The Road to Agile IT is Paved with Containers

The Road to Agile IT is Paved with Containers

Peter Smails
Peter Smails
Gray Calendar Icon Published: July 30, 2019
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: January 26, 2021

The holy grail for any CMO looking for their next gig is to find the perfect combination of addressable market, market timing, company, and product. That’s why I am so excited to be joining the team at Rancher Labs, the leader in container management software. Let’s look at all the variables.

Market Opportunity & Timing

The market for containers is conservatively HUGE! What’s a container? A container¬†is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all associated dependencies enabling an application to run quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. For example, development teams are using containers to package entire applications and move them to the cloud without the need to make any code changes. Another example, containers make it easier to build workflows for modern applications that run between on-premises and cloud environments.

While containers are a good way to bundle and run your applications, you also need to manage the containers that run the applications. That’s where Kubernetes comes in. Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration engine for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Recent research indicates that approximately 40% of enterprises are running Kubernetes in production today, but in less than three years that number will increase to more than 84%!

As infrastructure increasingly moves to multi-cloud (e.g. on-premises, AWS, GCP, Azure) and enterprise applications become more complex, development and IT operations teams need an effective way to manage Kubernetes at scale.

Therein lies the opportunity!

Company and Product

If you don’t know already, Rancher Labs builds innovative, open source software for enterprises leveraging containers to deliver Kubernetes-as-a-Service. Rancher was founded by a group of cloud and open source thought leaders who have already made their mark at places like, Citrix, and GoDaddy. They foresaw the need and created our flagship Rancher platform, which allows users to easily manage all aspects of running Kubernetes in production, on any infrastructure across the data center, cloud, branch offices and the network edge.

Unlike solutions from competitors like Red Hat and Pivotal, our solution delivers the ideal balance of flexibility and control, including:

  • Multi-Cluster Application Support: Kubernetes users can deploy and maintain their applications on multiple clusters from a single action, reducing the load on operations teams and increasing productivity and reliability for businesses running in hybrid-cloud, multi-cloud, or multi-cluster Kubernetes environments.
  • Support for Cloud Native Kubernetes Services: In addition to offering two certified Kubernetes distributions (RKE and k3s), Rancher provides complete flexibility by enabling enterprise customers to manage any Kubernetes distribution and any cloud-native Kubernetes service such as GKE, EKS, and AKS. For users, every Kubernetes cluster behaves the same way and has access to all of Rancher’s integrated workload management capabilities.
  • No Vendor Lock-In: As free and open source software, Rancher costs much less to own and operate than PKS and OpenShift while providing a more capable product that doesn’t lock you into any single vendor’s ecosystem.

Addressable market? Check! Market timing? Check! Company? Check! Product? Check!

It doesn’t get any better than that!

While I am privileged to join Rancher, I am merely one small cog in the big wheel of their momentum. Check out what’s happened since the start of 2019 alone:

  • Customer Growth: We grew our customer base by 52% while YoY revenue grew 161%.
  • Product Innovation: We introduced major enhancements to Rancher with the release of version 2.2 and also launched new open source projects:
  • Funding – we raised another $25M in Series C funding, bringing the total amount raised to $55M. That means we’ve got loads of cash to invest in continuing our rapid growth.

You can read all about our momentum here, or to learn more, jump to


Peter Smails
Peter Smails
Vice President of Marketing
A respected marketing strategist and hands-on team builder, Smails has a successful track record of evolving emerging technology vendors into mainstream enterprise technology leaders. He was most recently CMO at Imanis Data, a machine learning data management company, acquired by Cohesity. Prior to Imanis Data, Smails led marketing and business development at Datos IO, a cloud data protection company acquired by Rubrik in 2018. He has also held marketing leadership roles at technology giants including Dell EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.
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