VMware takes a $30 million interest in Puppet

VMware has found widespread use of Puppet among its user base

Virtualization software provider VMware has invested US$30 million in Puppet Labs, which makes a widely used, open-source operations management software package called Puppet.

VMware "has seen a strong overlap between its customer base and ours," said Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet Labs. VMware customers "have so much virtualization infrastructure that they need management tools to go with it," he said.

Puppet Labs will use the money to collaborate with VMware in order to better integrate the software from the two companies, to invest in its software in general, as well as to market its wares more heavily to enterprises.

In a statement, Ramin Sayar, who is a VMware vice president and general manager for virtualization and cloud management, praised Puppet for helping to set the stage for software-defined data centers, where applications and network services can be easily orchestrated without worrying about the underlying hardware or software.

Already software from the two companies works well together, Kanies noted. The Puppet software uses the VMware vSphere API (application programming interface), which provides Puppet with the ability to provision, configure and manage VMware virtual machines from within Puppet itself. Puppet Enterprise also works with VMware vFabric Application Director to provision cloud services on VMware infrastructure.

Created in 2005, Puppet Labs offers configuration management software for managing an organization's computers and software. The software provides a declarative language that administrators can use to specify machine configurations, which then can be used to automate reoccurring deployment and maintenance routines. The company maintains Puppet Forge, a repository of modules that can be used with Puppet to execute common tasks, such as installing popular software packages.

For VMware deployments, Puppet could be used to automate much of the process required to deploy a virtual-machine-based service, Kanies said. VMware management tools can deploy, manage and provide statistics about all the virtual machines that run on a system, while the Puppet software allows administrators to define these VMs in terms of their actual functionality, such as by the applications they contain -- like a Web server -- or by their users.

Kanies attributes Puppet's success to the fact that, unlike older IT automation software from vendors such as Opscode and Hewlett-Packard, Puppet was suited for smaller deployments. Nonetheless, the software has been used by a number of larger organizations as well, including Citrix, eBay, the New York Stock Exchange, Match.com, Oracle and Zynga.

This is not the first outside investment for Puppet Labs, which now has more than 100 employees. Google Ventures and Cisco have also invested in the company, as have venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, True Ventures, Radar Partners and Emerson Street Partners.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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