5 Notable Container Company Acquisitions

Containers are at the center of an growing list of business acquisitions. Here’s a list of the five most significant acquisitions that have occurred in the container list to date.

Red Hat Buys CoreOS

Red Hat’s recent decision to purchase CoreOS represents the biggest acquisition so far of a container-centric company.

That’s true both in terms of the size of the deal, which cost Red Hat $250 million, and its impact on the ecosystem.

The deal positions Red Hat as perhaps the most influential company in the container market. I’d argue that Red Hat is now a bigger deal in the space than even Docker.

Of course, the acquisition was positive news for CoreOS, too. CoreOS developers’ long years of work on a security-centric, lightweight Linux distribution paid off big time, at least for CoreOS investors.

And the payout probably arrived in a form that few people saw coming back in CoreOS’s early days, when the commercial importance of Docker containers and technology for managing them was much less apparent than it was when Red Hat bought CoreOS.

Tenable Buys Flawcheck

In October 2016 Tenable Network Security purchased FlawCheck, a container security company.

The news wasn’t exactly momentous. Tenable is a small company, and FlawCheck was even smaller.

It’s also unclear how much Tenable has done with FlawCheck since the acquisition. The purchase helped to beef up the DevOps security credentials of the Maryland-based company, but Tenable has yet to go head to head with other vendors specializing in container security, namely Twistlock and Aquasec.

Cisco Buys ContainerX

Cisco’s acquisition in August 2016 of ContainerX also generated little buzz.

At the time, ContainerX was not on many people’s short lists of the most influential container vendors.

It kind of felt like Cisco knew containers were becoming a big deal, wanted to add some container expertise to its portfolio and found willing prey in ContainerX.

Still, it was a win for the ContainerX folks. And it may have been an important step toward the recent release of Cisco Container Platform.

Oracle Buys Wercker

Speaking of big companies that acquire smaller ones so they can up their credibility in the container world, Oracle bought Wercker last April.

Not much has changed since then in Wercker’s release automation platform. What Oracle will do with its new stable of Docker-friendly developers and code remains to be seen.

CloudBees Buys Codeship

Between Wercker, Codeship and all of their competitors, release automation platforms that use containers to help achieve CI/CD are a dime a dozen these days.

Codeship, one of the more sophisticated of those platforms, stands out from the crowd in that, like Wercker, it was one of the first such platforms to be acquired.

Unlike Wercker, Codeship was bought by CloudBees, not a major enterprise.

Bonus: Microsoft’s Non-Acquisition of Docker

The most important acquisition that has not taken place in the container ecosystem was Microsoft’s reported effort to buy Docker for $4 billion.

Assuming those reports were true, Docker missed an opportunity. It seems doubtful that anyone would pay billions of dollars for Docker now that its mindshare has been eclipsed by that of Kubernetes. Alas.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

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