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Suse acquires NeuVector to bolster Kubernetes security

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Enterprise-grade open source infrastructure software provider Suse has acquired NeuVector, a container security platform that helps companies secure their apps on any infrastructure.

Suse said the deal constitutes both cash and stock to a total valuation of $130 million.

The news comes as companies across the spectrum turn to the cloud as part of their broader digital transformation programs, with open source technologies such as Kubernetes pivotal to their efforts. Kubernetes — which emerged from Google’s vaults back in 2014 — is an open source orchestration platform that automates the laborious manual processes involved in managing containerized applications. Containers are software packages that “contain” all the components needed to run companies’ applications in any environment — across public clouds or private datacenters.

However, security remains a core concern for companies transitioning to the cloud, which is where Suse’s latest acquisition comes into play.

Going open source

Founded in 1992, Suse is better known as a company that creates and sells Linux-based products and services (e.g. Suse Linux Enterprise Server) to big-name businesses such as HSBC, Intel, and Merck. But last December, Suse made its first ever acquisition when it snapped up Kubernetes management platform Rancher Labs, putting Suse in a stronger position to compete with Red Hat in the $21.7 billion open source services market.

NeuVector, a six-year-old San Jose-based startup with some $19 million in venture capital funding, is pitched as a “full lifecycle” container security platform that scans for vulnerabilities through the entire development pipeline, from build to production, and includes automated tests for security and compliance.

The first Suse-branded version of Rancher rolled out back in August, and now with NeuVector under its wing, Suse is adding further security smarts to the mix. A core part of this will eventually entail open-sourcing NeuVector itself, which Suse’s president of engineering and innovation (and Rancher cofounder) Sheng Liang said will help bring “state of the art container security capabilities” to the wider Kubernetes ecosystem.

“With open source NeuVector, deploying NeuVector will be the premier choice to secure Kubernetes clusters, whether they are on premises, in the cloud, or in edge environments,” Liang wrote in a blog post.

It’s worth noting that NeuVector was already available as an integration for Suse, but customers can “expect the integrated experience to become more seamless in the future,” according to Liang.

There has been a flurry of activity across the burgeoning Kubernetes space of late, with the likes of Cisco, Red Hat, Rapid7, and New Relic all snapping up Kubernetes companies over the past year. Elsewhere, a slew of VC-backed startups have emerged on the scene, including TriggerMeshAkuityRafay, Loft Labs, and Nirmata. As cloud infrastructure spending continues to grow, demand for security-focused cloud products will grow in tandem.

“Our customers have made it clear that security is critical to their cloud-native strategy and their digital transformation,” Suse CEO Melissa Di Donato noted in a press release. “The integration of NeuVector into Suse Rancher will create an unbeatable enterprise container management security platform that delivers the end-to-end container security our customers are asking for.”

Suse has been owned by various companies over the past three decades, with private equity firm EQT last taking ownership of the Germany company in a $2.5 billion deal in 2019, with Suse then becoming a $7 billion public company via the Frankfurt Stock Exchange earlier this year.

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