Puppet CEO: No hype in DevOps... except for the overhyped bits

Depends how you define DevOps

The DevOps market is not overhyped – except for container technology and other bits that are, the head of Puppet Labs told us last month.

Depending on your point of view, the technologies of DevOps, Agile Continuous Delivery and digital transformation are worthy of slavish devotion, or are subject to egregious levels of hype.

When we put the question to Puppet CEO Luke Kanies, last month, he phrased his answer in terms most of us could understand – cold hard cash.

This was in a week where Puppet itself secured a $22m credit line after deferring an expected IPO, JFrog snagged $50m of funding, and UK consultancy Contino merged with a US firm to form Sendachi, picking up $30m of investment along the way.

Not exactly small change, but modest figures compared to the $462m Atlassia raised in its pre-Christmas IPO. But 12 year old Atlassian had years of expansion under its belt, was profitable, and can reasonably be filed under “founders of established company diversifying their portfolios, while gaining additional liquidity”.

Puppet itself has been around since 2005, and has so far taken in around $85m in previous funding rounds, while steadily building out its platform. Like a number of its rivals.

He continued, “If you define hype as fledgling companies getting inappropriately huge rounds based on no market traction I think there’s almost no hype.”

So, Kanies declared, “I don’t think there’s a ton of hype in the market.”

“There’s almost no companies in my industry that based on blogposts or name recognition have walked out of the door with $10m or $20m of funding.”

“There’s a decent amount of funding in our space, but it’s not a huge amount. Most of that money’s going to companies that have real traction, real adoption,” he said.

When Kanies talks about “my industry” it’s worth noting Puppet self-identifies as a “devops” company.

He continued, “If you compared [this] to, like, ad tech or web or the sharing economy, there’s way more hype in those spaces.” But then again, those guys have really important things to spend their money on, like redesigning their logos.

But...Kanies then swivelled closer to home, to declare, “I do think there’s a lot of hype around the new world infrastructure...you look at things like containers and schedulers.”

To be fair to Kanies, he suggested that these sorts of technologies were not part of the DevOps space proper – rather they’re “related to DevOps”.

“Those areas I think you’ve seen really speculative investments - it’ll be interesting to see how things work out in the long run.”

Kanies didn’t elaborate on who he was referring to. But Docker, for one, secured $95m in series D funding last April, just seven months after a $40m C series round. In January 2014 it raised $15m.

So, there you go. If you take a balanced view of things, you can make a plausible argument that DevOps is not overhyped. The issue is what exactly is your definition of DevOps. ®

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