Puppet's 'Relay' Beta Release: A Response to Growing DevOps Complexity

IT automation software maker Puppet's recent launch of the public beta of a new event-driven automation platform for DevOps called "Relay" addresses the "immense complexity" created by the enterprise shift to the cloud, the company says.

The new platform is designed to automate processes across cloud infrastructures, tools and APIs that developers, DevOps engineers and site reliability engineers (SREs) are often managing manually today.

DevOps engineers typically oversee dozens of new tools and technologies, from containers and VMs to serverless applications and APIs, in addition to existing infrastructure. It's a trend that's here to stay, says Puppet CTO Deepak Giridharagopal.

"We believe the future is a more heterogeneous distributed world," Giridharagopal told ADTmag. "As much as there is a theoretical allure for standardization and consolidation, as a practical matter, people just use all kinds of different stuff. Even two different dev teams at the same company might be using completely orthogonal technology choices. And we believe that there's a big role for an automation company to play in trying to bridge those kinds of gaps and helping people. We want to meet you where you are, but also take you where you need to go."

The Portland, Ore.-based company provides what Giridharagopal calls "infrastructure automation for the masses." The company's automation lineup includes task-driven, model-driven and now event-driven offerings.

Relay was designed to connect dozens of cloud platforms, tools and APIs that DevOps engineers already use, including PagerDuty, GitHub, Datadog, Jira, Terraform and Slack, among others. By "listening" for triggers from these other services, Relay can enforce security controls across an infrastructure; proactively delete underutilized cloud resources across AWS, Azure and GCP; extend PagerDuty or VictorOps by automatically remediating known issues when new incidents arise; connect to Docker Hub or GitHub to provision cloud infrastructure automatically with Terraform or Pulumi, and deploy the latest versions of microservices to Kubernetes, Google Cloud Run, AWS Lambda and other platforms; and delete old snapshots, alert on quota usage and report on resource utilization.

"With the rise of DevOps, the portfolio of tools aimed at addressing developer and operator needs has exploded over the last decade," said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady in a statement. "This has led, in turn, to rampant fragmentation and highly complex, disjointed workflows. Organizations that prize velocity, therefore, are beginning to rethink their developer experience and looking for ways to automate and integrate the different touchpoints. This is the opportunity that Relay is built for."

Relay originated as a project called "Nebula," which went out to about 600 beta users, explained Alex Bilmes, Puppet's VP of Growth.

"It was focused more on CI/CD workflows," he said. "But the feedback we got took us in a different direction. The users were asking, 'Can we tie together way more things than just stuff related to the build, deploy pipeline,' which is more of a Day 1 thing. Relay looks significantly different from that original project, because we listened to customer feedback. One of the key takeaways for us was that customers wanted something with more of a Day 2 focus. And that's the direction we went."

The beta is open to all, the company said. To sign up, visit the Relay Web page.

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].