Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 9, 2023

HP Ventures Joins Chef Funding Round 

Chef Software said it has closed a $40 million funding round as traditional hyperscale datacenter infrastructure development continues to shift to the enterprise.

The Seattle-based DevOps automation specialist said Wednesday (Sept. 9) that the latest funding round led by DFJ Growth also included Hewlett Packard Ventures. Also joining in the Series E funding round were Battery Ventures, Citi Ventures, Ignition Partners and Scale VP.

Significantly, Chef reported that 80 percent of its revenue now comes from enterprise customers. The company said it would use the cash infusion to expand its global operations while accelerating product development as enterprise demand surges. Chef estimates that half of Fortune 50 companies are using its DevOps tools. Those customers include retailers, energy companies, banks and financial services providers.

Chef and another IT automation specialist, Puppet Labs, have been targeting the exploding enterprise DevOps market. In July, Puppet released the latest update of its enterprise suite that includes a new user interface and new visualization tools.

That latest funding round follows the introduction of Chef Delivery, a platform extension designed to speed delivery of infrastructure, runtime environments and applications. The company also stressed that the platform also now delivers application containers that are making inroads in enterprise production environments.

The Chef platform extension was designed to distill the DevOps practices used by its largest customers for use in automating various aspects of enterprise IT like software and application development.

Chef said its automation platform for DevOps workflows is being used by a growing list of customers that include Facebook, GE, IBM and Yahoo. Amazon Web Services, HP and Microsoft currently offer Chef tools on their cloud marketplace. Microsoft announced this week it would offer Chef on its Azure marketplace.

The partners have previously collaborated to automate Windows PowerShell's desired configuration state feature used to deploy software configuration data. Microsoft also has its own set of Chef "cookbooks."

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Ventures "strategic investment" in Chef announced this week follows HP's adoption last year of the Chef configuration management tool into its "orchestrated datacenter" offering. HP said at the time it would integrate open source tools like OpenStack and the Chef tool with its stack automation technologies and operational best practices.

The fastest growth area for Chef remains the booming enterprise market. "Chef turns infrastructure into code," the open source company proclaims. The Chef server stores user "recipes" along with other configuration data. The Chef client is installed on enterprise servers, virtual machines, application containers or networking device.

Chef's chief rival, Puppet Labs, rolled out the latest version of its enterprise platform earlier this year that includes updates to its "nodes manager" along with a new application and code managers.

In August, Cisco Systems announced a deal with Puppet Labs that would integrate Puppet Enterprise with Cisco's Open NX-OS platform. The operating system for Cisco's Nexus switches is designed to speed the deployment of software-defined networking infrastructure, the partners said.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).