Puppet 2.6 Expands Open Source System Configuration

It’s starting off to be a good week for open source configuration management vendor Puppet Labs. The startup announced today that it has raised an additional $5 million in venture funding, bringing total funding to $7 million to date. Those new funds come on the same day that a major new release of the open source Puppet framework is being made generally available.

Version 2.6 of Puppet — a widely used open source framework that provides administrators with the ability to manage system configuration and provisioning — adds new capabilities to the configuration management framework including a new event model, better integration via REST and preliminary support for Windows.

“You explain to Puppet what you want your systems to look like and Puppet will make sure that’s the case, and as you change specifications, Puppet will update the machines on your network,” Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies told InternetNews.com.

Among the big changes in Puppet 2.6 are enhancements to the Puppet event model that identifies which services need to be restarted as a result of a change. Kanies explained that any change on a system results in an event being created. In prior versions of Puppet, the event model provided only basic text strings of what changes took place, but in 2.6, Kanies noted that the event model will now clearly identify which particular resource was changed from one value to another, and its specific result.

“So if you’re doing compliance or change control tracking, you have far more information,” Kanies said.

Puppet is also seeing new capabilities in other areas. Currently, Puppet is mostly used for Linux systems management though with Puppet 2.6, the framework is also beginning to offer some Windows support as well. Kanies noted that the support for Windows in Puppet 2.6 is minimal but it is a start.

“Users can now install Puppet on Windows, and what they’ll find is they can do some things, but they may not be able to do all the things they want,” Kanies said. “This release is about enabling enough functionality so people will try Puppet for Windows, while the next generation will be about adding more features.”

In addition to future Windows improvements, Kanies said that Puppet might evolve in the future to enable system provisioning from bare metal. He noted that Puppet Labs has helped its clients to set up for virtual machine provisioning. In the future, Kanies said that he expects there to be cloud provisioning tools from Puppet as well.

Those efforts could see a boost now that Puppet Labs also has several millions more dollars in the bank, thanks to a new funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

From a commercialization perspective, Puppet itself is an open source framework while Puppet Labs makes money by providing services, support and commercial add-ons for Puppet.

“I don’t think of our commercial business as an open core, as it won’t be a shell wrapped around Puppet, it’s more like things hung off of Puppet,” Kanies said. “The Puppet framework and the core functionality will always be free.”

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