Cloud darling Docker gets $40M in funding to push its container technology

Docker, the company that backs the open source Docker container platform, announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $40 million Series C funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $66 million. Sequoia Capital led the investment along with existing investors Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, Insight Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Jerry Yang.

This current round of funding highlights just how important Docker’s take on container technology is perceived to be among investors and the tech community; in early August, two sources familiar with the funding round described Docker’s valuation at around $400 million. Docker has not disclosed its current valuation.

The container-management startup has captured the attention of the cloud world this summer with numerous big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and VMware showing support for the startup by ensuring that their own platforms are compatible with Docker’s container technology.

What makes Docker so big right now is the potential that container technology could bring to application development, as well as how it could make it possible for companies to have more efficient and better-performing operational infrastructure, the likes of which are seen at [company]Google[/company] and elsewhere around the web.

Graphic showing the Docker engine

A mini startup ecosystem has started to emerge around [company]Docker[/company] as well, with [company]CoreOS[/company] and its custom Linux operating systems that power Docker containers gaining a lot of attention by developers. Startups like ClusterHQ and ElasticBox have been busy launching container orchestration tools to help make managing several Docker containers less of a hassle, and even telecommunications firm CenturyLink has developed one.

Developers can benefit by using containers — essentially, a type of virtualization technology that allows for multiple applications to run on the same host Linux OS kernel without impacting each other — to help them craft modern-day software applications, which are generally comprised of many different components distributed across several cloud servers. With their applications tucked away in the shell of a virtual container, Docker’s platform makes it easier for developers to deploy their applications across many different environments without having to worry that one particular component of an application — like a database — will impact another component.

In an interview with Gigaom in June, Docker CEO Ben Golub told me that Docker solves this “matrix from hell.”

Docker eliminates the matrix from Hell
Graphic of matrix of Hell. Source: Docker

Golub also said that with containers, it’s possible for companies to see their operational workloads end up being 20-80 percent lighter than using only virtual machines, because unlike with virtual machines, a user doesn’t have to spin up multiple operating systems for each application.

The company says that the Docker platform has been downloaded 21 million times and its Docker Hub now houses over 35,000 Docker-centric applications.

Sequoia Capital partner Bill Coughran, who was a Google senior vice president of engineering for over eight years, will be joining Docker’s board.