Puppet made three major announcements today around new versions of their flagship products, new products independent of Puppet Enterprise and a major expansion of partner programs and offices in the face of record growth over the last 12 months. As I detailed in my article on these announcements, these 3 taken together paint a clear picture of a market leader solidifying its position as an enterprise DevOps solutions provider. I had a chance to speak with Michael Olson of the Puppet product team about what these announcements mean.
As usual, the streaming media player of our conversation is below. The transcript of our conversation follows immediately below (transcript will be updated shortly)
Transcript of our Conversation
Alan Shimel: Hello everyone. This is Alan Shimel, Editor in Chief of DevOps.com and we’re here on another DevOps Chat. Very happy to be joined on this episode of DevOps Chat by Michael Olson from the Puppet Product Team. Michael, welcome to DevOps Chat.
Michael Olson: Thanks Alan. Thanks for having me. Good to be here.
Alan Shimel: Pleasure. Pleasure to have you here Michael we always – actually we’ve had more than several people from Puppet over the years appear on DevOps Chat and we always – that’s always a great conversation.
But today Michael you’re on here regarding several news announcements that Puppet put out recently today on May 11 and wanted to kind of go over them with you and cue our audience in to what I think are several major announcements coming kind of down the pike from Puppet.
So if it’s okay with you Michael, you know the news as well as I do, do you want to lead off with what you think is the most important one or do you want me to pick?
Michael Olson: Sure, I’m happy to dig in. And today’s been certainly a pretty big day at Puppet, we’re pretty excited to announce a very significant set of investments that we think really continues to deliver on our mission of empowering IT to deliver better software faster, so looking forward to digging in to what that entails.
It’s really around new products that help IT manage the complexities of their evolving and modern infrastructure as well as updates to some of our existing products that give really IT better control and situational awareness for the software that they deliver and run.
And then new partnerships and company investments that are really focused on ensuring that Puppet is where our customers need us to be, that our customers and our community and ecosystem really have the talents and the support needed to scale their success wherever they are, so looking forward to digging into it with you.
Alan Shimel: Okay. So if you don’t mind Michael I’d like to start off with the announcements around new products – Puppet Cloud Discover – and if I mispronounce it I apologize – Lumigon? Is that how you pronounce it?
Michael Olson: Alan, you nailed it. Well done.
Alan Shimel: Okay. Well every once in a while even a blind squirrel finds a nut. But anyway, so we have Puppet Cloud Discover and Lumigon – and these are offerings in the container and cloud native technology areas, but beyond that Michael why don’t we dig in a little bit. What exactly is Cloud Discovery first?
Michael Olson: Sure. And you’re exactly right. And I think before we dig in it’s useful just to set a little bit of context Alan and I’ll start by saying that our heritage really at Puppet has been rooted in helping IT professionals cope with sort of the complexity of managing an ever-growing infrastructure and application estate really by kind of harnessing automation.
So for more than a decade our core focus has really been around helping our customers define a desired state model for their infrastructure and applications and then providing an engine that translates that desired state of how they want their infrastructure and applications to look into reality.
So that has benefits of doing things like preventing configuration drift and eliminating manual intervention from the software delivery process.
And one of the things that we’ve seen is – you know, over the course of this journey over the past 12 years is we’ve been very fortunate to be supported by a passionate open-source community that’s helped refine our offerings, coving every aspect of systems management so that our new users that are getting onboard with Puppet can hit the ground running so to speak as opposed to having to start from scratch.
And so in light of that we are making investments to better support that journey for our customers and answering some of the common questions that we’re hearing from them. Things like, “How do we get started with automation and modeling?”
And one of the most common starting points that we see our customers looking to solve for is just know what software they have running across their datacenter and their cloud and container environments: answering a simple question of, “What resources and applications do I have running today? How do I bring those resources under management?” And I kind of refer to that general category of problems as discovery
So what we’re announcing today is really a new set of investments and offerings that are intended to give IT teams much better situational awareness into what they have running across their application and infrastructure estate regardless of whether that’s running in the cloud, in containers or on their traditional on-premise datacenter.
