I’m thrilled to announce that VMware, Google Ventures, and Cisco have joined existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures, and Radar Partners in our $8.5 million Series C financing. Gene Kim, author of VisibleOps and founder of Tripwire, has also invested.
It’s an exciting milestone for our company. In 2005, after years of working with and on a range of IT management tools, I started Puppet Labs with the mission of building great tools for system administrators. We wanted to build the best tools, but we also wanted to build tools that sysadmins actually enjoyed using, tools that were easy enough for anyone but powerful enough for everyone.
Great design was never considered a key feature in software for IT, but we stayed focused, and later that year we released the first open source version of Puppet. Since then, together with growing numbers of community members and employees, we have built and refined Puppet such that tens of thousands of sysadmins in thousands of organizations around the world have come to rely on it to automate their IT operations. Inspired by this adoption – and wanting to make these powerful tools even more accessible to all sysadmins – earlier this year we released our first commercial product, Puppet Enterprise, to a reception that’s exceeded even our own high expectations.
Demand > Supply
So why bother raising more money? Simply put, the market demand for our products is outstripping our ability to satisfy it through organic growth alone. Consider the following:
- Last week, InfoWorld announced that #1 of its “Top Ten Emerging Enterprise Technologies” is “private cloud orchestration” and noted Puppet’s leadership;
- Amazon recently responded to the demand for Puppet by bundling Puppet into their Amazon Linux EC2 images;
- The Wall Street Journal last month noted that the demand for sysadmins with Puppet skills grew more than 200% year-over-year;
- In September, Bloomberg Businessweek’s article on Puppet Labs underscored our momentum, highlighting that our products accelerated customers’ “transition to cloud computing”;
- Recognition of our thought leadership in DevOps, a revolution in IT operations, grew this year such that our insights are widely sought and cited, as evidenced as recently as earlier this month in The Register’s “Cloud’s New Rules” article.
Enter VMware, Google, and Cisco
This combination of strong momentum and the challenges of a fast-growing startup led us to seek the best partners we could find for the next leg of our journey. We wanted partners with insights into the trends driving our industry, who understand our customers, and who get the unique nature of our approach to IT automation. Given these goals, VMware, Google, and Cisco are an ideal fit, both for us and for our customers.
As trends go, while at times it’s difficult to separate reality from hype, it’s clear that virtualization and cloud computing are disrupting our industry at every layer in the stack. Amidst this chaos, VMware has carved-out impressive leadership in virtualization and private cloud computing. And Google, in order to scale their businesses to meet exponentially growing demand, pioneered many of the concepts of cloud computing that are just now being commercialized for the broader market. Such partners provide us with an incredibly powerful crystal ball into the dynamics and impact of these trends.
With these disruptive trends, we see our mission as enabling customers to take full advantage of their resulting benefits; thus the desire to work with partners who understand our customer, the system administrator. Here, both VMware and Cisco are trusted, strategic partners of IT organizations worldwide; they understand the challenges facing system administrators to deliver ever shorter change cycles while maintaining enterprise-class service levels. Working together, we’ll be able to build software that allows system administrators to deliver business-critical results with both higher quality and greater agility.
Finally, for us, how we achieve these results is as important as the results themselves, and finding partners who understand the value of our approach was critical. These partners have hands-on, in-production-at-scale experience with Puppet – in some cases, going back several years. Not only do their experiences validate the dramatic productivity improvements which our approach delivers – from 10s of nodes per sysadmin our competitors see to 100s and even 1000s that our users routinely experience – they also recognize the agility, portability, and insight that Puppet enables. We’re humbled that their experiences with our product motivated exploration and consummation of a closer relationship.
The Road Ahead
How will we use these new financial and partner resources? From the enthusiastic reception of our recently released commercial product, Puppet Enterprise 2.0, it’s clear that doubling down on designing powerful IT automation tools that are easy to use – and, going forward, integrated with the our new partners’ products – will result in tremendous benefits for system administrators. In particular, we will invest more in designing products that allows our users to move faster, with more information, and across a wider selection of technologies than ever before, as it’s clear is necessary to take full advantage of the disruptions of virtualization and cloud computing. In addition, our community over the years has consistently provided great feedback and guidance on our technology, and these new financial resources enable us to increase our investment in both community and platform.
I’ll wrap-up with a round of thank-yous. Specifically, thanks to our community members for their ongoing engagement and collaboration, our existing and new investors for partnering with us on this journey, our customers for trusting our software to help them run their businesses, and our employees for their passion, intelligence, and drive to build awesome IT automation tools for system administrators.
Stay tuned for more – it’s going to be a fantastic 2012.