HPE and Microsoft Back Data Center Startup Mesosphere

Enterprise IT giants join Silicon Valley VC heavyweights in $73.5M funding round

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

March 24, 2016

2 Min Read
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in New York City in November, 2015.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in New York City in November, 2015.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Mesosphere, the data center startup commercializing open source technology that powers data centers for some of the most popular tech companies, including Apple, Netflix, Twitter, eBay, and Uber, has scored official backing from two giants in the enterprise data center space: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft.

HPE and Microsoft joined Mesosphere’s latest funding round, a $73.5 million Series C, which also included among others the startup’s previous backers, Silicon Valley venture capital heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures. Mesosphere announced the round, which HPE led, in a blog post Thursday.

Investment by the two big vendors is “strategic,” which usually means the investors plan to take advantage of the startup’s technology in a big way. In Mesosphere’s case, it could mean package deals with enterprise customers, where its product is integrated with other technology the giants sell.

Microsoft and HPE sell into most enterprise data center users and have long and deep relationships in that enormous IT market. For a startup like Mesosphere, the ability to leverage those relationships is a big advantage.

Last year, Microsoft reportedly indicated interest in acquiring Mesosphere.

Put simply, the startup's product, called the Datacenter Operating System, or DCOS, abstracts whatever mix of computing resources an IT organization has, be they bare-metal servers, virtual machines, or cloud VMs, presenting them all as a single virtual pool of compute. This simplifies IT management and deployment of applications.

Mesosphere has also expanded its technology set to provide a full solution for automating data center infrastructure to enable continuous software integration and development process using Docker containers.

At the heart of DCOS is Apache Mesos, the open source software for managing clusters of servers. Mesos was the result of a research project by computer science students at the University of California, Berkeley, which started in the late 2000s.

Mesosphere’s product is a platform that makes Mesos easier to use for enterprise IT shops. The startup combines and integrates it with other proprietary and open source technologies, such as Docker containers, Apache Cassandra (the distributed database management system), HDFS (the file system for storing data on large server clusters), Apache Spark (the processing framework for real-time data analytics), and Marathon (Mesosphere’s own open source Docker container orchestration platform).

The announcement is a step up in Mesosphere’s already existing relationship with Microsoft. DCOS has been available as a beta service on the giant’s Azure cloud since last year, and Microsoft’s cloud container orchestration service, Azure Container Service, was built together with Mesosphere using Mesos and Marathon.

Read more: Mesosphere’s Data Center OS Comes to Azure and AWS

Also on Thursday, Mesosphere announced the release of production-ready Marathon 1.0.

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