Mitch Sonies is the founder and CEO of Cloudsmith, the developer of Stack Hammer, a Puppet-based SaaS application for creating and deploying software stacks to the cloud, and Geppetto, an IDE for Puppet module developers.
It’s official: Puppet Labs and Cloudsmith are now one company. (Actually, this has been true for a month, but “official” news sometimes travels a bit more slowly!) Speaking for those of us on the Cloudsmith side, the transition was frictionless, the first month has been great and we’re thrilled to be part of the team.
The easiest way to explain how much sense this makes is to look back at the last two years and see how we got here. Our founding ideas were pretty similar to Puppet Labs’ ideas — basically, “why not treat everything like it’s code?” Anyone, anywhere, with the description of your system and access to the resources should be able to click a button (or type a command) and get the same result you get, every time they try.
But there were a few differences as well. First, we focused primarily on what the Puppet Labs folks would call the “application” — the software above the operating system that ends up running on the compute infrastructure — rather than the infrastructure itself. Second, we’re developers, not sysadmins, so we focused on those users we know best: dev teams that also deploy, and devops with the emphasis on “dev.” Third, we knew our users had fewer obstacles in moving to the cloud, so we envisioned a SaaS product with a workflow that starts at GitHub and ends at Amazon/AWS.
We’d been active in open source for years, and we wanted to build on top of an existing community. Of the handful of alternatives, only Puppet made complete technical sense to us (model-driven, not tied to a particular development technology, really flexible, etc.). It also seemed to have the most momentum.
But the key considerations were the people and culture around the technology. We needed the commercial sponsor to keep a level playing field in open source, and we wanted to cooperate until we actually had to compete. We felt we could trust Luke and everyone else we met at Puppet Labs, more or less from our first meeting in Portland.
The last two years went pretty much as we’d hoped. We were able to build two SaaS products on Puppet (Stack Hammer and Wham!) that worked exactly how we wanted. We found a way to both target developers and contribute to the community by developing an open source Puppet IDE, Geppetto, aimed primarily at Java developers (I personally thought it was a ridiculous idea, but I was totally wrong). Our collaboration with the Puppet Labs team got closer and closer.
By late last year, it was fairly hard to come up with a reason not to join forces. We were still completely aligned in terms of technology, complementary in terms of focus and experience and we knew each other really, really well. We took our time closing the acquisition, essentially integrating the two organizations as we went, so that we were able to function as a single company the day after the transaction closed.
We look forward to continuing what we started at Cloudsmith now that we’re part of the market leader, Puppet Labs.
A few FAQs
What’s happening to the Cloudsmith team?
We’re all staying on as employees of Puppet Labs!
Will Puppet Labs be actively supporting the Geppetto community?
Absolutely. Future development of Geppetto, and support of its 10,000+ user community, are top priorities going forward.
What’s happening to Stack Hammer?
We’ll have more to say at PuppetConf next month. For now, suffice it to say that both the technology and product capabilities found in Stack Hammer will live on with Puppet Labs.
Is anyone moving to Portland?
Not unless they want to! The Cloudsmith team is distributed through the EU and North America. In fact, we’ll be adding to some of these new locations - the Czech Republic, for example.
Are you disclosing price or other terms of the acquisition?
Acquisition details are confidential.