VMware pours $30M more into Puppet Labs

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Devops fan favorite Puppet Labs is getting an additional $30 million in backing from VMware and the two companies will team up to provide new IT management solutions for use in VMware shops. That means VMware now provides the lion’s share of Puppet’s total of about $45 million in VC funding and and Raghu Raghuram, VMware executive VP of cloud infrastructure and management, will join Puppet’s board.

Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies

Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies

This move comes just a month after VMware spun out the bulk of its developer-focused non-virtualization technology to the Pivotal Initiative with parent company EMC. Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies said that reorg, which happened since the funding deal was finalized, represents “a nice refocusing of VMware around our core customer, which is the system admin.”

In an interview, Kanies also said this does not mean that Puppet will retrench to VMware-only virtualization. “One thing Puppet is strong at is heterogeneity — we support Red Hat or Windows, physical or virtual servers, public or private cloud,” he told me. Most enterprises already run VMware in some form, so this could be a good opportunity for Puppet.

Gartner Distinquished Analyst Ronni Colville says Puppet and VMware make a nice match. “VMware targets [virtualization] admins and Puppet targets sys admins. That’s pretty good coverage,” she said.

VMware also participated in Puppet Labs’ (see disclosure below) $8.5 million Series C round, in November 2011, joining Cisco Systems and Google Ventures. Systems administrators often use Puppet’s open-source software to configure and manage physical — and increasingly  virtual — servers and other IT gear.

Portland, Ore.-based Puppet and rivals Opscode and CFEngine provide tools that automate provisioning and change management for increasingly scaled-out cloud computing environments.  Such tools are key to the growing DevOps movement in which software developers and operations people work together to make sure software projects meet business goals. In the past, developers and operations people within the same company often worked at cross purposes.

Puppet’s new cash infusion give it room to grow, but also gives VMware an awfully big chunk of the company.

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.

This story was updated at 3:06 p.m. PDT with analyst comment.

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