Puppet Insights vows to show how far along your devops journey is

Devops vendor Puppet has announced a tool called Puppet Insights that will provide visibility within organisations into where they precisely are in their devops journey, CTO Deepak Giridharagopal has told Computerworld UK.

Tamlin Magee Oct 11th 2018
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Devops vendor Puppet has announced a tool called Puppet Insights that will provide visibility within organisations into where they precisely are in their devops journey, CTO Deepak Giridharagopal has told Computerworld UK.

Puppet Insights will provide performance metrics in simple dashboards and reports, giving a "bird's-eye view" of an organisation to help improve on the velocity, quality and impact of software delivery cycles.

The company is in a unique position to provide counsel to organisations thanks to its product portfolio and comprehensive annual State of Devops survey, now in its seventh year and with the most recent edition being released last month.

"We've been doing that research for a better part of a decade, so we've had no shortage of data to draw from to inform the advice we give people, but what we ended up hearing over and over again from customers and users was a couple of different things," Giridharagopal told Computerworld UK by phone.

"Number one is: 'this devops stuff sounds really interesting'," he said, adding that companies at various stages of their journey have a difficult time measuring progress or ROIs.

"Number two is really disambiguating the counsel we give around devops, versus say any other type of advice," he added. "It's 2018 - probably no company has any shortage of people inundating them with different ways of doing stuff. Our point of view is: we have done the research, we have the data, we should be able to give them a product which helps to legitimately quantify where you are along that journey - and are any of the processes you're adopting actually helping?"

For example, for 'velocity', Puppet Insights would look at how a company is performing in areas such as deployment lead time or deployment frequency - things that are "highly correlated with highly performing organisations".

Insights will pull metrics from Puppet's own portfolio, but also other popular software that can provide useful data. It will compute everything together and then provide a single pane of glass view for exactly where teams are according to those metrics, as well as what's working and what's not working.

"It lets people do however much of a deep dive they would like to do, alongside genuine actionable, beneficial recommendations that people can do in order to improve the problems that the dashboards and our analytics are surfacing," said Giridharagopal.

Other announcements include Vulnerability Remediation in beta for Puppet Discovery, which will automate vulnerability detection across the whole estate and proffer solutions if they are available. The product entails a partnership with security vendors Qualys, Tenable and Rapid 7 - chosen based on Puppet customers' view of trusted providers, according to Giridharagopal.

And the company also announced a new release of flagship product Puppet Enterprise for 2019, which is designed to help customers automate infrastructure changes at scale. Continuous Delivery for Puppet Enterprise 2.0, meanwhile, has a new feature called Impact Analysis allowing customers to get a view of how proposed changes will affect their environments.

This all falls in line with conclusions drawn from the state of devops report. According to Tim Zonca, SVP of business development at Puppet, 80 percent of respondents to the survey fell into a "middle category" whereby they had started implementing devops in their organisation but were not clear on where to move from there.

"About 10 percent of them are way early days, and 10 percent of them are pretty advanced and far down their journey," said Zonca. "What this showed was there was this massive middle pack - that it's easy to get started in devops, and that's what most people are doing, but it's hard to break away and scale more broadly and pervasively across the organisations.

"One of the key findings we found were there are many paths to devops success but way more to failure. For the first time what this research highlighted was a prescriptive set of paths to devops success, and it's not necessarily linear."

"We see a lot of folks dabbling across all of [the paths] but not making sure they are successful in a key set of these steps before they move on. Where people are struggling the most is figuring out what to do next.

"We're pretty bullish - we're biased of course, we work for Puppet - but between what we found in this year's analysis as well as some of our portfolio that helps people move through these things a lot more elegantly and with the prescripted guidance of how to do it."