Docker, Inc., the commercial company behind the open source Docker project, announced today it had sold its dotCloud Platform as a Service business to Berlin-based cloudControl. The deal allows Docker to focus on its core software containerization business.
Docker CEO Ben Golub told TechCrunch the company wanted to concentrate on the Docker part of the business. “At a high level, what we have seen is a tremendous uptake in Docker over the last 18 months. It’s gotten to the point, where we need to focus all our energy and resources on it, and we wanted to find a home for the dotCloud product that would be worthy of the customers,” he explained.
Golub said they went looking for a buyer who would meet some very strict criteria. First of all, they wanted it to be another PaaS vendor who was highly regarded in the market, and they wanted someone who would continue to maintain the platform, not just make a grab for the platform’s 500 customers.
In a blog post on the dotCloud website, Developer Support Manager Andrew Rothfus confirmed the purchase writing, “Today I am happy to announce that the dotCloud Platform as a Service has been acquired by the US subsidiary of cloudControl GmbH, a German PaaS provider who is expanding into the United States.”
The blog post goes onto say that the company will keep its name and as you would expect in these cases, they worked to reassure customers that there would be business continuity and they would make every attempt to integrate smoothly with their new corporate parent.
Golub added, “They are big in Europe and they wanted to expand into US and this is how they can do it.”
Docker has been hot lately as containerization technology and has captured the imagination of developers. A June article in TechCrunch described Docker as follows:
“Docker 1.0 is another product that takes advantage of containerization techniques developed by Google, in this case, providing a safe way to distribute applications without breaking them every time you make a change or move to a different stage of the development cycle.”
As for dotCloud, it wasn’t part of the mission and they saw an opportunity to sell it and took it. For the Berlin startup cloudControl, the deal looks like it makes a lot of sense. Both companies focus on Platform as a Service. Both boast about being able to deploy, manage and scale apps in the cloud. The two companies seem to be a good match and dotCloud gives cloudControl instant growth in the form of dotCloud’s customers, and an instant foothold in the US market.
As the blog post stated, there was a lot of uncertainty around dotCloud anyway when the company was rebranded as Docker, Inc. This move gives the dotCloud customers a more committed company that is focused completely on Platform as a Service and they should benefit from that in the long run.
Golub said that Docker is up to 50 people now, of which four have been dedicated to the dotCloud product. They will continue to be Docker employees and help dotCloud for 90 days during the ownership transition and will slowly taper off and move into Docker positions full time.
Golub wouldn’t disclose how much the deal was for, but overall he said, it was less about the money and more about finding a good home for their dotCloud customers. “It’s an interesting transaction, but the primary value was finding a the good home for customers so we could concentrate on Docker.