Puppet Labs Secures $8.5 Million in Series C Funding With New Investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware

Puppet Labs announced the closure of a Series C funding round valued at $8.5 million. As a result of the funding raise, new investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware join existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures, and Radar Partners. Since its formation in 2005, the company has now raised a total of $15.75 million. The new round of funding is intended to support a market in which “demand for our products is outstripping our ability to satisfy it through organic growth alone,” according to Puppet’s CEO Luke Kanies. Kanies further noted that VMware, Google and Cisco represented ideal partners to accelerate the adoption of its IT automation and management software because of their deep relationships in the virtualization, cloud computing and IT vendor landscape.

Puppet Labs provides software that enables system administrators to effectively manage increasingly heterogeneous IT environments featuring legacy systems, private clouds, virtual machines and public clouds, all of which collectively serve the needs of multiple constituencies with varying application needs and role-based access privileges. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 delivers a visually intuitive graphical interface that enables system administrators to discover existing resources, benchmark resource utilization against a desired baseline, configure and deploy new resources to increase scale, and launch critical updates, all within a matter of seconds, without adding headcount. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 also features provisioning capability for Amazon EC2 and VMware instances as well as unauthorized access and change of setting tracking for compliance purposes.

The Series C funding raise marks the culmination of a momentous year for the company. Puppet Labs outgrew its open source roots in January with the launch of the first commercial edition of its product, Puppet Enterprise. In September, the company launched Puppet Enterprise 2.0 and now claims over 250 customers including Twitter, Zynga, Oracle/Sun, Match.com and Constant Contact.

Karim Faris, partner at Google Ventures, remarked on the promise of Puppet Labs and its recent investment as follows:

“Global companies need efficient solutions to manage their on-premise and cloud infrastructures. The Puppet Labs team has demonstrated the market traction and leadership to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow the business.”

The widespread commercial interest in Puppet Labs underscores the need for technology to manage increasingly complex IT environments that feature a combination of traditional and cloud based applications. The success of Puppet Labs over the past year suggests that, alongside cloud security and mobile device management, Puppet’s specialization in technology orchestration and management increasingly ranks as one of the auxiliary technologies likely to mushroom alongside the proliferation of virtualization and cloud computing in contemporary enterprise IT environments.


Virtualization and Mobile Devices Converge With Wyse’s Acquisition of Trellia

Wyse’s acquisition of Trellia last week illustrates the convergence of two of the hottest trends in technology today: mobile devices and virtualization. Wyse, one of the world’s leading cloud client computing companies, consolidated its portfolio with the addition of Trellia’s technology infrastructure for managing mobile devices in the cloud. Specifically, the acquisition of Trellia bolsters the ability of Wyse to manage access to enterprise cloud-based environments from smartphones and tablets. Wyse’s acquisition of Trellia expands its mission of enabling enterprises to leverage cloud computing through its extensive network ecosystem of IT vendors such as including Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware. With the acquisition of Trellia, Wyse intends to offer enterprises an integrated cloud client solution that enables management and delivery of cloud access from desktops, laptops, smartphones and laptops for a variety of user roles, locations and applications. Trellia adds to Wyse’s portfolio by bringing specific expertise in mobile compliance and security to the table. The global market for virtual client computing is expected to surpass $3.2 billion by 2014 according to IDC.

Aditi Technologies Aims to Become Leader in Azure Adoption With Cumulux Acquisition

Software application development company Aditi Technologies announced the acquisition of cloud computing company Cumulux on November 21. The acquisition is intended to enable Aditi Technologies to promote the adoption of the Microsoft Azure platform in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation. Aditi plans to invest $5 million in the Azure Acceleration Lab, a rapid application development environment that facilitates adoption of Microsoft Azure. The acquisition is poised to drive Aditi’s transformation from a top Microsoft National System Integrator Partner for “enterprise social, big data, mobile and digital marketing” to one of the leaders in Microsoft Azure adoption. Bangalore-based Aditi acquired the Seattle start-up Cumulux, the 2010 Microsoft Partner of the Year, for an undisclosed sum.

Red Hat Broadens Access To Ceylon Programming Language

Red Hat released a website dedicated to its new programming language Ceylon, a Java Virtual Machine-based language that aims to deliver solutions for some of the drawbacks of Java. The website provides links to access Ceylon code through GitHub, even though the language has not been formally released to the public. Additionally, the Ceylon website contains directions for downloading Ceylon’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE), ahead of the official release expected to arrive upon completion of the Ceylon Project’s first milestone.

Red Hat developer Gavin King provided the first sustained elaboration on Ceylon in April 2011 at QCon Beijing, the Enterprise Software Development Conference. In his keynote address at QCon, King noted that Java provided an exemplary combination of virtual machine execution, automatic memory management and safe referencing, static typing, lexical scoping and readable syntax. Moreover, King described Java as easy to learn, robust and illustrative of a culture of openness with a “huge tradition of developing and sharing reusable code (frameworks, libraries).”

