Puppet Labs Kicks Off PuppetConf With Announcements of Major Updates to the Industry's Most Popular IT Automation Products: health updates

Next-Generation Puppet Server Improves Performance by 3x, New Puppet Apps, Management and Reporting Capabilities Extend the Productivity and Efficiency of DevOps Teams

San Francisco. September 23, 2014 – Today, in front of an audience of nearly 7,000 Puppet users at PuppetConf 2014, Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies unveiled landmark updates to Puppet, the industry’s most popular IT automation platform. Puppet is used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide and is the fastest-growing technical skill, according to a report from job site Dice.com.

Kanies, the original author of Puppet, introduced major updates to Puppet Labs’ open source and commercial platforms, all-new Puppet Apps, new management and reporting capabilities, and major updates to the Puppet language.

“By shipping software people love with critical technology underpinnings, Puppet has become the standard for IT automation,” said Kanies. “This next evolution of Puppet and Puppet Enterprise keeps this tradition — it gives everyone access to the best technology in the market, while providing mainstream enterprise IT a stable, reliable platform for rigorous production environments. These advancements ensure that customers can adopt the best technology faster than ever.”

Next-generation Puppet Server

Because Puppet is rapidly becoming the lingua franca of data center automation, it is a critical part of the daily operations of data centers around the world. To support that, Puppet Labs has implemented a next-generation architecture for the Puppet Server to provide greater scalability, resiliency and ease-of-integration.

The Puppet Server is built on the same JVM tech stack that has made PuppetDB so successful. This new architecture allows composable (rather than monolithic) services that are modular and highly performant, and provides the foundation for a more resilient, highly-available Puppet platform. It’s also much faster. Combined with client-side optimization, Puppet Server performance has increased by over 3x.

Introducing Puppet Apps

Puppet, which is actively used to manage millions of nodes, is the de facto standard for IT automation. The platform enhancements announced today will provide Puppet users with a more powerful, flexible, and effective automation platform. To help users quickly adopt innovative new technology, Puppet Labs is announcing Puppet Apps — a new way of rapidly delivering innovation to the Puppet ecosystem.

Puppet Apps are purpose-built applications that focus on solving IT automation challenges in new, innovative ways. While Puppet Apps work closely with the Puppet platform and other Puppet Apps, they will be released independently, allowing for frequent updates, and affording customers the ability to adopt new functionality as needed. Puppet Apps will be available to Puppet Enterprise customers based on their existing license.

Puppet Node Manager

Puppet Node Manager is the first of these new Puppet Apps. Node Manager makes it much simpler to manage a large number of frequently-changing systems. This new approach allows administrators to manage infrastructure based on its job, rather than its name, providing customers with the ability to adopt a modern, cattle-not-pets approach to managing dynamic infrastructure.

Instead of managing machines merely by host name, or through manual classification, a rules-based classifier groups nodes based on key characteristics, like operating system, geographic location, and IP address. It’s a lot like using a Smart Playlist to manage a large music library. Combined with Puppet’s aspect-oriented configuration management, nodes can be classified with little to no manual effort.

Puppet Node Manager will ship in Q4 as part of Puppet Enterprise. Additional Puppet Apps will be made available in early 2015.

New management and reporting capabilities

Included in the latest Puppet Enterprise release are new management capabilities that increase the productivity and efficiency of operations teams, especially as infrastructure and teams scale.

Role-Based Access Control – Granular RBAC capabilities make their debut in the newest release of Puppet Enterprise. RBAC makes it possible for Puppet Enterprise nodes to be segmented so that tasks can be safely delegated to the right people. Puppet Enterprise RBAC provides granular delegation of management capabilities across teams and individuals. For instance, RBAC allows segmenting of infrastructure across application teams so that they can manage their own servers without affecting other applications.

To ease the administration of users and authentication, it integrates directly with standard directory services including Microsoft Active Directory and OpenLDAP. The new RBAC service is leveraged first by Puppet Node Manager and will be available to other Puppet Apps and services in subsequent releases.

Puppet Server Reporting – A new Profiler and Metrics Service tracks key metrics associated with the health and performance of a Puppet server. The service, which is available as part of Puppet Enterprise, collects a wide variety of metrics, including active requests, request duration, execution times, and compilation load. The metrics are made available for monitoring and alerting in any third-party app, such as those that support JMX and the popular Graphite server. To help get customers started, pre-packaged Graphite reports covering performance and system health are available.

Updates to the Puppet language

Puppet’s simple programming language is the most widely used means of describing and managing infrastructure. The new release of Puppet includes major enhancements to the Puppet language that make it easier to write and maintain Puppet code. Using Puppet’s future parser, Puppet users can preview the language enhancements in their test environments now, in advance of the enhancements becoming standard language in early 2015.

In addition to many changes that improve the usability, completeness, and consistency of the language, enhancements include:

Iteration – Makes it possible to do common data transformation and reduce manual repetition of code without resorting to writing logic in Ruby.

Data System – A new data-type system makes it much easier to write high-quality Puppet code, as Puppet does the parameter checking.

Puppet Templates – Templates can be written using Puppet code rather than Ruby, which makes template writing easier and safer, as it managed by Puppet. Error Handling – Puppet provides detailed information about errors and can more accurately point to where the problem was detected.

Additional Resources

About Puppet Labs

Puppet Labs, Inc. is the leader in IT automation. Puppet Labs software provides system administrators the operational agility, efficiency and insight they need to proactively manage dynamic infrastructure, scaling from tens of servers to thousands, both on-premise and in the cloud. Thousands of the world’s leading organizations use Puppet Labs software to configure and manage their IT infrastructure, including Bank of America, Cisco, Citrix, eBay, NYSE, PayPal, Salesforce.com and WebEx. Based in Portland, Oregon, Puppet Labs employs more than 320 people. The company is backed by investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Google Ventures, VMware, Cisco, True Ventures, Radar Partners, and Emerson Street Partners. To learn more, please visit PuppetLabs.com.

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