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Puppet Will Extend Infrastructure Automation Capabilities with Distelli Acquisition

21 Sep 2017 1:06pm, by

The Distelli team’s commute is nine floors shorter since Puppet acquired the company. The two DevOps-focused businesses, focused on helping clients develop software faster, were housed in the same building in downtown Seattle.

With the acquisition, announced Wednesday, the Distelli team doesn’t have to move far, and founder and CEO Rahul Singh will join Puppet as vice president of engineering. Portland, Ore. -based Puppet had opened the Seattle office in just the past few months.

“Our portfolio, in the application-delivery space — containers, cloud-native applications and especially in the multi-cloud environment — that’s very complementary to what Puppet has been doing …in infrastructure as code, infrastructure automation, configuration management and the application-delivery space,” Singh said.

The deal represents Puppet’s effort to build on its configuration-management roots.

Puppet has been instrumental in things like setting up Kubernetes clusters, Singh pointed out: Distelli can help customers then deliver to that infrastructure Puppet has set up.

One of the use cases of Puppet has been to help people adopt whatever is next for them, according to Tim Zonca, Puppet vice president of worldwide marketing.

Years ago, that would be virtualization but has extended to OpenStack, cloud adoption, DevOps and the next generation of infrastructure including containers, Docker, Kubernetes. He said the company going forward sees things like cloud functions or serverless computing.

“One thing that’s beneficial to our customers is …whether you need to manage mainframes or a distributed Kubernetes cluster running applications on AWS or anything in between, Puppet gives you one language to manage all of that. Our approach to this tends to be heavily biased on the infrastructure. What do you need to do to manage the infrastructure and middleware running your applications? We also allow people to use Puppet to define their applications. What we haven’t had up to this point is all the requisite automation for moving infrastructure code and application code through any kind of automated delivery lifecycle,” Zonca said.

Distelli provides that, he said.

“It delivers traditional applications in virtualized environments. It allows you to deliver to hyper-modern applications running in Kubernetes clusters. It matches our approach of giving customers a common way to manage all the things that they have, but it gives us a powerful automation kind of conveyor belt through the entire delivery system through development, through verification and testing, through pre-production, your automated release, not just the configuration management of your infrastructure for the tail end.”

Distelli Tools

Singh founded Distelli in 2013 after working nine years at Amazon. The first product, the VM Dashboard, was designed to help ease AWS deployments. The agent-based dashboard keeps track of who’s working on what part of the software development process. That effort attracted $2.88 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz.

In May, the company launched its Kubernetes dashboard K8S. It allows users to connect repositories, build images from source, then deploy them to that Kubernetes cluster. You can also set up automated pipelines to push images from one cluster to another, promote software from test/dev to prod, quickly roll back and do all this in the context of one or more Kubernetes clusters.

The Kubernetes service is offered as a hosted service or in an on-prem version. It provides notifications through Slack.

“You can see everything that’s been pushed to the cluster right down to the git commit. Who did what, what version of software is being run in dev and test on which cluster, which namespace, and that makes it easy to roll back,” Singh said at its launch. “You can restrict access to certain clusters, certain namespaces.”

Its third product is a container registry called Europa, that allows you to store images locally, but push images to multiple clouds and keep them all in sync.

Distelli has myriad integrations with third-party build tools that are potential competitors to Puppet. With the philosophy of giving customers choice in the tools they use, those integrations will continue, Zonca and Singh said.

Expanding Automation Capabilities

Puppet, back in December 2015, released a module for managing Kubernetes with Puppet code. Puppet Enterprise 2016.4, released last fall, included the ability to build Docker containers and automatically ship them into production environments. It also added Jenkins integration.

The New Stack research, however, has suggested that Ansible has eclipsed Puppet and Chef in the world of container orchestration. Ansible parent Red Hat recently announced expanded automation features for it, including custom views for managing machines across private, public and hybrid clouds. In May, Chef announced new features, including the ability to further automate the process of assembling and updating container-based applications.

“With vendors and end users indicating that enterprises can do similar scripting to support Docker and Kubernetes as they do with Puppet, [that] highlights how containers do represent a threat,” said Jay Lyman, 451 Research analyst, who sees the acquisition as Puppet’s effort to head that off.

“The deal also fits Puppet’s effort to expand beyond its roots in configuration, provisioning and infrastructure automation to full release process automation,” he said.

He also predicted the deal could spark other merger and acquisitions in DevOps and containers with plenty of large established vendors as potential acquirers and a new breed of container players as potential targets.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Feature image via Pixabay.


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