Rebooting the composable PaaS



  • Hewlett Packard Pathfinder invests in Agile Stacks, DevOps Automation Platform
  • Agile Stacks aligns with our vision for hybrid cloud powered by DevOps automation so customers are free to choose from their infrastructure, applications and tools

HPE Pathfinder’s investment in Agile Stacks affords us the opportunity to redefine a category

My investment philosophy and personal drive is always envisioning where enterprises need technologies to remain competitive. This led me to cloud six years ago then to the new stack and edge most recently. Moving over to HPE was a triumph of personal and professional ambitions, executed with ideal timing. The opportunity to lead an investing team which makes category leading investments across the stack from edge to cloud -with HPE as a powerhouse- was too interesting to pass up.

Pathfinder’s model is central to Antonio Neri’s three pronged vision for innovation at HPE: organic, acquisitions, and partnerships. As the investment and solutions arm of HPE, our modus operandi is looking primarily across HPE’s two strategic pillars: Hybrid IT (infrastructure, cloud, applications) and Intelligent Edge (to be covered in a future post). Hybrid IT encapsulates all the big and small changes happening around the new stack creating thematic areas within which we will invest: from adoption of microservices based architectures, DevSecOps, transition to containers and eventually serverless as a mainstream technology for the enterprises. You’ll see us actively making investments across these areas, a shining example is our most recent investment, Agile Stacks.

Redefining a category

Founded in 2016, Agile Stacks spent their early years building the core of their platform in secrecy, coming out of stealth in late 2017 after they already had prospects lined up and customers in pilots. Delivering on their moniker, customers -for the first time- accelerated software delivery using a DevOps-first architecture to deploy composable, automated, full-function cloud stacks within minutes, using their tools of choice. This is the promise which the Kubernetes powered world promised for developers, but the path to get there has been riddled with big cloud engineering teams, talent gaps, and buying into complete ecosystems (pivotal, openstack). Agile Stacks is the first company to solve this by incorporating a range of popular, best-of-breed open source products that are pre-tested, integrated and work together from the instant they are deployed. The stacks support the predictable performance, agility, scalability and reliability, all of which is table stakes for enterprise customers.

Let’s take a small detour to how we got here, noting the key term ‘scalability.’ In the early days of 2016, a market battle raged for container orchestration leadership between Google’s Kubernetes, Mesos Marathon and Docker Swarm. I think we all know the winner. Agile Stacks made the bet to align with Kubernetes, a time when much of the K8s ecosystem was the wild-west. That bet is paying huge dividends as forward momentum in market timing and confidence in feature releases on de jure container orchestration. Customers inherently receive the benefit of a Kubernetes infrastructure out of the box.

The traditional PaaS plays have ingested and grown beyond recognition. Think about the stories you hear of multi-year, multi-million dollar deployments espousing the promise of developing and running all enterprise software under one umbrella. Then ask those very same development and ops teams whether they got to pick the tools they wanted to use to get their job done more efficiently.

Agile Stacks aligns with our vision for hybrid cloud powered by DevOps automation so customers are free to choose from their infrastructure, applications and tools. Agile Stacks is a powerful, yet simple solution which provides our customers revolutionary flexibility and composability in a cost efficient manner. Succinctly, we are making choice a first-class citizen like it should always have been.

Hewlett Packard Pathfinder as an enabler of growth

While it’s really important to have an innovation hub like Pathfinder within a company and many companies these days have some flavor of it; what is unique for Pathfinder, is that on top of making investments, we also partner with our portfolio companies to create solutions.  We help scale them to enterprise customers, and give them access to expertise and resources (in addition to capital).  Creating solutions, that’s our first and foremost differentiating factor.

Investments in companies such as AgileStacks keep us on the bleeding edge - they keep us on trend, let us see that trend happen and be a part of it, taking it to the conclusion. Looking forward, we’ll continue to accelerate - both in the velocity and number of investments we’re making, but also in the diversity of investments too. I envision a strategically opportunistic future with a mix of early and later stage investments. The Pathfinder acceleration business model is not changed, but if anything we are amping up the pace.

We’ve got a very positive vibe right now and a uniquely innovative vision for the future. I’m happy that I’m a part of it, that Pathfinder is a part of it, and that Agile Stacks is now part of it too. Stay tuned for more to come.