Overclock Labs bets on Kubernetes to help companies automate their cloud infrastructure

Overclock Labs wants to make it easier for developers to deploy and manage their applications across clouds. To do so, the company is building tools to automate distributed cloud infrastructure and, unsurprisingly, it is betting on containers — and specifically the Kubernetes container orchestration tools — to do this.

Today, Overclock Labs, which was founded two years ago, is coming out of stealth and announcing that it raised a $1.3 million seed round from a number of Silicon Valley angel investors and CrunchFund — the fund that shares a bit of its name and history with TechCrunch but is otherwise completely unaffiliated with the blog you are currently reading.

So far, the company used this previously undisclosed funding round to develop DISCO, which stands for Decentralized Infrastructure for Serverless Computing Operations. You may see the word “serverless” in there and think: so this is like an event-driven service like AWS Lambda or Azure Functions? And nobody would blame you for thinking that, but as Overclock Labs co-founders Greg Osuri (CEO) and Greg Gopman (COO) told me, in their view, the goal of “serverless” is about being fully automated (the company’s third co-founder is Adam Bozanich). Lambda does this at the real-time level for event-driven applications, but DISCO, which is going to be open source, aims to offer support for a wider range of applications.

The general idea here, Osuri told me, is to build a platform that allows you to work with any cloud service provider and allows you to easily move between clouds. The developer experience, he said, should be somewhat like using Heroku and the team is building both a graphical interface as well as a smart command-line tool for the service.

For now, the tool supports AWS, the Google Cloud Platform and bare-metal specialist Packet, but the team tells me that it expects to support other clouds in the near future. Because DISCO is open source, others can also easily build their own integrations.

To deploy applications with DISCO, developers can choose two routes: If they are building according to the 12-factor app philosophy, then DISCO can simply take the source code and deploy the app for them, or they can simply build their own containers and hand them over to DISCO for deployment. The system then handles the container registry and manages the containers for them.

The promise of DISCO is that it will make deploying applications as easy as using a service like Heroku, but for maybe a third of the cost. Osuri and Gopman previously built AngelHack together and have extensive experience in building open-source tools and working inside open-source ecosystems. It’s no surprise, then, that they plan to open source the DISCO tool and then build premium services on top of that.

What exactly these premium services will look like remains to be seen, but the first order of business for the company is now to release DISCO within the next few months and then build an ecosystem around it.

That’s easier said than done, especially in an age where it can feel like a new high-profile open-source project launches daily, but the founders are quite realistic about what the process will look like. They also admitted that they don’t expect to be the only players in this space — with Kubernetes, the basic building blocks for this automated infrastructure are available to anybody, after all (and with AWS re:Invent around the corner, I’m sure we’ll hear from other competitors in the next week or two). They do, however, think they are launching early enough to become one of the bigger players.