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As with many successful open-source projects, Kubernetes has spawned an ecosystem of products and commercial companies, spanning everything from security to troubleshooting. One of those companies is Akuity, which hails from the co-creators of Argo, a popular open-source toolset used by Google, Tesla, Red Hat, and more, to orchestrate their application delivery on Kubernetes.
Kubernetes likely needs little in the way of introduction, having emerged as one of technology’s most popular and powerful open-source projects — essentially, Kubernetes helps engineering teams increase their velocity and agility by automating many of the processes involved in managing containerized applications.
Argo, for its part, emerged on the open-source scene back in 2017 while software engineers Hong Wang and Jesse Suen were working at a Kubernetes-focused company called Applatix. Intuit then acquired Applatix the following year, with Wang and Suen eventually leaving to focus their efforts on developing Argo into a thriving community-driven project with commercial potential. And that, essentially, is what Akuity is all about.
Under the hood
Accessible via a user interface and command-line interface, Argo constitutes a bundle of projects for managing clusters, running workflows and getting the most out of Kubernetes. This includes a continuous delivery tool called Argo CD and a Kubernetes controller called Argo Rollouts, which enables companies to introduce updates to Kubernetes applications incrementally.
On the commercial side, Akuity offers a fully-managed CD tool (currently in beta) for Kubernetes that can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises, and an enterprise-grade incarnation that includes a slew of additional features and services on top of the main open-source Argo project, such as disaster recovery and service-level agreements (SLAs).
The company’s fresh cash injection comes less than a year after Akuity exited stealth with a small tranche of seed funding, and the Sunnyvale, California-based company already has stiff competition in the form of Codefresh, another venture-backed company that’s commercializing Argo.
However, given that Akuity is spearheaded by the original Argo creators — with another of the project’s co-creators, Alexander Matyushentsev, recently joining as chief architect — this arguably gives Akuity a little bit of an edge, even if it’s at an earlier stage in its journey.
“As the original creators of Argo, and through operating the software suite for 4,000 developers at Intuit, no other company has the deepest knowledge and understanding of the product, use cases and pain points accumulated over the course of the past six years,” cofounder and CTO Jesse Suen told VentureBeat. “We want to leverage our experience and focus on solving the most critical unsolved problems in the devops space that complement and enhance the Argo experience.”
The core Akuity Platform remains a closed-beta product for now, with general availability expected later in 2022. And that is pretty much where the new $20 million investment will help.
“The additional funds will enable us not only to launch the Akuity Platform, but also make Argo even better,” Suen said. “Open source is in our DNA, and we are 100% committed to making Argo the most successful project for Kubernetes.”
While CEO Hong Wang said that the company does have real, paying customers already, he wouldn’t confirm any specific client names.
“Since launching our company last October, we have closed several Fortune 1000 company deals — more deals are currently in the pricing-conversation phase,” Wang said.
Akuity’s series A round was led by Lead Edge Capital and Decibel Partners, with participation from numerous angel investors.
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