Puppet aims for the sky, appoints new CTO

Infrastructure automation vendor Puppet has lots of fight left, as it hires up and blasts through temporary trends

Puppet appoints new CTO

Puppet CEO Luke Kanies has seen a lots of change since he founded Puppet.

The company, whose goal is to make the deployment of IT infrastructure quicker and easier than before, came about around the time widespread adoption of virtualization occurred. This adoption called for a new way of working: instead of physically racking and stacking machines and installing software on them at the same time, the ability to programmatically set up servers called for a new way to set up the software that runs on them. This is the area that Puppet and its arch-rival Chef are focused on.

But since the move from physical servers to virtual servers, we have seen a rapid escalation in the infrastructure wars, or, more correctly, we have seen an increasing velocity in terms of technology change. Microservices, the rise of containers and new orchestration approaches from the likes of Kubernetes and Mesos have all meant that a server-centric approach towards automation seems perhaps a little quaint. There is even much talk of "server-less" with the event-driven services from Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft Azure coming to the fore.

Kanies is undaunted, though, and intent on steering a steady and pragmatic ship through the waves. As he so rightly points out, there's little use in running after the latest fad if real businesses, the customers that pay him money for the Puppet service, aren't yet adopting those new technologies. So, Kanies remains bullish and is hiring up to give his company the best possible chance of being one of the important players in the future.

PuppetDB founder named CTO and chief architect

Today, Kanies announced long-time Puppet veteran Deepak Giridharagopal is being appointed chief technology officer and chief architect. Giridharagopal founded Puppet's data service, PuppetDB, and has had a big hand in scaling its platform to service huge global deployments, so he would seem a natural candidate for the role. Giridharagopal points out that while Puppet's customers may be moving at a sometimes modest pace, he's keen to keep abreast of all of the innovation occurring in the industry.

“Puppet is a strategic part of the way companies deliver great software,” Giridharagopal said. “It’s being used by the largest businesses on the planet to manage everything from basic configuration changes to full-stack application deployments running on anything from physical or virtual machines, the cloud, containers and beyond. But this is just the start. As CTO and chief architect, I’ll be able to work more closely with our amazing development staff and community to further push the envelope and meet the rapidly changing needs of our users and customers.”

Giridharagopal isn't the only recent addition to Puppet’s executive team. Joining the company in executive roles come Sanjay Mirchandani (president and COO), Simon Hayes (senior vice president of business and corporate development) and Jamie Hull (vice president of product). All of these hires are about making sure Puppet has the technology, the systems and the business scale to prosper in the future.

It's not easy, and Kanies must grow tired of the constant suggestions that his company will become less relevant as time goes on. But never one to doubt himself or his analysis of the marketplace, Kanies soldiers on and builds a successful business in the process.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.