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Cisco, Google and VMware invest in Puppet Labs

Puppet Labs, which makes open-source and proprietary IT automation and management software, has received $8.5m from Cisco, Google and VMware in a funding round
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware have invested in a funding round for IT orchestration and automation start-up Puppet Labs.

Puppet Labs logo

Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware have invested in a funding round for IT orchestration and automation start-up Puppet Labs. Image credit: Puppet Labs

The $8.5m (£5.4m) Series C round of investment takes Puppet Labs's total funding to $15.75m. The company makes open and closed-source technology based around IT management, automation and orchestration.

"Virtualisation and cloud computing make it really easy to create lots of capacity, and quickly. In such a world, automation is a 'must-have' for IT departments, not a 'nice-to-have'," Luke Kaines, Puppet Labs's chief executive, told ZDNet UK. "Furthermore, Puppet Labs allows sysadmins to not just manage this explosion in capacity, but to actually take advantage of virtualisation and cloud computing to enable agile, efficient responses to business demands," he added.

Customers of the company's products include Zynga, Twitter, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Stanford University and Oracle, the company said in a statement. The technology can be integrated with clouds from VMware, Amazon via Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, RightScale and others. The software is cross-platform, with support for Microsoft Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and derivatives, Ubuntu and Suse, as well as Unix systems such as Solaris, BSD and Mac OS X

Automated actions

Puppet Labs's technology automates many repeatable actions that happen in datacentres, such as configuring servers and defining the relationships between components of the datacentre. It also allows administrators to simulate deployments of infrastructure before actually running them. It uses a declarative language that helps administrators define their IT infrastructure and then manipulate it.

In August, Google's head of engineering, Urs Hölzle, enthused to ZDNet UK about the potential for the types of technologies that Puppet Labs develops. 

"Cluster management itself or some open-source version [of it] will happen, because everyone needs it as their computation scales and their issue becomes not the management of a single machine, but the management of a whole bunch of them," he said.

Puppet Labs has no major competitors, although there are a range of technologies that do similar levels of automation but for more specific areas of the stack, such as VMware for cloud management with vCloud Director, or Dell for Hadoop installations via Crowbar

The company develops a proprietary version of its technology as well, but does not feel this compromises its open-source efforts. Many companies, such as Cloudera or Hortonworks with Hadoop, have also adopted the model of developing an open-source project and making money by doing a proprietary version with added features.

"The open-source work exposes us to early adopters and emerging trends," said Kaines. "Whereas the proprietary business helps us understand how to refine these technologies to allow lots of customers in different segments to benefit from them."

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