Capital One's Critical Stack launches beta for Kubernetes, container orchestration

The move highlights how every company is becoming a technology firm. Critical Stack is used internally at Capital One to manage microservices and continaers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Capital One Financial has launched the beta of Critical Stack, a container orchestration platform for cloud infrastructure.

Turns out there's a bit of technology in Capital One's wallet. Capital One launching an enterprise container platform is due to the 2016 acquisition of Critical Stack. That acquisition fed into a broader digital transformation plan that aimed to turn Capital One into a technology company from a bank.

Critical Stack, which is compatible with Google's Kubernetes and open source container management systems, enabled Capital One to adopt a container strategy and automate compliance and security controls. Capital One moved its core processing to the public cloud and adopted microservices, RESTful APIs and other cloud-first development approaches. Critical Stack automates many of the back-end tasks such as putting a service on a specific node so developers can focus on apps and microservices.


The Critical Stack launch highlights how companies increasingly start in a core business and can become tech vendors themselves. Consider:

Critical Stack's go-to-market strategy has yet to be determined, said Liam Randall, co-founder of Critical Stack. Randall noted that the alpha version of Critical Stack was used internally at Capital One and now the beta is available to more units at the bank. Capital One was an early customer of Critical Stack and the two parties would often talk containers and cloud computing at conferences. Randall, a security expert who sees containers as a way to better secure applications, said the Capital One-Critical Stack combination makes sense on multiple fronts.

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"Capital One is a founder-led company and is the type of bank that a technology company would build," explained Randall. "Capital One also provides technology with three (Capital One Mobile, Wallet and CreditWise) of the top 50 personal finance apps on Apple's App Store. This is a natural extension of the progression in banking."

The plan for Critical Stack is to launch its beta on AWS, collect feedback and then look to other clouds. Critical Stack will be portable to multiple cloud computing environments. "We are an enabling technology for the major cloud providers. We're enabling other enterprises on their journey to microservices," said Randall.

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