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Puppet Labs Tools Up For OpenStack Clouds

Enterprises deploying cloud computing infrastructures using OpenStack now have another configuration tool at their disposal, thanks to Puppet Labs. The Portland-based company unveiled one of the first OpenStack implementations suitable for enterprise-class production deployments at this week's OpenStack Summit in San Francisco. The company's IT automation software is aimed at system administrators, designed to help them launch and support cloud computing infrastructures.

Puppet Labs collaborated with OpenStack community members Cisco, Morphlabs and eNovance to develop OpenStack configuration modules for its products--Puppet open source and Puppet Enterprise--to provide enterprise-ready IT automation for OpenStack’s compute, object storage and image service capabilities. These modules are already available for free download from Puppet Forge, the company’s online marketplace.

Puppet Labs’ support for OpenStack focuses on scalability, agility and best practices, so system administrators can reuse infrastructure. Luke Kanies, company CEO and founder, says the company has seen a lot of momentum around OpenStack as more enterprises have gone into production with cloud computing infrastructures in the past six months. Puppet released its commercial version of Puppet Enterprise in February 2011, and in the last quarter he says the company has seen significant growth.

"Puppet is really focused around ease of use for the end user," he says. Enterprise system administrators can use Puppet Enterprise on a small scale at first and can manage up to 10 nodes for free.

Puppet Enterprise automates tasks at any stage of the IT infrastructure lifecycle, including provisioning, discovery, OS and application configuration management, build and release management, patch management, and infrastructure audit and compliance. It’s that automation that provides system administrators with value, says Kanies. "Without automation, you can’t build the cloud with the benefits you want."

He says many enterprises are under what he calls "social pressure" to develop cloud infrastructures, rather than actual technical pressures. "The hype is overwhelming," Kanies says, but enterprises really need business reasons if they are to embrace cloud infrastructures, whether it’s public, private or hybrid.

OpenStack is gaining momentum as enterprises and service providers look to quickly and securely deploy both private and public clouds. Just last week HP announced the launch of HP Converged Cloud, which it says is the industry’s first hybrid delivery approach, combining its HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Converged Management and Security, Converged Information and hardened OpenStack technology. "OpenStack seems to have crossed the line from the early stages to going into production," says Kanies.

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