August 31, 2021 | Investment Themes

Doubling Down on Kubernetes Operations: Why We Love Rafay

Greg Sands

Written by

Greg Sands

It’s an exciting day to see Rafay’s vision of a complete Kubernetes operations platform delivered. Finally, modern enterprises are building and deploying applications built on microservices and deployed in the cloud at the rate the industry has been predicting for years. Rafay has delivered a modern operations platform that enables companies and teams to deploy faster, reduce downtime and eliminate security and compliance risk. It’s now the right product at the right time.

But I always like to go back to the beginning.  I met co-founder/CEO Haseeb Bhudani while he was raising capital for Soha, which was later acquired by Akamai. I loved his energy, creativity, and drive – and I made a note to myself to stay in touch.  A couple of years later, I saw him change his LinkedIn profile and reached out. 

We met the next day.  

He and co-founder Hemanth Kavuluru were riffing on ideas to help companies manage modern infrastructure, an area I’ve been actively investing in as infrastructure has continued to evolve.   Within a week of my seeing their vision outlined on a whiteboard (they didn’t even have slides yet), we agreed to lead Rafay’s Seed financing with participation from Ammar Hanafi at Moment Ventures (an investor in Soha.) Rafay was off to the races.

But for all the hype about microservices and Kubernetes, it took a lot longer for the industry to achieve scale deployments than we all expected back in late 2017. What happened? 

First,  a lot of pilot projects were announced with great fanfare that weren’t production applications. Second, initial production deployments didn’t have the scale or complexity (multi-cloud or hybrid cloud) to require an operations platform. 

But as deployments began to grow quickly over the last few years, Engineering and DevOps teams hit the tsunami of complexity, cost and resource limitations. Deployments were in multiple AWS regions.  Applications began to span multiple clouds. Hybrid applications were delivered where key components were in on premises or in data centers but new elements were deployed in the cloud. Microservices proliferated such that they didn’t know what they had or how to monitor or manage them. And no one could hire enough people with Kubernetes experience. All of these factors make it crucially important to have a modern operations platform to deliver reliability, performance, compliance and security across this micro-services, cloud-based infrastructure. 

That’s where Rafay came in to help both cloud native start ups and traditional enterprise address these challenges. Having started with Kubernetes, it has now broadened and matured into a full operations platform that works seamlessly across any infrastructure while making managed Kubernetes Services such as Amazon EKS and Microsoft AKS and packaged offerings like VMWare Tanzu and RedHat OpenShift even better.

Today, we’re announcing Rafay’s $25m Series B financing led by ForgePoint Capital. I’m thrilled to see the realization of Haseeb and Hemanth’s vision from that whiteboard. I’ve been inspired watching them deliver the initial product, get to market, and evolve as the industry has confronted the challenges hampering Kubernetes adoption. We’ve seen the business take off as both Rafay and the ecosystem around it matured.  And I’m most excited about what I (alone, I think) call KubeOps, a holistic Kubernetes Operations platform.

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