Puppet Updates Platform, Starts New Interoperability Project

What does IT management look like in a world of Docker, Kubernetes and CoreOS? This is what Puppet's Project Blueshift is about.

project blueshift

Puppet, which specializes in automating the new-gen delivery and operation of software, had a trifecta of news items to announce on April 7.

First of all, the corporate name Puppet Labs is no more. It's now Puppet only; simpler, and it was what everybody was calling the company anyway. The company even owns the URL https://puppet.com/.

Secondly, the company named a new President and Chief Operating Officer, Sanjay Mirchandani, most recently of EMC and VMware, where he was corporate senior vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific and Japan.

Thirdly, the Portland, Ore.-based company released a couple of new products and a new interoperability project. The products are Puppet Enterprise 2016.1 platform and Puppet Enterprise App for Splunk, which expands Splunk to give enterprises better visibility into changes as they happen in their infrastructure.

Project Blueshift is a project involving several new-gen IT providers. More on this later in this story.

How Puppet Extends Splunk Functionality

The Puppet Enterprise App for Splunk ingests data into Splunk Enterprise to analyze performance metrics for Puppet Enterprise services, such as PuppetDB, the Puppet Server and console services. The app also enables customers to create their own customized visualizations in Splunk Enterprise. Users now can have more than just data; they have information that can be shared between teams, facilitating greater collaboration to continuously deliver software quickly and reliably.

"Proactive and automated monitoring allows people to do what they do best: make informed decisions based on fast, reliable feedback loops," said Puppet CIO Nigel Kersten. "By using the Splunk platform, joint customers can trust that their systems are always in compliance and see changes as they're happening."

Puppet Enterprise 2016.1 is an advanced software operations platform that builds on orchestration capabilities introduced last year, giving users direct control of the changes they want to push out, plus real-time visibility into those changes—whether it's an app running in a Kubernetes cluster or a fleet of VMs running in AWS.

Here's what customers get with the new capabilities in Puppet Enterprise 2016.1, according to CEO and founder Luke Kanies:

--Direct change orchestration: Now it's possible to push out any change on demand and orchestrate the ordered deployments of applications and infrastructure. Direct change control also makes it possible to schedule change in a specific window and push change through tools like HipChat, Git, Jenkins or directly with Puppet Enterprise. Operators get a whole new level of control without having to adjust how they use other tools in their DevOps and CI/CD workflows.

--Real-time orchestration visibility and throttling: Now users can see the results of changes as they occur, in real time. It's also easy now to deploy a set of changes to a small section of infrastructure, then throttle up or down as needed. For example, an operator can deploy a change to 10 servers, then stop the deployment at any moment to investigate issues. If things are going well, the operator can expand deployment to thousands of servers at a time.

--Interactive visualization: Last year, Puppet introduced the industry's first interactive node graph. This release introduces another first: an interactive dependency graph. Now teams can visualize dependencies across the resources they manage with Puppet, including all ancestors and descendants. Understanding these relationships makes it easier for teams to troubleshoot issues faster, optimize their infrastructure as code, understand the impact of change, and collaborate more effectively as they share code between them.

Project Blueshift

Blueshift represents Puppet's engagement with leading-edge technologies and their communities—container technologies, such as Docker, Mesos and Kubernetes—and Puppet sees its role as providing to organizations the tools to build and operate constantly updated software.

Puppet is a de facto common language for new-gen infrastructure management that spans the entire data center.

"Enterprises are looking at these questions: What does management (of IT) look like in a world of Docker, of Kubernetes, of CoreOS?" Kanies told eWEEK. "This is what Project Blueshift is about. It's less of an individual software project and more of an ongoing development effort and its a partnership between us, our partners, our community and a lot of different technologies.

"Project Blueshift serves as Puppet's role as the bridge to the future, giving Puppet users the resources they need to adopt the next big thing in a standard, predictable way."

In collaboration with Puppet's community of more than 30,000 organizations around the world, Kanies said Blueshift is addressing projects such as:

--Docker: Puppet can install and configure the popular Docker Engine, as well as other tools Docker Inc. provides for managing containers Compose, Swarm and Network. Puppet also quickly gets Docker Universal Control Plane up and running across Docker hosts.

--Kubernetes: Google's container management system is growing in popularity. The Puppet module for Kubernetes makes it easy to manage Pods, Replication Controllers, Services and more in Kubernetes, and to build domain-specific interfaces to one's Kubernetes configuration.

--Mesosphere DCOS: An enterprise-scale platform that treats a data center like a single computer. The components that comprise DCOS, including Apache Mesos and Mesosphere's Marathon, are running in production at Apple, Yelp, Verizon and other large organizations. The Puppet community has developed several modules to install Mesos and the most popular Mesos frameworks, and methods for managing Mesos with Puppet, too. Additionally, Puppet and Mesosphere are working together on a module to install and configure MesosphereDCOS.

--Consul: Hashicorp's open-source tool for discovering services on networks can be installed and managed with Puppet. Using the two together helps companies automate different services in the data center, thanks to the work of Puppet community members.

--CoreOS: The company behind this distribution of Linux, designed for large deployments on varied infrastructure, has released other popular open-source projects, including Tectonic (a Kubernetes distribution); rkt, a container engine; etcd, a distributed configuration store; and Flannel, a virtual networking component. All of these work well with Puppet, thanks to modules created by the Puppet community.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...