Stealthy Startup Says It Can Build Safer Software

Said Ziouani, co-founder and CEO of Anchore
Photo courtesy of Anchore

Saïd Ziouani, one of the forces behind Ansible, the tool that helps automate software development and deployment, is back with a new company.

Anchore, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., is making its debut Wednesday with $2.5 million in seed money and what it says is a new way to inspect, track, and secure software containers.

For non-techies, containers, as exemplified by Docker, are a relatively new way to package up all the components of a software application—the file system, the tools, the core runtime—in a nice bundle that can then, theoretically, run on any sort of infrastructure—in a company’s own data center or out there on some public cloud—without a lot of muss and fuss.

Containers are thus the building blocks of new-age applications, and tools like Mesosphere and Kubernetes manage and direct how those building blocks are arranged.

But Anchore, Ziouani said, will attack a different problem—making sure that what’s in the container itself—the runtime, the tools, the file system—are up to snuff before the container goes into full production.

“We’re opening up the box,” he noted. “We can tell exactly where it came from, who touched it and if it’s ready for mission-critical production environment or not.”

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“It’s the wild, wild west out there. People love containers but there is often uncertainty about deploying them in production. We address that,” he told Fortune.

An early version of the software, which will be made available as a subscription service, has been tested by a couple unnamed “Fortune 10” companies, Ziouani said. A fuller test version of the product should be out in the second quarter (developers can sign up for that now). General availability is expected this year.

Docker, CoreOS, and Mesosphere have components that do some of what Anchore promises, but Ziouani said users of those tools will also want to use Anchore to give them a view into the container from its creation till its deployment in a production environment.

Polyverse, another startup that’s taking a containery approach to security, also announced $2 million in funding this week, according to Geekwire.

Anchore’s other co-founders are Dan Nurmi and Tim Gerla. Nurmi co-founded Eucalyptus Systems, a maker of private cloud software that was purchased by Hewlett-Packard (HPE) two years ago. Gerla was a co-founder of Ansible, which Red Hat (RHT) acquired last year for a reported $150 million. He is Anchore’s head of products.

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Anchore will also help companies run their containerized applications consistently whether they’re deployed on in-house servers or outside on an Amazon Web Services or other public cloud.

“Fortune 100 companies have to bring a lot of applications in-house and thus create their own repositories inside their firewalls,” Ziouani said. “That creates a discrepancy between what’s running there and what’s running outside. We fill that gap and let you use the best and latest containers on both sides.”

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Anchore’s seed money comes from Doug Carlisle, managing director of Menlo Ventures, and Andreas von Blottnitz, managing director of e-Ventures, both of whom also backed Ansible.


This story was updated at 11:57 a.m. EDT to include mention of Polyverse’s funding.

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