Puppet Launches Barrage Of Products To Enable 'New Age' Of Software Automation And DevOps

IT infrastructure automation firm Puppet is debuting an array of new products that expand the company's capabilities to include automation capabilities for application developers, in a move that aims to make Puppet and its channel partners into more prominent players in the DevOps space.

Just a few weeks after acquiring continuous delivery firm Distelli, Puppet is announcing at its PuppetConf 2017 conference that three Distelli products focused on application automation and container deployment are now available in its portfolio. Puppet is also unveiling a new product of its own, hybrid infrastructure tool Puppet Discovery, and an update to its core Puppet Enterprise offering.

The product rollout is a bid to "usher in a new age of innovation around automation," said Tim Zonca, Puppet's vice president of worldwide marketing.

[Related: Puppet Launches New Partner Portal As Channel Push Heats Up]

While many customers have been finding benefits from using Puppet's technology, "it hasn't been scaled as much as it should," Zonca told CRN. "The way we're helping people to get catapulted into this next era is by offering a host of new products."

Puppet’s core software is used to provide a common language for defining applications and infrastructure—leading to a standard way to manage all infrastructure such as private and public cloud, containers, storage and networking. The Portland, Ore.-based company offers an open source version of its software as well as Puppet Enterprise, which is focused on automating key parts of IT operations, such as infrastructure delivery and security.

Due to its automation capabilities, Puppet's software has become a central component for many companies' DevOps initiatives, which target faster deployments of software.

The new additions to Puppet's portfolio from the Distelli acquisition target an area that's adjacent to the company's historical focus on infrastructure--software configuration in the application development process.

The three new Puppet products based on Distelli's technology are Puppet Pipelines for Apps, which automates key application development and delivery tasks; Puppet Pipelines for Containers, which enables users to build Docker images from a repository and deploy them to Kubernetes clusters; and Puppet Container Registry, which gives developers a comprehensive view of their Docker images across all repositories.

The addition of the application delivery and container products "broadly expands their solutions to organizations that are looking to do a DevOps transformation," said Arthur Alvarez, director of sales and marketing at Zivra LLC, a Chicago-based IT consulting firm that has partnered with Puppet for two years. "This will accelerate Puppet's growth and penetration in the DevOps space."

The products should also create opportunities for partners such as Zivra to "reap some of the benefits of [Puppet's] broader solution," by generating more business with existing clients and attracting new ones, Alvarez said.

Meanwhile, Puppet is also introducing Puppet Discovery, a standalone product that informs customers about all of the IT infrastructure that they are running. That can include on-premises, public cloud, container-based, or virtual infrastructure--anything that an organization with a hybrid environment might be running, Zonca said. Customers can then "take control of things that aren't being managed," he said. Puppet Discovery is entering a limited preview and will become available later this year, Zonca said.

Also, Puppet is unveiling a new product targeted as a simplified way to get started with automating tasks related to infrastructure and applications. The product, Puppet Tasks, is available both as an agentless offering and as part of the newest update to the company's main software offering, Puppet Enterprise 2017.3.

Other enhancements in the new version of Puppet Enterprise include an improved search for packages that are connected to the software and better coordination of new releases of the core Puppet components—Puppet Agent, Puppet Server and PuppetDB.

With all of the product announcements, Zonca said, "we are increasing our portfolio from a one-product company to a six-product company."

The launch of the new products comes as Puppet is working to increase the amount of business it generates through channel partners. Earlier this year, Puppet introduced a new segmented sales model that designates corporate accounts as "partner-only." The corporate segment includes any accounts besides roughly 700 existing enterprise accounts.

"They are making a lot of changes on [the channel program], and they include partners in more opportunities," said Alvarez, of Zivra LLC. "I think they are gaining momentum, and I think [the new products] will continue to push them to a leadership position in the DevOps solution providers space."

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