Interview

Puppet Labs founder Luke Kanies talks about Puppet Enterprise and DevOps

Luke Kanies

Luke Kanies

Yesterday, those guys at Puppet Labs deployed their latest generally available release Puppet Enterprise 2.5, enabling system administrators to manage heterogeneous IT environments of Linux, Unix and for the first time Windows systems. With close ties to their Puppet Forge online marketplace, Puppet Enterprise 2.5 also facilitates DevOps giving cross-functional IT teams a common framework that allows rapid, continuous deployment of applications.

We caught up with Puppet Labs founder Luke Kanies just before he went to EclipseCon to talk about the release and how it fitted into the infrastructure picture...

JAX: So Puppet Labs Enterprise 2.5 is here. Can you tell us about what is new within this version?

Luke Kanies: Puppet Enterprise 2.5 is our fourth release of Puppet Enterprise since it launched in 2011, and follows on from the major 2.0 release in November of last year. First in the release is support for Windows, which allows Puppet users to use a single language and platform to manage their entire infrastructure, from Red Hat servers on EC2 to Windows servers on physical hardware, and even including the Cisco networking hardware and F5 load balancers.

Next is integration with the Puppet Forge, where users can find, download, install, and manage more than 300 freely downloadable pre-built solutions in Puppet. These solutions stretch from MySQL and Apache to Hadoop and OpenStack, and provide the fastest way to automate solutions to new problems. Because they are built and maintained by our wonderful community, they are also a way of sharing and benefiting from community best practices, so everyone learns together rather than in separate silos.

Lastly is our big data for infrastructure work, which wraps up all of Puppet's open data, formats, and APIs into the Puppet Data Library, which is perfect for building applications on top of Puppet and integrating it into existing infrastructure. This includes data like hardware and software inventory, run reports that tell you everything that's happening on your infrastructure, and our configuration graph which tells you not just what you're managing but what it's related to. With the Puppet Data Library, our users have applications like a warranty report that uses discovered serial numbers to automatically determine when a piece of hardware goes off warranty.

Why was Puppet Labs Enterprise created in the first place? Was it a response to the sluggish cloud computing infrastructure of old?

Puppet Enterprise was more a response to the fact that the software around at the time wasn't useful enough for people to even bother with it. When we started with Puppet, there were multiple commercial products and tens of open source projects in the space, but fewer than 20% of companies ever used any of them, and those that were used were barely so at that.

Part of the problem was just that these tools were meant to be all-encompassing solutions that took 12-18 months to deploy, but they also didn't make life easier or better for the sysadmin, they just changed the job. I wanted a solution that sysadmins would love, that would allow them to move away from firefighting all the time and focusing on strategic work, and that would allow operations to become a source of leverage for the organization rather than just a cost center.

The fact that Puppet has been at the forefront of DevOps, and a big enabler in the cloud, is a testament to how important this better tooling really is to moving forward and quickly.

  

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Chris Mayer

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