Alan Shimel: Got it. Got it. So Michael I think that kind of explains a little bit what Cloud Discover is – Puppet Cloud Discover. And I’m looking at these two names of Cloud Discover and Lumigon – I’m reminded back to my days at one of the security companies I helped co-found – Still Secure – but we always had this sort of battle between descriptive names or kind of catchy marketing type of names.
And when I look at Puppet Cloud Discover that’s certainly a descriptive name, right? I think you almost get what it is from the title and it obviously fills a real need in the market as we get these – I guess you call it cloud sprawl – of an ever-expanding infrastructure and understanding what we’ve got there.
Talk to me a little bit about the other one though, Lumigon. How did we come up with that name and what does it do?
Michael Olson: You bet. Yeah, Lumigon is a new offering from Puppet. It’s open-source so it’s something that is available for our community as well as anyone who is responsible for managing containerized environments within their organizations to go to our website and just simply pull down and start using today.
And I think as we all know containers have really emerged as a new and common way of packaging applications with that container image being the artifact that’s handed off from development into operations, and we think containers represent a really big opportunity for orgs that want to accelerate their product delivery.
But today what we’re often hearing is that those container environments are largely black boxes from an operational standpoint. What’s more, since there’s so many of them, containers tend to be ephemeral, so to speak, they tend to have shorter lifespans than VMs and that brings a whole set of challenges where you’re looking at bringing containers into production environments.
So what we’ve announced today is a new offering. It’s open-source and free and available for anyone to go and pull down and start using of Lumigon which is an offering that really focuses on discovering what’s running inside all of those container environments and giving operators really better visibility and control around their container estate.
So because this Lumigon effort is an open-source tool that can analyze applications – you know, we’re initially targeting docker containers and exposing application metadata about those but certainly looking at extending that over time as we continue to get feedback from the community.
Alan Shimel: Great. Now Michael over the years we’ve spoken to several Puppet people – among them Gareth Rushgrove, D-Pack, Sonja himself – and we’ve talked here at DevOps.com about Project Blue Shift at Puppet which is kind of, as you probably are well-aware – Puppet looking at new technologies and making sure that they – that Puppet’s mission encompasses working with these new technologies.
Is Lumigon something that maybe comes out of Project Blue Shift or independent of that?
Michael Olson: I think it really represents a common vision from Puppet which is you know we see a lot of organizations in our customers that are really looking to automation as a bridge to their future. As organizations look to modernize physical infrastructure and move it into the cloud, adopt containers in production environments they’re looking to have automation really baked in from day zero as they look to do that.
And so Blue Shift is, as we’ve talked about in the past, really represents Puppet’s vision for helping our customers adopt the cloud and containers in consistent, repeatable and reliable ways. So it encompasses things like using automation to install docker or lay down operating environments in docker, for example, as well as do things like define and deploy the services that run inside of docker containers giving our customers really better portability to be able to kind of lift and shift workloads that they may have defined and are running on virtual infrastructure, for example, and getting that running in containers without having to adopt platform-specific tooling to do so.
Alan Shimel: Make sense. And certainly – I mean I’m fresh out of Docker Con two weeks ago now – it seems like two weeks – maybe it was last week – but in any event I mean the shift to a containerized application infrastructure is well underway and so a product such as this obviously I think should find a ready market and the fact that it is an open-source tool and everyone can get involved.
Michael what is – or other – I know it’s early in the game but are there any plans to have an Enterprise or pay-for version of Lumigon out there?