However, King’s keynote remarked upon the importance of an alternative to Java by noting that “after ten often-frustrating years developing frameworks for Java, we simply can’t go any further without a better solution for defining structured data and user interfaces for the following reasons”:

• The interdependence of Java with XML
• The difficulty of defining a user interface in Java
• Lack of modular solutions and reliance instead on multiple platforms
• Lack of support for first class and higher-order functions
• Difficulty of meta-programming in Java

Ceylon’s syntax features attributes that differentiate it from Java such as inherent modularity and a declarative syntax for defining user interfaces, structured data and hierarchical structures. According to its website, Ceylon positions itself in relation to Java and C# as follows:

Ceylon is deeply influenced by Java. You see, we’re fans of Java, but we know its limitations inside out. Ceylon keeps the best bits of Java but improves things that in our experience are annoying, tedious, frustrating, difficult to understand, or bugprone. Furthermore, Ceylon makes it much easier to write generic code (frameworks or libraries), or to naturally describe treelike structures (especially user interfaces). Of course, Java isn’t the only language with good ideas, so Ceylon looks for inspiration in other language families, in everything from Smalltalk to ML.

Despite its differences from Java, Ceylon is intended to appeal to Java developers who can migrate to the language with speed. Ceylon is one of the most recent languages to run atop the Java Virtual Machine alongside JRuby, Scala and Ruby.

Box.net Targets Enterprise With Box Innovation Network

Box.net announced plans to invest $2 million in a developer network designed to promote the production of enterprise friendly applications today. Named the Box Innovation Network, or /bin, the network is intended to foster the creation of an ecosystem whereby developers enhance the functionality of Box.net by creating enterprise applications in collaboration with the company’s partners Appcelerator, Cloud Foundry, Heroku, Rackspace, Twilio and SnapLogic. The initiative is intended to address a lack of innovation in enterprise software development by encouraging developers to build applications that leverage Box APIs on top of partner platforms. According to the press release, partners will be expected to provide developers with the “tools and services” required to deliver enterprise grade applications that have the ultimate effect of driving enterprise level adoption of Box.net.

Box.net’s CEO Aaron Levie remarked on the place of the Box Innovation Network in relation to enterprise-level software development as follows:

“Slow-moving enterprise software giants have produced very little innovation in recent years, and their closed ecosystems have made it all but impossible for outside players to create compelling experiences for customers on legacy systems. We’re changing all of that — and we’re doing so in ways that platforms like Microsoft simply cannot — by creating an open ecosystem of leading partners to enable developers to build and deploy Box applications instantly and on any platform.”

As such, the Box Innovation Network intends to create an elite community of developers for the enterprise in ways analogous to the place of the Facebook developer community for enhancing the social networking experience. Examples of applications that enterprises might find useful include enhanced security and audit tracking for administrators, increased role-based access functionality and data loss protection software. The first member of /bin, LiveOffice, today announced the release of FileArchive, an application that allows users to archive files on Box.net and Dropbox by leveraging APIs from both companies. LiveOffice backs up the archived files to provide an additional degree of protection against catastrophic loss, thereby addressing enterprise concerns about the security of user storage of company data on an application such as Box.net.

Box.net is used by over 100,000 businesses, 7 million worldwide users and 77 percent of Fortune 500 businesses. Usage of Box.net on a mobile platform increased by a factor of 30 between Q3 2011 and Q3 2010. Examples of current Box.net enterprise customers include AAA, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, McAfee and Procter & Gamble. Flush with cash from its Series D $81 million funding round in October, the company now aims to leverage /bin to move from departmental adoption within enterprises to more instances of organization-wide enterprise adoption.

Amazon Web Services Announces Cloud Supercomputer Ranked 42 On Top500 List

On Monday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the Beta launch of Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large (CC2), a supercomputer on its EC2 cloud infrastructure that ranks 42 on the list of the world’s top 500 supercomputers. Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large can be used for “physics simulations, seismic analysis, drug design, genome analysis, aircraft design and a variety of business computing and analytics applications.” In addition, the high performance computing (HPC) application can be used with Amazon Elastic MapReduce to analyze massive amounts of data from structured and unstructured data sets using the Hadoop software framework. Amazon Web Services revealed the deployment of Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large in conjunction with this year’s November 12-18 Supercomputing 11 conference in Seattle. The announcement represents a clear strategic move to increase enterprise market share by targeting organizations such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, large scientific research groups and financial services firms that encounter the challenge of crunching massive amounts of data.

Key features of Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large include the following:

• 2 Intel Xeon processors, each with 8 hardware cores per instance
• Hyper-threading that allows each core to process instructions in parallel
• A whopping 60.5 GB of RAM and 3.37 TB of instance storage
• Choice of Amazon Linux AMI or Windows 2008 R2 for the operating system
• Availability only in Amazon’s US East (N. Virginia) Region
• Price of $2.40 per hour per instance

A cluster of 1064 CC2 instances resulted in a speed of 240.09 teraFLOPs. 290 CC2 instances resulted in a speed of 63.07 teraFLOPs with pricing less than $1000/hour. The Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large product represents an upgrade to High Performance Computing offerings introduced by Amazon Web Services last year. Customers of its HPC offering currently include Harvard Medical School, which uses Amazon’s HPC product to investigate problems in genomics and personalized medicine. Lawrence Berkeley National Labs was another user of Amazon’s initial HPC offering known as Cluster Compute Instances.

The release of CC2 positions Amazon Web Services strongly in a market dominated by the likes of IBM, Cray, HP and Dell. Because supercomputers often start in the price range of $500,000 and up, AWS seeks to compete in price and ease of deployment. The offering also represents yet another tactic to gain market share in the hotly contested Big Data space, particularly given the compatibility of CC2 with Amazon Elastic MapReduce and its Hadoop based infrastructure. In the cloud computing space, however, Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large represents a clear move to consolidate market share in the enterprise space by democratizing supercomputer usage beyond the domain of scientific and research organizations.