Puppet Sees Big Growth In Hybrid Cloud By Working With EMC And Its Channel Partners

IT automation software firm Puppet is seeing rapid growth in its business in part through partnering with IT giants such as as EMC and Cisco Systems, a Puppet executive told CRN.

Puppet is especially seeing success through working with EMC’s Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud team and partners that are part of EMC’s Technology Connect Select Partners program—both of which are selling Puppet Enterprise, Puppet Director of Product Marketing Tim Zonca told CRN in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Portland, Ore.

’Why we tend to see so much success there is that for an EMC rep selling cloud, they’re already talking about moving to cloud and the complexity of managing public and private clouds, and the ongoing management of those environments,’ Zonca said. ’That’s our sweet spot. So them talking [to customers] about how you’d use Puppet in this context is totally in line, from the early parts of the conversations.’

[Related: Puppet Labs Lands $40 Million Funding Round]

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Puppet’s software is used to provide a common language for delivering applications -- dubbed infrastructure as code, since it provides a standard way to manage all infrastructure such as clouds, containers, storage and networking, using code that is both human- and machine-readable.

Puppet also provides software for automating key parts of IT operation, which together with the common language for application delivery ’allows enterprises that’ve been around for decades and have everything under the sun [for infrastructure] to start to behave more like a software company, to start to approximate a unified stack, to start to approximate continuous delivery practices, even though they have a complex set of old and new stuff,’ Zonca said.

Puppet did not disclose specific dollar amounts for its financial results but is reporting that revenue grew by 72 percent in 2015 over the prior year, while the company now has 1,000 paying customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100, Zonca said. Key verticals include financial services, retail, health care, government and telco, he said.

EMC, whose VMware subsidiary is an investor in Puppet, has been a major partner of Puppet for both its hybrid cloud and DevOps teams, Zonca said. Puppet’s sales team has also worked in concert with teams at Cisco -- and Puppet has completed integrations with Cisco switching technology -- though the Cisco channel is not selling Puppet yet in the way that EMC’s channel is, Zonca said.

Puppet has been receiving a large amount of inbound interest from channel partners in working with the company, and Puppet is looking to work with additional partners that can expand the company’s geographic reach as well as expand access to decision-making executives within enterprises, Zonca said.

Puppet is also looking to work with more partners that can help the company expand into adjacent markets, he said. ’For example, one of the things customers use us for is network automation. When we sell direct, we tend to not lead with network automation—usually the initial interest is on the compute side of things, but it happens to be advantageous that we help with network and storage,’ Zonca said.

But for partners whose ’initial entry point into an organization is networking, and they can take the Puppet story, but lead with networking, in a way that they’re just well-suited to do," he said.

Meanwhile, beyond implementing Puppet’s software in enterprises, there are also plenty of opportunities for service providers working with Puppet, Zonca said. One area that service providers can get involved is in helping end customers to ’mature their DevOps practices culturally’—such as by doing trainings around agile practices like continual delivery and tackling smaller workloads, Zonca said.

Service providers, particularly ones on the larger end of the scale, can also get involved with Puppet by helping organizations to take the practices of smaller teams that have succeeded with Puppet and DevOps and ’then broaden those out to the entire enterprise,’ Zonca said.

This can mean helping teams at ’working together in new ways without changing the organizational structure,’ he said. ’We prefer to have our partners handle those.’