Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Puppet Pulls Strings on Expansion Plans, Makeover 

IT automation specialist Puppet Labs is expanding its operations, launching the latest version of its flagship platform and shortening its name: Puppet Labs is now known simply as Puppet.

The privately held company this week announced the name change, a key executive hire, and a new version of its Puppet Enterprise platform designed to automate the delivery and updating of IT software. The platform will be tied to emerging cloud and datacenter tools such as Docker and CoreOS application containers, Kubernetes container cluster manager and Mesosphere's datacenter operating center via a new initiative called Project Blueshift.

The upgraded software operations platform includes "direct change orchestration" that allows administrators to push out a change on demand and then orchestrate the deployment of applications and infrastructure in the desired sequence. The company also touts real-time visibility and "throttling" of changes that span virtual machines running in a public cloud to a Kubernetes cluster-based application.

"Only a small fraction of software is delivered, updated, monitored and made secure in an automated way," Puppet CEO Luke Kanies noted in a blog post unveiling the company's expansion plans. "Too much human energy is being spent on pushing changes to software, responding to security events and trying to understand the computing environment itself."

Puppet hinted at its expansion plans earlier this year when it announced a headquarters expansion in Portland, Ore., and a $22 million line of credit to be used, according to Kanies, as "risk mitigation" in response to recent volatility in global financial markets.

The company characterized Project Blueshift as a "bridge" designed to help Puppet Enterprise users leverage the platform to "adopt the next big thing in a standard, predictable way." Among those "next big thing[s] are application containers and underlying orchestration and cluster management tools that are handling more production workloads.

For example, Puppet said Blueshift could be used to install and configure Docker Engine and other tools used to manage containers. Meanwhile, a Puppet module for Kubernetes, the Google cluster manager, provides automation tools, including domain-specific interfaces to Kubernetes configurations.

The initiative also includes modules for managing CoreOS container tools such as its rkt container engine and its Kubernetes distribution, Tectonic.

New Puppet modules also can be used to install and manage Apache Mesos, the foundation of Mesosphere's datacenter operating center. Puppet also said Thursday (April 7) it is working with Mesosphere on another module to install and configure the platform that treats a datacenter like a single computer.

Another component of Project Blueshift is installation and management of HashiCorp's tool for discovering network services. The combination is designed to automate datacenter services.

Meanwhile, Puppet named former VMware (NYSE: VMW) executive Sanjay Mirchandani as its first president and chief operating officer. Mirchandani will oversee the company's expansion and product development. He previously oversaw VMware's Asian operations. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at EMC (NYSE: EMC) and also held executive positions at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

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).

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