Opscode gains momentum with IBM, Microsoft deals

Opscode’s been on a bit of a roll. The devops fan favorite is the foundation of Amazon(s amzn) Web Services new Opsworks application lifecycle management capability and now it’s being embraced and integrated into IBM’s SmartCloud and will work with Microsoft Azure, via a collaboration with Microsoft Open Technologies. The news comes out of Opscode’s ChefConf, kicking off Thursday in San Francisco.

opscode billboard

Opscode, the name behind the Chef tools that many developers use to automate the configuration and deployment of IT, has got more than a toehold in the cloud landscape. Earlier this week Joyent, another cloud provider, said it was integrating Chef into the Joyent cloud.

As I wrote then, tools like Chef, CFEngine and Puppet Labs’ Puppet (see disclosure) ease the creation and management of system configurations. A key benefit is that, once the associated scripts of a deployment are created, they can be deployed regardless of the underlying operating system or, in this case, cloud. At least in theory.

Opscode VP of marketing Jay Wampold says IBM and Microsoft’s moves show that enterprise customers are ready for cloud-type deployments. “If you look back over a decade, you see that Google(s goog), Facebook(s fb) and Amazon(s amzn) figured out how to leverage large-scale infrastructure to deliver to consumers built from the ground up on code. Now you’re seeing major [older] enterprises moving IT from a back-office support function for internal operations into a front-office effort that is a touch point for consumers,” Wampold said.

That means enterprises need to develop, configure, test, deploy and monitor applications in web time and at web scale, which is where the devops movement and tools like Chef and Puppet come in. IBM bought UrbanCode, another devops player, earlier this week.

The devops school pushes developers and IT people to work together on fast, incremental tech deployments rather than at cross-purposes. Where Chef and Puppet differ is that Chef focuses more on developers while Puppet concentrates on admins — the “ops” side of devops.

As part of this deal, Opscode has agreed to support IBM’s AIX Unix operating system.

The news of the past few months seems to indicate that Chef has momentum  — although an IT person who watches this space would not give Chef the edge, necessarily. “Chef and Puppet both seem to be doing great. The push by AWS and Joyent is probably more a function of the fact that Chef is easier to stand up as a hosted service than Puppet,” he noted.

Another factor could be that VMware(s vmw) recently invested $30 million more in Puppet, something that makes some businesses wary> The fear is that Puppet won’t be totally dedicated to heterogeneous environments, a worry that Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies denies. The VMware relationship does help Puppet in the private cloud market  but “we’re not changing our roadmap for VMware, and they don’t have anything resembling a controlling stake,” Kanies said via email.

DisclosurePuppet Labs is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.