Puppet Labs, which has seen rapid growth in sales for its IT automation software as DevOps tools prove themselves among enterprises, has Puppet Supported, a certification program that comes out of the gate with a number of leading vendors on board, including Arista Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Cumulus Networks, Dell, EMC, F5, Huawei and NetApp.
Puppet is extending the benefits of automation to networking and storage by certifying Puppet Enterprise for platforms and devices. This promises to remove some bottlenecks, particularly around the network, and help spur the adoption of both automation and DevOps.
The end goal is enabling the fully automated data center. Puppet Enterprise with network and storage devices brings the benefits of automation to networking and folds it into overall management of the entire data center.
Working to pull SDN into DevOps
The additional collaboration and certification will allow organizations to deploy software faster with fewer errors, as well as rapidly adapt to fast-changing business needs. While cloud and IT automation have dramatically reduced the time it takes to provision, in most cases networking and storage are still provisioned manually, creating bottlenecks.
“One of the things we noticed, once the compute automation is sorted out, there’s still a bottleneck on the network and storage side,” said Puppet CIO Nigel Kersten. “You have to wait for that to be provisioned. Network automation hasn’t been nearly as adopted as systems managed on the compute side.
“We’re seeing a whole bunch of terms like SDN (Software Defined Networking) and Application Centric Infrastructure (a Cisco concoction) out there. The fact you can pull in network and storage into one configuration allows people to take that app-centric approach.”
Puppet is working with these vendors so that they work well with its DevOps tools. It will be delivered in the form of modules once it undergoes rigorous testing.
Puppet will test performance and scaling, as well as making sure there are no bugs. “We’re working with partners to take our framework and to take their code through it, making a painless out-of-the-box experience for customers,” said Kersten.
Certification will expand reach and ease of use, which Kersten hopes will make Puppet appeal to a new crowd.
Puppet benefits from big vendor APIs
There is a lot of change occurring in the software defined infrastructure space. Interestingly, areas that have been difficult to automate, such as network, are encouraging the big vendors to provide high-class APIs, which helps companies like Puppet.
“Vendors are getting more pressure to provide APIs and it means we can port automation,” said Kersten. “We expect to see this happen more and more in the open space as well, with OpenStack doing lots of great things.”
A recent survey done by Puppet not only found that companies that invest in DevOps have higher IT performance, but also managed to link IT performance to better business performance. “We’ve shown that companies that invest in these practices actually outperform others,” said Kersten. “IT is not a cost center but a business driver.”
Puppet is in a period of fast growth, expanding globally following a recent $40 million round. It has more than 80,000 registered users, its software running on about 10 million systems. A thriving community has contributed almost 2500 modules, which are a sort of modified templates for using Puppet.
“The recent funding is about grabbing the opportunity, pouring fuel on the fire,” said Kersten. “We have a scalable business model, but we wanted to take it to the next level and push global expansion. It was a sign of confidence from investors.”