July 24, 2017

I’m sure it’s not news to you that containers are a hot concept. If you were looking for proof or validation of that fact, though, look no further than the news that Microsoft is acquiring Deis—a company focused on helping customers build and maintain container ecosystems.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, discussed the acquisition of Deis in a blog post. “At Microsoft, we’ve seen explosive growth in both interest and deployment of containerized workloads on Azure, and we’re committed to ensuring Azure is the best place to run them. To support this vision, we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Deis – a company that has been at the center of the container transformation.”

Deis CTO, Gabe Monroy, also wrote a blog post announcing the news. “Microsoft has a storied history of building tools and technologies that work for developers,” he wrote. “Paired with their cloud leadership and unambiguous support for open source software, we are impressed by the breadth, depth and reach of Microsoft to help define, shape and build new cloud-native applications.”

If you haven’t heard of Deis, you’re not alone. Docker, Chef, Puppet, Jenkins and other dominant tools get most of the attention, but DevOps and containers have also created an explosion of smaller companies seeking to fill niche roles or solve specific problems.

“The Deis acquisition again signals Microsoft’s dedication to the cloud native developer community,” said Dave Bartoletti, principal analyst for Forrester. “Deis was not a large company, nor does it bring a large set of clients, but the Deis team very early on embraced Docker and Kubernetes, and those skills are in short supply.

“I expect Microsoft will leverage the skills and experience of the Deis team to help customers adopt cloud-native architectures. This was probably more of a skills acquisition than a platform buy,” he added.

Monroy said: “We will continue our contributions to Workflow, Helm and Steward and look forward to maintaining our deep engagement with the Kubernetes community. The future of open source infrastructure at Microsoft is very bright.”

I expect that Microsoft will, in fact, try to incorporate the tools and solutions that Deis brings to the table into the Azure containers experience. As Bartoletti pointed out, though, the pool of talent and the potential for developing entirely new solutions around Azure and containers is ultimately the more important facet of the Deis acquisition.

“We expect Deis’ technology to make it even easier for customers to work with our existing container portfolio including Linux and Windows Server Containers, Hyper-V Containers and Azure Container Service, no matter what tools they choose to use,” Guthrie said.

Acquiring Deis is simultaneously a validation of the important role that DevOps and containers play in today’s tech landscape, and a sign of Microsoft’s continuing transformation under Satya Nadella. Microsoft has made a number of moves to embrace open source and establish the Azure platform as a leader for open source, DevOps and containers. The Deis acquisition simply continues that trend.

Tony Bradley is a social media, community, and content marketing wizard--and also Editor-in-Chief of TechSpective. Tony has a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security. He also loves spending time with his family and likes to think he enjoys reading and golf even though he never finds the time for either.