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Puppet Labs grows up, drops the 'Labs' and looks forward



COURTESY: PUPPET - Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet, says the company had a strong year in 2015.Puppet Labs announced a series of changes Thursday — not least of which is changing its name to simply Puppet.

“Everybody in the developer world says ‘Puppet,’ and we call ourselves Puppets, so we thought we’d just simplify it,” said Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet.

The company, which makes software that manages other software running on large networks, also changed its logo to reflect its connected nature.

Kanies told the Business Tribune in a briefing that the company had another strong year in 2015. He said that while its headcount will grow at a more modest rate of 30 percent this year, the focus will be on getting to cash flow positive.

“Puppet gives organizations a common language to deliver and operate modern infrastructure and to adopt whatever comes next — simply, securely and consistently.”

The company automates the process of bringing a system live, in a manner known as DevOps: developing systems and then operating them as one process instead of two. This speeds up IT delivery and evolution.

Kanies said very little of the software world is automated yet — only 15 percent according to Gartner Group.

The company announced the hiring of Sanjay Mirchandani as its first President and Chief Operating Officer. The goal is to fuel accelerated business growth, global expansion and product innovation.

Mirchandani arrives from VMware, where he was the corporate senior vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific and Japan. As a former Chief information Officer he worked at EMC for seven years before that, and at Microsoft. He will move to Portland in May from Singapore.

“Luke and I have been talking for a while and more and more the conversation with CIOs is ‘How do we behave more like a software company? It’s really about automation and predictable outcomes. Businesses want to be more agile and build in more tech to everything.”

“When people ask me who should use Puppet, I say ‘You should really only think about using Puppet if you use computers,” said Kanies.

“I understand how important it is for companies to get great software in front of their customers,” Mirchandani said in a release. “CIOs are trying to figure out how to best take advantage of everything from cloud to containers, while dealing with massive tech legacy, and the realities of security and compliance.”

For example, banks are pushing their mobile platforms to get people to bank on their phones, but they often rely on decades-old back end software for the transactions. “The challenge is to make it a seamless experience,” said Mirchandani.

Homegrown Portland company Puppet has made other important hires this year as it expands.

These include Simon Hayes, senior vice president of business and corporate development. Hayes came from Citrix where he was vice president of portfolio, strategy and alliances. Puppet needs alliances with big players such as Cisco, Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Fujitsu.

Jamie Hull was hired to lead the Puppet product team. She was vice president of mobile products at Evernote specializing in the iOS and Android mobile platforms.

The firm also announced Blueshift and Puppet Enterprise 2016.1, and a new integration with Atlassian HipChat, a team communication tool for developers.

With the rise of the Internet of Things, connected cars and our total reliance on software, Puppet aims to reduce downtime in enterprises.

“The old days of shutting the system down for the weekend for upgrades are gone,” says Kanies. “Can you imagine Bank of America taking a two day maintenance cycle? It’s inconceivable.”


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