Weaveworks Raises $5 Million for Docker Container Networking

Containers need networking, and Weave is an open-source technology for stitching them together.


Weaveworks announced Dec. 3 that it has raised $5 million in a Series A round of funding that was led by Accel Partners. Weaveworks develops the open-source Weave project, which is a virtual networking technology for the distributed deployment of Docker containers.

Over the course of the past year, Docker has become a much-hyped technology for application virtualization using containers, winning the support of major IT vendors including VMware, Microsoft, Amazon and Red Hat, among others. While the open-source Docker engine provides a core set of capabilities, a market ecosystem of complementary and enabling technologies has emerged.

"Weave establishes per application Layer 2 networks for containers across hosts, even across cloud providers and other seemingly complex cases with minimum fuss," Alexis Richardson, CEO of Weaveworks, explained to eWEEK.

Weave's Github project page notes that, to application containers, the network established by Weave looks like a giant Ethernet switch to which all the containers are connected. Richardson added that over time Weave will become more than just an overlay network technology.

From a network services perspective, Weave currently includes the weaveDNS service; work is ongoing for additional services.

"If you look in our Github issue tracker, you will see we are working on dynamic IP address allocation," he said.

Richardson explained that the dynamic IP allocation capability is a bit like Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) but for distributed container apps.

"An IP network plus DNS plus address allocation is a really solid and coherent set of features for getting people moving faster with containers," he said.

From a deployment perspective, Weave itself is deployed as a container and runs on the server host on which Docker is running.

"Weave is designed so that application developers can have an inconceivably simple experience when delivering applications that require a network," Richardson said. "Previously, this would require a greater level of network understanding, and many use cases were only for experts."

While Weave today is focused on Docker, Richardson noted that the technology is modular and flexible. This week, CoreOS announced its Rocket container technology, targeting it as a competitor to Docker. Richardson commented that the core of Weave is independent of any specific container technology.

"So yes, you could certainly imagine Weave being a standard way to deliver key elements of customer applications for both Docker and Rocket," he said.

From a financial perspective, Richardson said that his company knows where it needs to invest and where it doesn't, which was a key part of raising the Series A funding round.

"Our team is experienced and delivered a detailed plan that was both focused and aggressive, especially with regard to product build-out and scaling up of the company, including building a USA presence," Richardson said.

Prior to starting up Weaveworks, Richardson was the founder and CEO of Rabbit Technologies, the company behind the popular RabbitMQ enterprise messaging platform. Rabbit was acquired by VMware's SpringSource division in 2010.

"Weaveworks represents a very rare concentration of talent and experience in the team, from both a technology and business creation perspective," Kevin Comolli, partner at Accel Partners, told eWEEK. "The team has delivered world-class products before [and] knows the problem space, the open-source business model and the application market as a whole."

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.