Michael Olson: You know it’s certainly something that we’re looking at longer-term is as we continue to build off of this foundation, you know, ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of our large Enterprise customers as well as the broad community of more than 36,000 organizations that rely on Puppet technology today to deliver and operate their software
And I think what we’re focused on right now is really making sure that we’re nailing that core set of problems with a sledge hammer which is, “How do I expose the black box and know what’s running inside of my container environments so I can do things like identify if I’m vulnerable to a potential CVE or if I’m vulnerable to a bug in a library dependency. You know, to know if for example my OS standards are being followed and adhered to within my organization.” These are the types of questions that Lumigon will help users answer today.
And then shifting to the Cloud Discovery announcement that we talked about briefly earlier we’re also introducing a new offering here at Puppet that’s really focused on giving IT teams better situational awareness into what’s running in their cloud infrastructure specifically in AWS.
And so it’s really focused on helping IT teams go back and discover all of the resources and applications that are running in AWS. This is a limited preview that we’re offering for Cloud Discover today really to give those teams a better sense of what they have running in the cloud so they can make better decisions about how they want to bring them under management through automation.
Alan Shimel: Great. So Michael both the Cloud Discover and Lumigon in some ways are maybe the cabooses on the engine here with the announcement of a new version of Puppet Enterprise – or at least the availability of a new version of Puppet Enterprise.
Why don’t you tell our audience a little bit about that?
Michael Olson: Sure, yeah. So Puppet Enterprise – we’ve introduced a new version, we call it 2017.2 per our naming conventions – and I’ve been at Puppet for a few years now and in my opinion it’s really not an exaggeration to say that it’s one of the more significant releases that we’ve had in several years, really with a focus on giving our customers better visibility into the software that they have running on premise in their datacenter no matter how they’re managing it, as well as easier, simpler tools to be able to orchestrate deployments and run deployments across infrastructure and applications using visual workflows.
So the first set of innovation that we’ve introduced into the latest version of Puppet Enterprise is really around being able to inspect software packages that are running across your datacenter.
And one of the areas of feedback that we frequently hear from IT teams is it’s hard to know what software packages are running across their infrastructure, what versions they’re running, for example, in order to easily identify packages that may be vulnerable to security risks.
So we’re introducing some new reporting for our Puppet Enterprise customers in this version that’s really focused on giving IT easy visibility into the software packages that they’re running regardless of whether they’re being managed today by Puppet in order to really provide that insight to identify potential security issues a lot faster
And then as our customers look to use automation in order to drive change across their software stack we’ve also introduced a whole set of orchestration capabilities over the course of the past year-and-a-half. With this release we’re extending that to the Puppet Enterprise Web UI essentially giving our customers the ability to define, run and monitor deployment jobs entirely using visual workflows within the Puppet Enterprise Web UI.
So it’s easy to do things like define a deployment job, target a specific portion of your infrastructure, run a phase deployment for doing things like canary workflows, and then monitor the status of that deployment in real-time so if things aren’t going well you can hit the stop button, investigate, tinker as needed and then restart that deployment; so giving our customers a lot more flexibility into how they drive change across their software.
Alan Shimel: Fantastic. And I love the naming conventions here – I remember speaking earlier about it – I think it makes it easy for people to see where they are and what they have – but the simple naming kind of hides the fact that there’s a lot more punch in here. And by the way, that’s available now Michael?
Michael Olson: Correct, it is. Yeah. It’s available today for – certainly for current Puppet Enterprise customers – and for anybody who’s new to Puppet out there you can simply go to our website and pull down a copy, it’s free to try on up to 10 different servers, devices or applications.
Alan Shimel: Sure. Michael, and I didn’t ask this – my apologies – for the Cloud Discovery and Lumigon – what’s their availability?
Michael Olson: Yeah, Lumigon, which is really around, again, kind of exposing the black boxes of containers, is – that offering is available to try today and you can find a way to get there directly from our website at Puppet.com. And then the Cloud Discovery offering is available as part of a limited preview so what we’re really looking to do is if you’re interested sign up through our website and we’ll be in contact with you if you’re interested to discuss next steps.
