• 06/24/2014
    12:30 PM
    Marcia Savage
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Puppet Labs Teams With Networking & Storage Vendors

The IT automation software company and DevOps leader launches a certification program to integrate Puppet Enterprise with networking and storage equipment.

Puppet Labs, a supplier of IT automation software, launched its Puppet Supported Program on Tuesday. Through the certification program, the company is partnering with Cisco, EMC, Arista Networks, Brocade, Cumulus Networks, F5, Huawei, and NetApp to integrate its software with networking and storage devices.

The idea is to extend Puppet Labs' software beyond servers to enable automation of networking and storage devices. Puppet Labs, a key player in the DevOps movement, sells a commercial version of the open-source Puppet software called Puppet Enterprise.

Companies using Puppet and deploying applications in virtualized and cloud environments can run into bottlenecks with networking and storage resources, Puppet Labs CIO Nigel Kersten told us. "It's not just the fact there isn't as much automation in the network and storage space, but it requires communication across organizational boundaries." DevOps provides a common language for communication across organizational silos.

Puppet Labs already provides integrated functionality through partners such as Cisco, but it wanted to implement a rigorous development process, so it created the certification program, Kersten said.

The integration is helping out networking teams by streamlining laborious tasks, particularly VLAN interface management, he said. Puppet is accessible and doesn't require someone be a programmer to use it.

"What does require some change is moving to a more declarative and automation mindset. It's less about picking up technical skills and more about learning to work in a world where you're more collaborative with other groups that connect to you and being focused much more on automation than manual processes," he said. "We think that's an inexorable march. The same thing happened in the system administration space."

Puppet Labs recently released its 2014 State of DevOps report (registration required), which surveyed more than 9,200 IT pros from 110 countries. The study found that, for the second year in a row, organizations are rapidly adopting DevOps, and that DevOps practices such as version control and continuous delivery improve IT performance. In turn, strong IT performance provides companies with a competitive advantage.

The survey also found that an organizational culture of cross-functional collaboration and shared responsibilities correlates with high organizational performance. Moreover, DevOps practices increase employee satisfaction, which is the top predictor of organizational performance, according to the study.


Functionality vs. Quality Adaptability

A firm can lock their programmers into a room, hand over a list of desired functions and set a deadline. The result will be a software that works (at times), because neither would the programmers fully understand the problems that the software is trying to address, and neither can the firm foresee and create a comprehensive list of desirable functions because, functions, requirements and objectives, evolve with time.

DevOps can bridge these gaps by using communication and collaboration between the teams that are creating the software and the teams that will be utilizing/operating it. 

Re: Functionality vs. Quality Adaptability

The DevOps promises of communication and collaboration are certainly promising, but according to an InformationWeek DevOps survey released early this year, adoption so far has been sort of tepid and the results mixed.

Re: Functionality vs. Quality Adaptability

Marcia, good point and I have a feeling that new IT organizations that are successful, have a solid business model and deliver high value apps, don't activity consider the level of DevOps in their model, because from the beginning, their firms were born into the DevOps model.

As for old firms, some IT organizations have attempted to focus on building competency around the spectrum (non-specialization model), rather than, out-source support function to the Cloud with firms that own economies of scale and focusing on their core specialization. This results in a situation where the organization is dealing with multiple layers, and they can't focus on their core competency -- making DevOps, to only look good on paper.

Re: Functionality vs. Quality Adaptability

I think you may be right Brian. Startups are agile to begin with, while shifting to a DevOps model in an established IT organization faces a lot of challenges, perhaps making actual gains more elusive. 

Re: Functionality vs. Quality Adaptability

DevOps, like project management software, is great in theory but it also adds another layer to an existing process and requires a certain amount of time to get up to speed on and to nuture the habit of using it.