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CircleCI nabs $100M, buys Vamp release orchestration

Along with recent $100 million venture funding round, CI/CD vendor CircleCI has acquired the Vamp release orchestration platform to bolster its tools offering.

DevOps platform provider CircleCI recently landed $100M in venture financing and acquired the Vamp release orchestration platform.

The money places San Francisco-based CircleCI at a valuation of $1.7 billion, said Jim Rose, CEO of the company. It came from a collection of CircleCI's existing investors, as well as a new investor, Greenspring Associates, which led the financing.

Other firms that participated included Eleven Prime, IVP, Sapphire Ventures, Top Tier Capital Partners, Baseline Ventures, Threshold, Scale, Owl Rock and Next Equity Partners.

The new capital will enable CircleCI to invest in three key areas that the company sees as the next big challenges in software: continuous validation, data and insights, and managing software complexity, Rose said.

The funding also will go to expanding the company's "international footprint," he added.

The Vamp platform

Meanwhile, CircleCI's latest funding round comes at the same time as the company's acquisition of the Vamp release orchestration platform.

"Vamp operates in the continuous validation and continuous release space and is going to help us accelerate our own roadmap as we continue to evolve as a platform," Rose said in an interview.

CircleCI can now provide a process of change validation -- that process of tracking something that starts at the developer's desktop or other sources all the way through the build, test and deploy process.

This is something CircleCI itself had been building internally, but the company became familiar with the Vamp team and realized they were working on the same problem from a release orchestration perspective and continuous validation perspective.

Vamp is a logical addition for CircleCI as it's essentially about making the post-deployment process more intelligent and offering more granular controls in a progressive delivery-like fashion.
Stephen O'GradyAnalyst, RedMonk

"Vamp is a logical addition for CircleCI as it's essentially about making the post-deployment process more intelligent and offering more granular controls in a progressive delivery-like fashion," said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk in Portland, Maine.

CircleCI's addition of Vamp will help teams meet the demands of progressive delivery. It also enables the company to be a one-stop shop for DevOps automation and change validation needs.

According to the DevOps Institute, progressive delivery is the process of pushing changes to a product iteratively, first to a small audience and then to increasingly larger audiences to maintain quality control.

Overall, CircleCI's addition of Vamp highlights the importance of CI/CD, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research in Monte Vista, Calif.

"As enterprises are exceedingly powered by software, they need to up their automation to maintain, operate and most importantly to deliver it," Mueller said. "The discipline to do that is CI/CD and that's where CircleCI plays."

Release orchestration market remains nascent

Spinnaker, the open source continuous delivery and release orchestration platform developed at Netflix, is the big player in the space. However, Spinnaker is complex and offers more functionality than most organizations need, Rose said.

Moreover, "We've been having customers do all sorts of very creative things on our platform to help manage and orchestrate releases using CircleCI, but it never has been a directly integrated experience on the platform," he said. "This [Vamp acquisition] is a way for us to really accelerate that process and make sure that our developer customers will have that process at first class, natively end to end on the platform."

Meanwhile, other vendors such as Netlify and Harness offer much simpler systems that feature release orchestration capabilities, Rose said. The space itself is still emerging and CircleCI will offer a complete system, without the complexity of Spinnaker, Rose said.

The Vamp acquisition is the company's second since it acquired Distiller in 2014, and it also brings CircleCI into the Netherlands, which will be its fourth international hub following Tokyo, Toronto and London.

"One of the nice things about the purchase of Vamp is that the Vamp team is actually entirely in Amsterdam," Rose said. "So, it's allowing us to continue to build out our presence in Europe."

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