Hyperscalers have taught us many lessons over the past two decades, and one of them is that anything that can be set in software should be set in a way that it can be controlled automatically and programmatically – and that goes doubly for the hardware, which has demanded so much human babysitting over the decades.
Puppet Software was one of the marketers of the “infrastructure as code” concept with its eponymous Puppet configuration management stack, which we’ve described in detail here and have been monitoring since our inception. The next platform in 2015. This story from 2015, when Puppet moved up the stack to perform application orchestration as well as hardware configuration management under this software with Puppet Enterprise, is a good example.
Given the need for software companies to constantly grow their customer base, the relatively low cost of cash over the past decade and a half, and the ability to cross-sell and up-sell, it is only natural that conglomerates of software are formed. And so it was only a matter of time before Puppet Software and its peers, Ansible, Chef, and SaltStack, were acquired once they built up enough momentum to demonstrate their likely longevity among service providers. , small clouds, and enterprises that don’t build their own DevOps software stacks. So Red Hat bought Ansible in October 2015 for around $100 million, and Ansible was absolutely one of the reasons IBM was forced to pay $34 billion to acquire Red Hat in October 2018. And so Progress Software , a longtime provider of 4GL programming languages that jumped on the DevOps bandwagon ten years ago, bought Chef Software in September 2020 for $220 million. And then VMware paid an undisclosed sum to buy SaltStack in the same month.
HashiCorp, which has built a large following with its Terraform and Vagrant configuration management tools, has gone all the way and built a full DevOpsContainer platform and also gone public – but HashiCorp is the exception, not the rule, and he will have to keep expanding his platform and adding more tools if he hopes to continue growing his business. He’ll have to grow his conglomerate to compete, and there’s still no reason to believe that a bigger, very deep-pocketed company won’t shell out big bucks to buy HashiCorp one day. (The wonder is that this didn’t happen before HashiCorp went public.)
The other wonder is why it took so long for someone to acquire Puppet Software, formerly known as Puppet Labs, but now another DevOps conglomerate builder called Perforce Software, which is owned by private equity firms Clearlake Capital and Francisco Partners, does exactly that.
Luke Kanies, Puppet’s founder and CEO from 2005 to 2016, whom we spoke to frequently as Puppet flourished, stepped down from this role as Puppet established a strong foothold in the company so that the company can either go public or be acquired. While the deal with Progress was announced today, Puppet estimates it has more than 40,000 customers – including Apple, Walmart, Bank of America, New York Stock Exchange, Intel, Samsung, John Deere, Porsche, Disney and Nike, just to drop a few big names – and has installations in two-thirds of the big Fortune 100 companies and over 80% of the Global 5000. It’s a true enterprise software company, but there probably has 300,000 to 500,000 potential customers, so there’s still a lot of lead.
Perforce, the acquirer of Puppet, is two decades older than Puppet, and its founder, Christopher Seiwald, created a version control system for source and binary code after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. in 1984. Like Kanies, Seiwald stayed with his company until 2016, pushing the Perforce version control system and overseeing the development of his Helix Storm tool for developer collaboration in 2013 and GitSwarm in 2015. In February 2016, Seiwald sold the company to private equity firm Summit Partners, which installed its own CEO – Janet Dryer, who had built and run a software conglomerate called HelpSystems in the IBM midrange systems market for decades. . Summit launched a wave of acquisitions by buying agile scheduling software manager Hansoft and repository management tools maker Deveo in 2017. The following year, Clearlake Capital bought Perforce from Summit Partners and bought a large number of companies and a year later Francisco Partners took a 50 for a piece of the stock when Perforce acquired Rogue Wave Software, which among other things controlled commercial server Zend PHP.
Perforce has covered version control, agile development, application testing, and a commercial-grade Zend PHP Application Server, and with the acquisition of Puppet, will add systems and application configuration management to the pile.
Prior to the acquisition, Perforce had approximately 1,200 employees and added another 500 with the acquisition of Puppet. The terms of the Puppet deal weren’t disclosed, but it must have been a pretty big number, in our opinion, with Puppet having raised $189.5 million in six funding rounds and two funding rounds by loan between 2009 and 2020. Probably on par with what Progress paid for the leader.
Exactly how Perforce will integrate Puppet and continue its development remains unclear, but we’ll come back when the dust settles and we’ll find out. The force tells The next platform that he expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.
Subscribe to our newsletter
With highlights, analysis and stories of the week straight from us to your inbox, with nothing in between.