Rancher Labs Raises $10 Million for Docker Container Cloud Tech

VIDEO: Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, discusses how the open-source startup is building new technology to distribute and scale containers across the cloud.

Virtualization startup Rancher Labs today announced that it has raised a $10 million Series A round of funding from Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. Rancher Labs' founders are well-known in the cloud industry as the founders of cloud.com, which was sold to Citrix and evolved to become the Apache CloudStack cloud platform.

In an exclusive video interview with eWEEK, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, discusses what his new company is all about and how it aims to disrupt the market.

Williams explained that application management is now moving from an era where it was all about integration with lots of different APIs to being about taking resources from disparate sources.

Rancher Labs officially started in September 2014 and has several ongoing efforts. One of those efforts is Rancher OS, which Williams described as a micro distribution of Linux that is optimized for containers. Multiple vendors have container-optimized Linux distributions, including Core OS and Red Hat with its Project Atomic. Williams said that Rancher OS is different in a number of ways, including the fact that it does not use the systemd system initiation technology, which is used by Core OS and Red Hat. Rancher OS instead is using Docker as the initialization system.

"We saw that there was a lot of conflict between systemd and Docker," Williams said. "What makes Rancher OS cool is you can run whatever console you want or whatever version of syslog you want--everything is a container."

While Rancher OS provides a foundation, the core product for Rancher Labs is Rancher, an orchestration technology for containers across clouds. Both Rancher and Rancher OS are open-source projects, he said.

"What we really do is we take resources out of anywhere, physical or cloud, and we stitch those together into a consistent infrastructure set," Williams explained. "Then we do software-defined networking [SDN], automated load-balancing, service discovery and storage management, all for containers."

In Williams' view, the key disruption that Rancher Labs is bringing to the market is about enabling Docker to define application infrastructure, regardless of the cloud host.

"The disruption is that cloud really can become a commodity," he said.

Watch the full video interview with Shannon Williams below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. 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.