Critical Stack: Enterprise level containerization platform

By Liam Randall, founder of Critical Stack from Capital One

Cloud container solutions addressing security, compliance, and vulnerabilities

Capital One celebrates the development and launch of Critical Stack, the secure container orchestration platform for enterprise.

A little about the Critical Stack team

When Dustin Webber and I cofounded Critical Stack in 2014 it was with the perspective of a career spent in the trenches of security. We were tired of reactive approaches to security and wanted to really address security, compliance and vulnerabilities at their root — upstream at the application lifecycle instead of downstream in the response. We believed that if we could empower enterprises to operate the enterprise lifecycle more securely we could significantly impact downstream concerns.

Dustin Webber and Liam Randall wearing suits, smiling next to each other, with hands crossed above their chests

Critical Stack's Dustin Webber (CTO) and Liam Randall (President)

Our bootstrapped venture struck a chord with our customer base and we grew rapidly. We focused on approaching companies who were forward thinking and had already committed to the principles of re-use and were moving toward containerized microservices. One of those customers was Capital One — and our relationship with them grew stronger as we worked with them. Our two organizations were such a natural fit that we joined the Capital One family in 2016.

Containerized microservices to achieve optimal performance

As more organizations like Capital One are recognizing the automation, speed and cost savings benefits of moving to modern computing infrastructure, there’s a growing seismic shift toward containerized microservices in the enterprise infrastructure.

This shift echoes the architectural disruption of the past — from mainframes to PCs, PCs to Virtual Machines, and now Virtual Machines to elastic containers. As with all of these disruptive moments, there are new challenges that enterprises face as they look to transform their architecture — and that’s where Critical Stack comes in.

Critical Stack design for automation, configuration, scaling and security

We designed Critical Stack with the enterprise customer in mind — to help with needs that large enterprises, especially those in highly regulated industries, are facing as they move to the cloud, containers and microservices.

The community has come together to solve the first part of the challenge in moving to containerized microservices with Kubernetes. Critical Stack and Kubernetes were both founded at the same time, and we have since day one aimed at being compatible with Kubernetes. We endeavor to build a truly enterprise product — so we focused on helping the enterprise with automation in deployment, in configuration, in scaling, in security and in compliance.

As a large enterprise who has made the shift to standardize on microservices and containers, we have a deep understanding of these needs. We believe Critical Stack will help more companies make the move to containerized infrastructure.

Critical Stack compatibility - Works with open source systems and Kubernetes

Critical Stack is a standalone container orchestration platform that is compatible with open source container management systems such as Google’s Kubernetes.

What Critical Stack enables enterprises to do is:

  • Automate security and compliance policies
  • Orchestrate container deployments and updates
  • Optimize applications and infrastructure for performance, speed, and cost
Interactive GUI highlighting features made for novice operators to advanced users who  operate and secure containerized infrastructure.

An interactive GUI with wizards, built in metrics, and more empowers novice operators while still assisting advanced users to operate and secure containerized infrastructure.

How Critical Stack works

Critical Stack begins by enabling enterprises to automate their security and compliance policies, and goes beyond with:

  • Support for not only secure execution policies, but an advanced CNI that leverages the latest kernel security policies
  • A hardened RHEL compatible OS
  • A simple but powerful GUI
  • A built in marketplace to drive reuse & standards

What this means is that for the enterprise the application becomes the first-class citizen in the environment so that developers can spend less time setting up and operating container infrastructure and more time solving their hard problems that matter.

Capital One fintech a pioneer in financial services 

A lot of people ask me why a bank would launch this kind of enterprise tech product, but at Capital One we see it as a natural extension of where we’ve been as a company. Capital One was founded based on the belief that information and technology would revolutionize financial services.

Two decades later, our belief is even stronger. As the first U.S. bank to move its core processing to the public cloud, Capital One has adopted a cloud-first approach to software development, as well as standardizing on RESTful APIs, microservices, and containerization in the cloud.

We understand the unique needs enterprises have as they shift to modern computing infrastructure. We believe Critical Stack can help with those needs — that’s why we’re excited to bring it to beta, to expose it to other companies, and build the best secure container orchestration platform we can.

For more information about Critical Stack and how to sign up for the beta, check us out at

Liam Randall, VP, Tech Commercialization

With a career spanning 20 years, Liam Randall has worked at every level of the information systems pipeline—from building and operating large networks, developing and maintaining large 100M+ e-commerce solutions, to designing and implementing global network security monitoring sensor grids.

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