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Distelli CEO Rahul Singh

Software development organizations are falling in love with Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration software that allows them to deploy software with speed and precision. But Kubernetes is a complex beast, and there’s a growing market for tools to make Kubernetes easier to use.

Distelli, a Seattle-based DevOps startup, launched its Kubernetes Dashboard a few months ago after co-founder and CEO Rahul Singh and his team realized last year how much momentum Kubernetes was enjoying among forward-thinking developers, he said in an interview with GeekWire this week. Singh is a veteran of Amazon Web Services, where he helped create the technology behind the world’s leading public cloud company.

Once an application has been broken down into containers, Kubernetes allows companies to take those containerized bits and automatically schedule them for deployment to servers either at home or in the cloud, based on a pre-determined set of rules. It’s a very powerful tool, but it’s an homage to Google’s internal system for these tasks; most companies don’t need all the bells and whistles Google needs to keep its services up and running.

However, most companies do like to plan for the future, and are drawn to Kubernetes because they know it will scale as they grow, said Singh, who spoke at our GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit earlier this month.

“That’s the never ending balance between complexity and usability. Over time, what’s going to end up happening is all this complexity is not going to go away. But I suspect a lot of tooling will get built around it,” he said.

Distelli is one of those tools. The product allows customers to organize their development workflow by moving code they’ve committed to a version control hub like Github through the container-creation process and onto a Kubernetes cluster, where it can then schedule those containers to deploy across multiple servers automatically. It also tracks all these events through a relatively simple dashboard, giving even non-developers a window into development activity.

You can do this without Distelli, assuming you have software developers who are super into complex yet repetitive coding. But even though Kubernetes is being used by more and more companies, there are relatively few experts capable of doing that heavy lifting and way more developers who just want to deploy their code without having to learn the ins and outs of Kubernetes, Singh said.

“We are solving the human problem with software delivery when it comes to advanced platforms like Kubernetes,” he said.

Startups are falling over themselves to build tools simplifying Kubernetes adoption, including Heptio and Deis (recently acquired by Microsoft), and that’s also a large part of the mission of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which hosts the Kubernetes project. There are several other container-orchestration products — notably Docker Swarm and Mesosphere’s DC/OS — but none seem to have broken through to the extent of Kubernetes, even though it’s still early in the development of these technologies.

Distelli has raised $2.8 million in funding in a 2015 round led by Andreessen Horowitz, and it counts Juniper Networks and In-Q-Tel as customers. The company also makes dashboards for setting up virtual machines and user access control.

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