Puppet Labs and Dell work together on management software

Puppet Labs and Dell work together on management software

Summary: Luke Kanies, Master Puppeteer of Puppet Labs, talks about the company's progress and its partnership with Dell to deliver highly manageable distributed and cloud-based solutions for customers.


Puppet Lab's CEO and Founder, Luke Kanies, stopped by to bring me up to date on the company's philosophy and success in the market as well as its recent partnership with Dell to help customers work with converged infrastructure systems.

Quick review of Puppet Labs

Back in 2005, Kanies put together a team of system administrators and developers as well as creating an open source project to produce administrative and operational tools. The goal was to make it possible to operate and manage highly distributed and complex computing environments easily.

Puppet Labs understands that IT operations and administrative staff are facing ever more complex, distributed and agile environments and that traditional tools weren't helping solve problems. In fact, the complexity of the tools themselves and how operational data was being presented added an additional layer of complexity to an already complex environment.

Kanies believes that while it is true that people, in general, have some limits in terms of how many things they can track and manage in a given period of time, the proper tools can present operational data and allow management of even the most complex environments. Puppet Labs — being sysadmins and developers building tools for fellow sysadmins and developers — has a long history of building tools to help companies manage their physical, virtual and cloud-based resources.

This, Kanies believes, is the primary reason that the company has seen amazing (2971 percent) growth this past year. He pointed out that over 250,000 nodes are being managed by Puppet Labs tools.

Dell/Puppet Labs partnership

Recently, Dell and Puppet Labs announced that they were collaborating to create "automation solutions for Dell’s unified management platform - Active System Manager" — which is scheduled to ship in 2014. The companies say that Active System Manager 7.5 will enable customers to further enable choice and accelerate convergence for a broader range of customers.

In the company's words:

Dell Active System Manager will be integrated with Puppet Labs’ automation technologies for provisioning, configuration, and orchestration. The integrated solution will allow IT operations customers to automate the management of compute, network, and storage converged infrastructure, resulting in faster, more efficient delivery of high-impact business applications.

Puppet Labs also announced that Dell is becoming a major contributor to Project Razor, a next-generation hardware provisioning solution curated by Puppet Labs. Customers of IT infrastructure have come to expect rapid provisioning and dynamic scaling from their virtualized and cloud infrastructure; Razor delivers these same behaviors with hardware infrastructure.

Snapshot analysis

Dell has been working hard to reposition itself as an enterprise systems supplier rather than just being thought of as a supplier of desktops and laptops. To that end, it has partnered with suppliers, such as Puppet Labs, to flesh out its portfolio of products and services. It has also acquired vendors of network and storage virtualization products to create a broad portfolio of enterprise-class products.

When I've had a chance to chat with sysadmins or IT administrators who work with Puppet Lab's tools, I always hear that Puppet Labs builds tools aren't as flashy or showy as tools offered by other suppliers, but they work very well, are easy to learn and are very powerful.

I have no doubt that the combination of Dell and Puppet Labs will create a set of tools that help users of converged infrastructure systems.

Topic: Enterprise Software


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • Interesting partnership, real lack of vision...

    Dell has made a number of great acquisitions, let alone has a number of tools in their belt already. To partner with another company, is just another example of Dell's poor vision and execution.

    Why can't they take their Kace appliances, and integrate automated scripts from there? That's what Kace is for, automating desktop/server processes. Why can't they expand on that?

    Add to that, all Dell computers have their OpenManage software right? I'm sure some custom stuff has been written over the decade + that software has been pre-installed on Dell machine images.

    Why does Dell need to look at a 3rd party? The reason Dell is such a loss leader IMO, is with all these acquisitions over the years to act like an IBM or HP, they still can't execute on these and build a solid integrated ecosystem. It's all point products, which are all easily replace-able by competitive products.