Docker Sells Its dotCloud Legacy to PaaS Vendor

Docker sells its platform-as-a-service business to cloudControl to ensure that "dotCloud PaaS customers have a good home with an experienced PaaS provider."


The popular open-source Docker container virtualization technology was born inside a company originally known as dotCloud. Docker Inc. today announced that it is shedding its legacy and selling the dotCloud business to German platform-as-a-service vendor cloudControl. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

"While the financial value is meaningful, Docker's primary interest is ensuring that dotCloud PaaS customers have a good home with an experienced PaaS provider who provides a smooth transition and is interested in making long-term investments in the platform," Ben Golub, Docker's CEO, told eWEEK. "This will also clearly allow us to focus 100 percent of our efforts on Docker."

Proceeds from the sale of the dotCloud assets will be reinvested into Docker, Golub said. As a company, dotCloud raised an $800,000 seed round in December 2010 and $10 million in early 2011. In January 2014, the renamed Docker Inc. raised $15 million in a Series B round of funding.

The primary business of dotCloud, which was founded in 2008, was originally PaaS, but that started to change in 2013 with the rise of Docker. The Docker project within dotCloud officially got started in March 2013, and within months dotCloud had already realized that it was important. In October 2013, dotCloud Inc. renamed itself Docker Inc. and pledged to focus on building out the Docker technology, though the company said it would still offer PaaS services under the dotCloud brand name.

As to why Docker decided to sell the dotCloud business to cloudControl, Golub said the chief criteria was to find an experienced PaaS provider with a great reputation and the willingness to take over and invest in the dotCloud PaaS platform directly.

"We identified a handful who met these criteria, but cloudControl stood out based on their years of experience as a PaaS provider, the capabilities of their platform, their technical acumen and their reputation for providing excellent service," he said.

Docker technology was born at dotCloud as means to more efficiently deliver PaaS and virtualized applications. Golub noted that while a number of newer PaaS companies are using Docker, cloudControl is not. According to Golub, cloudControl currently uses LXC (Linux Containers), although the company is investigating the use of Docker. Docker can leverage LXC as a base for containers as well, though Docker adds additional capabilities.

"The dotCloud PaaS platform itself will be taken over, so there will be no need for customers to make any technical changes or migrations in the near term," Golub said. "There is certainly the potential for future business synergies between cloudControl and Docker, but our primary focus right now is in making a smooth transition for dotCloud PaaS customers."

For Docker, its business now is squarely focused on building out its own virtualization container business. With the release of Docker 1.0 in June of this year, the company also announced commercial support and services, including the Docker Hub for private repositories. Although Docker Inc. has sold its PaaS business, the Docker Hub will not be impacted.

"Docker Hub and private repos are hosted on separate infrastructure from the dotCloud PaaS," Golub said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.