Loft Labs promises self-service Kubernetes access for all developers

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Kubernetes has revolutionized the way businesses build, test, deploy, and scale their applications. Released from Google’s coffers in 2014, the container orchestration platform has been adopted by businesses small and large, from Box and BlackRock to IBM and Spotify.

As one of the most popular open source projects in the world, Kubernetes is used to automate many resource-intensive manual processes involved in managing containerized applications. Containers are software packages that contain all of the components needed to deploy applications in public and hybrid clouds, on-premises data centers, anywhere. They ensure that an application works in all environments. Additionally, Kubernetes is helping to accelerate development speed and agility as businesses increasingly migrate to cloud-based software architecture and microservices.

But when a company claims to have “adopted Kubernetes,” that probably means that a dozen people in its IT department, rather than developers, have access to Kubernetes to run the production system. That leaves hundreds or thousands of engineers in a company building software that could also run on Kubernetes right off the bat, but it doesn’t.

That’s something Loft Labs is looking to solve, with a suite of commercial, open-source products that promise “truly cloud-native engineering practices,” including unhindered self-service access to Kubernetes. And to help expand its reach into developer teams of all sizes, Loft Labs announced initial funding of $ 4.6 million this week.

“Today, IT typically has to manually provide resources to software engineers and developers, or the company doesn’t give engineers any access to cloud resources,” Lukas Gentele, co-founder and CEO of Loft Labs, told VentureBeat . “Most of the software engineering is done entirely on the developer’s laptop, but applications are increasingly designed to be scalable and run in the cloud in a distributed fashion. This makes it very difficult for developers to work on their local laptop.

Open Sesame

Founded in San Francisco in 2019, Loft Labs has opened several Kubernetes projects, including the DevSpace developer tool, which is a Docker-Compose alternative that helps engineers build, test, and debug applications in Kubernetes; Kiosk, which adds multi-tenancy functionality to Kubernetes clusters; JSPolicy, a JavaScript-based policy engine; and Vcluster, a virtual cluster tool that helps engineers create lightweight virtual Kubernetes clusters (namespaces) that run in an underlying Kubernetes cluster.

By combining these different open source components, the company’s commercial product, known simply as Loft, launched last August, enables companies to “extend self-service access” to Kubernetes for all. the engineering workforce.

While the various open source projects are offered through a command line interface (CLI) or an application programming interface (API), the Loft business entity introduces a graphical user interface (GUI) and a bunch of premium features. additional, including multi-cloud and multi-. Cluster support, single sign-on, audit logging to support security workflows on all open source components and robust service level agreements (SLAs).

Above: Loft: Manage development Kubernetes clusters

With Loft, companies can give their engineers direct access to cloud resources through a self-service Kubernetes offering, allowing developers to provision their own IT resources without much thought on the IT side.

“Giving software developers on-demand access to code-ready development environments in Kubernetes enables them to build better software from the start,” said Gentele. “So Loft, ultimately, increases developer productivity and software quality by giving developers direct access to cloud-native development environments where they can validate and repeatedly test their code as early in the process as possible. development process. “

Traction

Loft Labs claims a number of Fortune 500 companies as customers, including “one of the world’s largest automakers” and a major US financial institution. In terms of customers, however, he is ready to verify names including Gusto, Urbint and HqO.

But it was this early traction, along with its revenue growth, that enabled Loft Labs to raise $ 4.6 million in seed funding led by Fusion Fund, a early stage venture capital fund that has previously supported Elon Musk’s Lyft and SpaceX. Other investors in the cycle include RTP Seed, Emergent Ventures, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, and Puppet CTO Abby Kearns.

It’s certainly true that if you want to know what’s going on in tech, follow the money. Kubernetes has boosted a thriving ecosystem of business companies, and investors have shown they can’t wait to join in the fun – last month, Kubernetes’ operations management platform Rafay raised $ 25 million . And over the past year, many companies in the Kubernetes space have gained the attention of larger tech companies, including New Relic, which has taken over the Kubernetes Pixie Labs observability platform; Red Hat, which bought out security startup Kubernetes StackRox; Rapid7, which acquired Alcide; and Cisco, which bought not one but two Kubernetes companies.

Elsewhere, there’s even a dedicated startup accelerator and incubator called Kubeshop, majority owned by Insight Partners and Veeam co-founder Ratmir Timashev, which serves as a Kubernetes product pipeline by “nurturing and funding” open source software development.

According to Gentele, it’s the “accelerated pace of Kubernetes adoption” across this spectrum that is sinking those dollars. “It is quickly becoming the de facto IT resource and companies are stepping up their investments in Kubernetes technologies,” he explained. “In previous years, Kubernetes was more of a topic of exploration and research for a lot of companies, but companies are now starting to really double down and want to deploy Kubernetes internally much more comprehensively than for a few teams.”

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