02 July 2010 – Market Development

Opscode's hosted configuration management service makes Chef easier to use
Analyst: Rachel Chalmers Timed to coincide with the recent Velocity conference on Web performance and operations, Opscode has announced a limited beta release of its commercial flagship, the Opscode Platform. It's a hosted configuration management service designed to make the open source configuration management tool Chef even more useful. Servers under management can publish IP addresses, loaded kernel modules, OS versions and other configuration information to the Opscode Platform's centrally managed data store. It works like a lighterweight, offsite configuration management database. Once the servers have published their configuration data to the Opscode Platform, administrators can use it in a variety of ways. The data is indexed and searchable, and it should be easy to query from within Chef recipes, making it easier to configure new servers and software. Fine-grained, role-based access control gives administrators plenty of latitude to control how employees, contractors and other users interact with IT infrastructure. Maybe most usefully, though, the Opscode Platform's data is effectively a blueprint for the entire infrastructure. Administrators can use it to make perfect clones of the production environment. The 451 take Every open source company needs some kind of commercial story to tell, and the more venture capital funding it takes in, the more reasons it needs that story. Opscode now has thirteen and a half million reasons to announce its Opscode Platform, a hosted NoSQL data store for configuration information with a search interface and very granular role-based access control. It's betting that the many users of open source Chef will pay extra for the ease of use and power of this back end. Opscode will celebrate its second birthday in September, and there will be plenty to celebrate. The company has raised $11m in a series B funding round from Battery Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Draper also led Opscode's $2.5m series A round. As part of this investment, Sunil Dhaliwal, a general partner at Battery Ventures, has joined Opscode's board of directors. Dhaliwal also sits on the board of Neocleus. The company's fundraising success reflects its growing customer traction. Today, Opscode numbers 37Signals, Betfair, Etsy, IGN Entertainment and White Pages among the users of its Opscode Chef tool. More and more individual and corporate contributors have signed up to the Chef development effort, including Rackspace, RightScale and – an especially strategically significant win – the SpringSource division of VMware.
451 Market Insight Service Copyright 2009-10 The 451 Group 02 July 2010 Page 1 of 2

The Opscode Platform differs from the plain-vanilla open source Chef Server in its massive multi-tenant backing data store, its role-based access control and its NoSQL-based, real-time search engine. (Indeed, we're using Opscode as an example of our proposition that more and more infrastructure management tools will need to incorporate a powerful search interface, a la Hyper9, Splunk and vKernel.) The company is anxious not to dilute the power of the open source software, and remains committed to the notion that anyone who wants to should be able to run their own Chef environment. At the same time, a venture-backed software provider must have a commercial story to tell, and this is where the Opscode Platform fits in. Executives say they have dedicated basically all non-open source development resources to making sure that the Opscode Platform can scale to manage huge numbers of hosts. In its beta release, the Opscode Platform is free. When the trial period is over, participants will pay $50 per month to manage up to 20 nodes on the platform, and $5 for each additional node. Competition The open source configuration management tools Cfengine, Puppet and Chef share close family ties. Cfengine began in 1993 as a simpler and more portable way to manage Unix networks than the shell scripting that was then the standard approach. (In this it provides an interesting contrast to BladeLogic, whose original incarnation as Network Shell was conceived as a way of bringing the power of shell scripting to the Windows world.) Cfengine uses a lightweight agent system to manage configuration state. When configuration drifts from the desired state, the managed system can be reverted; Cfengine's fans call the model 'computer immunology.' In June 2008, Cfengine author Mark Burgess formed the company Cfengine as a spin-off of Oslo University College, with support from the Oslo Innovation Center. Puppet author Luke Kanies was a contributor to the Cfengine project and Puppet is in many ways a reimplementation of similar ideas in Ruby. (Cfengine is written in C.) Originally distributed using an XML-RPC client/server paradigm, Puppet recently switched to REST. This clean and elegant architecture is somewhat muddled by Puppet's use of a custom declarative language to describe system configuration. There have been some experiments with using a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language within Puppet. There has also been an entirely new project created to manage system configuration in Ruby, with a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language – that new project is Chef.

Reproduced by permission of The 451 Group; copyright 2009-10. This report was originally published within The 451 Group’s Market Insight Service. For additional information on The 451 Group or to apply for trial access, go to: www.the451group.com
451 Market Insight Service Copyright 2009-10 The 451 Group 02 July 2010 Page 2 of 2

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful