How Puppet plans to bring more automation to a cloud-native world

As Puppet brings its open source project Lyra into GA, Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar explains why infrastructure automation is relevant even in container-based environments.

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When Puppet was founded 14 years ago, it was a configuration management company for a node-centric world. Now that enterprises are bringing their critical applications to the cloud, Puppet is moving with them. As part of that effort, Puppet on Wednesday announced the general availability of Lyra, an open source workflow engine for orchestrating cloud-native infrastructure.

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Using infrastructure as code, Lyra allows developers to provision and manage public cloud, private cloud and other API-backed resources. Teams can use it to create organization-specific infrastructure workflows, and the steps in a workflow can be declarative (meaning they query the existing state of the outside world before changing anything) or imperative (with no dependency on the state of the outside world). Lyra was built to integrate into multiple familiar developer user interfaces, starting with a Kubernetes custom resource definition and controller. 

"I deeply believe infrastructure automation is relevant in node-centric and cloud-native worlds," Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar told ZDNet. With the advent of containers, some may say there's no longer a need to manage infrastructure, she said. However, "We believe it's only going to become increasingly important, and how you do it will shift."

Lyra illustrates how Puppet can offer value around the orchestration of container-based environments, Wassenaar said. Lyra workflows are composable pieces of code, with the flexibility to call workflows from other workflows, effectively providing app deployment building blocks.

That kind of standardization is key at the enterprise scale -- and will only become more valuable as large organizations step up their cloud security efforts.

Typically, "in the container world, if something's wrong, you don't play with the configuration," Wassenaar explained -- you blow it up and start over.  "In that world, the developer does everything."

That may work on an application and project basis, Wassenaar said. But at a large enterprise with a significant number of cloud-native applications, the work must be done at scale and in compliance with security and regulatory standards. Puppet's declarative approach, which brings your environment to a known good state, it allows an organization to enforce compliance requirements while remediating problems.

As enterprises are able to identify problems and vulnerabilities across their infrastructure, "Puppet is in a unique position to act on those findings in an automated way," Wassenaar argued. "I really believe when you think about three to five years down the road, these environments are increasingly going to be self-healing."

Wassenaar also foresees hybrid cloud environments prevailing for some time. While enterprises are increasingly building cloud-native applications and migrating key applications to the cloud, there are simply always critical applications that "will die in the data center," she said. As the complexity grows for organizations, Puppet intends to offer them a way to "automate away" the challenges.