Three tech giants — Cisco, Google Ventures and VMWare — have joined in another funding round for Puppet Labs, contributing $8.5 million to the Portland-based provider of IT automation software for system administrators, according to Luke Kanies, co-founder and CEO of Puppet Labs. With this third round of funding, the company has now raised $15.75 million. Existing investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures and Radar Partners.
The Series C financing will position Puppet Labs well and support the company’s long-term place in the market, Kanies said. The company, founded in 2005, shipped the first release of the open source Puppet Project later the same year. It has had an active 2011 with its first release of the commercial Puppet Enterprise product in February, and shipping Puppet Enterprise 2.0 in September.
“This (funding) positions us well, and we are taking the success of the commercial product and doubling down,” Kanies said. He noted that on the horizon for 2012, the firm will be integrating feedback from clients and users to refine the core product, Puppet Enterprise, which now comprises more than half the company’s revenues.
Kanies added that the investment will allow the company to grow ahead of organic growth in three areas – sales, marketing and development. “Our three partners understand disruption and system admins,” Kanies said. “Google has had some of the best system admins in the industry and they understand Puppet and how it can be disruptive in the market.”
The Puppet Enterprise product, which automates the configuration and deployment of virtual servers, is targeted at streamlining the workload of IT system administrators. Previously, available solutions relied on scripts, built manually from scratch, with little or no reusability or portability. Puppet automates this process to accelerate deployment and improve consistency of data center resources – whether traditional, cloud or hybrid cloud.
Both partners and clients running Puppet are seeing the consistency, agility, scalability, speed and portability the tool provides, Kanies said. Puppet Enterprise has a growing ecosystem, integrating with products and services from VMware, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, OpenStack, Eucalyptus, RightScale, Zenoss and others.
The funding comes at the close of a year of expansion for the company in both clients and markets. It now lists more than 250 customers including Zynga, Twitter, NYSE, Disney, Citrix, Oracle/Sun, Constant Contact, Match.com, Shopzilla, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Stanford University. Puppet Labs has opened new markets beyond North America and Europe, with user groups and meet-ups growing worldwide, including in China, India, and Japan.
“Global companies need efficient solutions to manage their on-premise and cloud infrastructures,” said Karim Faris, partner at Google Ventures. “The Puppet Labs team has demonstrated the market traction and leadership to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow the business.”