AnsibleWorks banks on big traction among devops faithful

AnsibleWorks aims to give Opscode and Puppet Labs (see disclosure) a run for their money as the preferred configuration management tool for devops pros who build and deploy applications that run either in-house or in the cloud.

Todd Barr, who spent time at Red Hat(s rhat) and Alfresco, is freshly aboard as VP of marketing and is about to open an office in the Durham, N.C. area. That’s a big step for a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company with 40 employees and $6 million in Series A funding. Company co-founders Saïd Ziouani and Michael DeHaan, are both Red Hat veterans. DeHaan created the Ansible project.

Barr’s pitch is that Ansible was built specifically to handle configuration management in a world that increasingly requires continuous deployment and integration across in-house and cloud infrastructure.

“Public cloud infrastructure is booming, OpenStack is bubbling up again, Hadoop clusters are being deployed in the cloud and this technology gets things right where older products did not,” he noted

Two advantages: AnsibleWorks does not require agents — the use of which adds another layer of things to be managed — and it uses a simple human-readable language (called Playbooks) so the learning curve is short. Users don’t have to know Ruby like the back of their hand.

The elevator pitch to a devops: “You can do the same things you do in Puppet and Chef but in 30 minutes and without having to know Ruby.”

The company sells AnsibleWorks AWX, which includes the core software, plus the modules needed to put workloads on Amazon(s amzn) Web Services or other servers.

It’s a compelling notion but won’t be easy — Opscode and Puppet Labs have spent the last few years building partnerships and adding perks to their respective configuration management tools. It may be hard dislodge thousands of users who are quite happy with their current toolset.

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.