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Puppet CEO: We must scale automation for business

If there's one thing Puppet CEO Sanjay Mirchandani wants the near 2,000 attendees to take away from PuppetConf 2017, it's that it's time for what he calls "pervasive automation."

"Unfortunately, neither you nor us can rest on our past laurels. Technology and business is moving at an incredible clip. The pressure is on. Every company is being forced, whether they like it or not, to become a software company."

Puppet CEO Sanjay Mirchandani shared those observations in his PuppetConf 2017 keynote address. And while his opening greeting, "You're here today because you believe in automation," hinted at Puppet's solution for companies feeling the pressure, Sanjay later explained that mere automation for business simply isn't enough. It needs to be ubiquitous.

"I think the world is ready and needs a way that allows us to scale the success in a prescriptive, predictive and repeatable way."

According to Sanjay, that means the world is ready for what he calls "the journey to pervasive automation."

Helping Puppet customers on that journey are these major products announced at the show:

  • Puppet Discover, which offers visibility into hybrid infrastructure for easier and more effective management
  • Puppet Tasks, which simplifies automation for business across infrastructure
  • Puppet Pipelines for Apps, Pipelines for Containers, and Puppet Container Registry, all spun out from its Distelli CI/CD platform acquisition.
Sanjay Mirchandani, CEO, PuppetSanjay Mirchandani

But that's not all. Pervasive automation, apart from a catchy phrase, is a guiding principle for Puppet's view of how the enterprise can best deal with the pressure and scale automation for business. Three elements fasten this principle -- a tried and tested automation roadmap, leader accountability and the need to rally people.

"It's not about doing it alone. I don't want heroes. This is a team sport; this is an absolute team sport, here and with our community and partners, and with our customers. That's the only way we'll succeed."

Diverse teams means good outcomes

Teams are made up of people, and as with anything DevOps, there's a strong cultural component -- both in IT and the traditional sense.

Puppet was very keen on promoting its efforts to increase its internal diversity, including establishing a manager of diversity and inclusion, as well as making PuppetConf 2017 a welcoming show, complete with travel and lodging sponsorship for speakers and attendees from underrepresented and culturally focused user groups, and free conference tickets to organizations promoting diversity.

Diversity also makes good business sense, bringing with it practical benefits, as Nigel Kersten, Puppet's chief technical strategist, explained in comments to DevOps Agenda.

"There's actually pretty good research that shows that the more diverse your teams are that build products, the more diverse appeal your products have to the market."

Citing the many studies and research supporting Kersten's take, Puppet CTO Deepak Giridharagopal added, "I would consider it incontrovertible that literally in any type of study of any amount of rigor, it's been almost universal that if you have a team that is comprised with more gender diversity, more racial diversity, and age stratification, they tend to be strongly correlated with better business outcomes."

Teams of Tech Partners

At PuppetConf 2017, the team concept also extended to Puppet's many partners. Puppet CEO Mirchandani claimed, "We talk with Nutanix and Google and Amazon, the list continues. These are deep integrations."

Our mantra inside the company is, we don't live alone. We've got to live in the ecosystems our customers are using today.
Sanjay MirchandaniPuppet CEO

"Our mantra inside the company is, we don't live alone," he added. "We've got to live in the ecosystems our customers are using today."

Splunk is an example. It provides infrastructure monitoring and intelligence. Mirchandani described a world where Puppet enables seamless action on that intelligence. For example, Splunk alerts an Exchange Server crash at 4:00 a.m. and Puppet spins up a failsafe in lieu of an engineer who might otherwise get up and check in, or miss it altogether.

That's discovery into action, which Mirchandani envisions will be integrated everywhere in that prescriptive, predictive and repeatable way, for sake of the business. But only time will tell if his vision and this ultimate promise to enterprise users bears out.

"It makes life easier on our customers, and that's the journey to pervasive automation."

Making the case for AI in software testing

Enterprise digital technology provider InfoStretch announced it will offer artificial intelligence in software testing through a brand-new service called Predictive and Prescriptive QA. It's just another move among other new AI testing ventures. How will machine learning and AI fit into DevOps and continuous delivery?

Next Steps

Puppet adds Tasks and Discovery for application automation

Learn configuration management and automation with Puppet

This was last published in October 2017

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