Alan Shimel: Perfect. Next Michael let’s talk a little bit about the last announcement today, and this one was more around sort of momentum – it looks like a bunch of new Enterprise customers added as well as new locations and partners and partner offerings. I don’t know if I left anything out but give us some of the details there if you can.
Michael Olson: Sure, yeah, happy to do so. And you know you get this Alan, obviously you and I have talked before, but what we’ve really seen over the course of the past several years is just a huge surge in growth and momentum for Puppet and I think it’s been fueled by growing demand in the market for dev-ops and for digital transformation.
So we’re really taking that momentum and using it to grow more aggressively and really help our customers be more successful, you know, laying the foundation for dev-ops wherever they are in the world.
So what we’ve also announced today is a new set of partnerships with organizations like AWS and Cisco and others as well as global expansion for Puppet: we’re opening up new offices in Singapore really to better serve the needs of our customers internationally and ensure that Puppet is with them wherever they are and however they want to engage with us.
Alan Shimel: That’s great. What about from a partnership point of view though? Any new partners to announce or just partner offerings?
Michael Olson: Yeah, from a partnership perspective – I’ll touch upon a couple things – one of which is we have a new marketplace offering up on AWS that we also made available today and really the key takeaway there is as our customers are increasingly looking to kind of recognize the value of cloud-based environments – they’re using AWS – we’ve really deepened our relationship with Amazon Web Services and deepened that partnership with a new offering that basically makes Puppet Enterprise available on the AWS marketplace on an hourly pay-as-you-go basis.
So it’s really focused on simplifying the installation of Puppet Enterprise and providing a way of securing configuration and getting better visibility into your AWS infrastructure through Puppet directly from within the AWS marketplace.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. You know, to me Michael that’s a huge winner, right, because number one – I’m familiar with the AWS marketplace and there’s no lack of solutions up there – but once you’re in there and you have the ability to kind of piggyback the AWS billing, if you will, for hourly service and hourly offerings – it allows people to consume their services in the manner that they’re used to consuming them in AWS, right?
I think early on there was a big rush to the AWS marketplace but if you weren’t truly integrated into AWS it just, you know, from a billing perspective and usage monitoring and all that, it – I think their customers just did it – it was just too clunky frankly, right? So this makes things a lot smoother in you’re an AWS customer.
Michael Olson: I think that’s spot on Alan. Like the constant feedback that we hear from our customers is they want us to meet their needs and engage them how they want to be engaged, so to speak, and I think this is a marker that helps payoff that objective that customers have is, you know, if you’re looking to bring automation into your cloud environments – you know, looking to get started for the first time – just, you know, click a few buttons and spin up Puppet directly through the AWS marketplace.
And we’ve also really extended our partnership with Cisco in some of the partner-related announcements that came out today as well as we see more Cisco customers that want the power of Puppet as a way of defining, deploying and operating all of their software. So with our expanded partnership joint customers of Puppet and Cisco can now buy and get support for Puppet Enterprise directly from Cisco and any Cisco value-added reseller.
Alan Shimel: Cool. Very cool. Okay. Michael, you know, I promised you we were going to do 15 minutes and here we are for over 20 – I apologize – but before we wrap things up did we miss anything in the announcements?
Michael Olson: I don’t think so Alan, this has been a great conversation and I think we touched upon most of the highlights.
Alan Shimel: Yeah, I think so too. You know not everything fits into a 15-minute bucket though in life so I apologize but I think it was well worth the time spent digging into these new, exciting developments and announcements over at Puppet.
Michael Olson from the Product Team at Puppet thanks for being this episode’s guest on DevOps Chat. Hope to have you on again soon.
Michael Olson: Likewise. Thanks for having us Alan and it’s always great to catch up with you.
Alan Shimel: All righty. This is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com and DevOps Chat. Thanks for listening everyone and we’ll see you on another DevOps Chat hopefully very soon.