John Furrier, the founder of Silicon Angle and the host of our flagship broadcast program theCUBE, interviewed James Turnbull, VP of technology for Puppet Labs, at the Velocity Conference 2013 in Santa Clara this week, talking about DevOps, Agile and Mobile.
For Furrier the Velocity Conference is a very cutting-edge event, a clear indicator of where the developer community is going (particularly with DevOps). But he wanted to know why is this conference so popular with the “alpha geek community.” Turnbull’s impression is that “when Velocity started, it addressed a need that there was no real place for the web performance and the DevOps people to articulate their concerns, and to talk about advancing the technology. This year particularly I’ve noticed a slight change: there’s more mainstream IT people here,” observed Turnbull. It’s a social interaction for geeks.
Puppet Labs is about eight years old now, with a staff of about 160 people. The company started out as open source and moved towards Enterprise. Puppet is IT automation software that enables system administrators to manage infrastructure throughout its life cycle, from provisioning to compliance.
What mega trends are out there, and what specific problems does Puppet Labs solve?
Turnbull sees two big trends. The first one is Virtualization & Cloud. “A lot of our customers are looking at automation because they have reached the limit to which they can humanly scale.” The second trend Turnbull sees pertains to the business. “The business is much more demanding of results.”
Furrier relaunched an idea that has been bounced around a lot lately: “Infrastructure is code.” This speaks more to the DevOps mindset. Turnbull was pleased with the quote, which, as it turns out, was coined by one of their co-founders, Andrew Shafer. What the expression means is: “instead of treating your infrastructure as a snowflake, you treat it as a code,” explained Turnbull. “You build it, you deploy it, it has a lifecycle, it is no longer a closed system.”
As for the important things that Puppet Labs is watching for the future, Turnbull says he’s particularly interested in monitoring; it’s been around for so long, it’s pretty clear it is very relevant for the industry.