New Enterprise App Orchestration Tool Announced

Puppet Labs, the commercial supporter of the open source Puppet configuration management tool, today announced a new solution designed to simplify the enterprise application orchestration process. Scheduled for release later this year, Puppet Application Orchestration provides a full management stack, "from bare metal all the way up to modern distributed applications," said company founder and CEO Luke Kanies.

"The focus of DevOps in general and configuration management in particular has been on infrastructure," Kanies told ADTmag. "That's just where you have to start. It's where we started, too. It's the point of entry for getting automation in place. The next step is extending that strength to support distributed applications spread across your entire infrastructure."

The company is billing Puppet Application Orchestration as a complete management stack on a single platform. It's designed to reduce the complexity of deploying and managing applications composed of multiple apps or services spanning multiple nodes. It provides a way to model applications as code, including the dependencies among different services and systems that make up an application or application stack.

"It's a reality of the world today that applications are getting more complex and will continue to increase in complexity," Kanies told ADTmag. "There's really no point at which the industry is going to say, 'Okay, we're good.' That's our strength at Puppet Labs: We make things that are complex simpler and more maintainable."

With Puppet Application Orchestration, the company has extended the Puppet domain specific language (DSL) to directly support the modeling of distributed applications, including their relationships with underlying infrastructure, Kanies explained. An orchestrator uses the graph generated by the model to make intelligent decisions -- to make sure that the right things happen in the right order on the right machines as the application is deployed, updated, or destroyed.

"It's not just about the application, but all the pieces and how they're all related," Kanies said. "It's a completely new way of orchestrating activities, based on modeling rather than explicitly defining a series of actions. This gives you the ability to specify the order and relationships but leave the decision making about how to implement that ordering to the orchestrator. This is how Puppet has always worked on the individual node. What we're adding here is a new central orchestrator that takes that model and applies it in a distributed way across your entire infrastructure. Because it's built on the existing Puppet stack, it can be used to build applications built on the already existing 3500 models on the Puppet Forge. You've got a large corpus of existing work. That's a strength of the platform and a sign of how simple the orchestrator really is."

Kanies founded the company in 2005 and launched its first commercial product, Puppet Enterprise, in 2011. The open source Puppet utility is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license and runs on Linux, Unix, Windows and Mac OS X. Puppet Enterprise is an IT automation framework that comes with everything Puppet provides, plus commercial enhancements, supported modules, and integrations. The company today claims more than 1,000 paying customers around the world.

IDC analyst Mary Johnston Turner sees application orchestration solutions that can also manage middleware and infrastructure "in a consistent and unified manner" as important enablers of emerging DevOps and cloud native application environments. "IDC's research shows that traditional IT administration teams spend 40 percent of their time simply managing new service requests, provisioning systems and applying patches," she said in a statement. "In today's fast moving DevOps and continuous delivery application environments these organizations need to increase productivity and tightly coordinate all aspects of infrastructure, middleware and application configuration and control."

The company will demo the product at its annual PuppetConf (Portland, Oct. 5-9).

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].