out of Docker headquarters in San Francisco. Tutum’s investors include RTP Ventures, Azure Capital Partners, and Ted Dziuba.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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