In an indication of both the general frothiness of the investment space, and the excitement that investors have in cloud services, automation software vendor Puppet Labs is today announcing a $8.5M series C funding round which includes a strategic move by Cisco, Google and VMware. Puppet Labs has gained some big name customers including Zynga, Twitter and Stanford University for its automation solution that eases deployment either on-premise or in the cloud.

One of the key drivers for uptake for these sort of automation products is the ability to automate heterogeneous environment, to this end Puppet Labs have spent time and energy building the number of integration with third party services – they’re currently integrated with a bunch of players including VMware, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, OpenStack, Eucalyptus, RightScale and Zenoss. These broad integrations have enabled Puppet Labs to scale its business to where it has 60 employees and is automating IT for a significant number of companies.

My Point of View

There is a real ground swell of this new breed of IT automation players and I expect to see some significant consolidation in the space in the next 12 to 18 months. My belief is that we will see a compelling proposition that sees automation combined with monitoring and also increasing transparency over cloud cost management (disclosure – I am an investor in Cloud spend management startup Cloudability). Put these three things together and you have a great platform from which to manage an increasingly heterogeneous IT landscape.

Questions remain about how many different automation vendors the marketplace can support. I’m picking that these companies will all try and rapidly scale to a size where a meaningful trade sale is possible – those that are left behind could well see themselves out in the cold once the handful of potential acquiring companies have secured themselves space in the market.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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