March 21, 2023

The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation Platforms Reviewed

Announcements & Events

Over two years after releasing The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation Platforms, Q3 2020, Forrester recently released The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation, Q1 2023 report.

If you are unfamiliar with the most recent report, it examines eleven top vendors within this space, and their capabilities to help guide purchasing decisions based on need. Even if a product is not a leader or a strong performer in a category, they might still have a use case that best fits a specific need.  

This blog will detail the importance of infrastructure automation per Forrester’s Infrastructure Automation Landscape (a precursor to The Forrester Wave™) and how Puppet fared in The Forrester Wave™ (not going to bury the lede: we were listed as a Strong Performer). In addition, this blog will address areas that we believe were not covered or accounted for within this report, and where we think infrastructure automation is continuing to evolve.

The Importance of Infrastructure Automation

“You can use infrastructure automation tools to go to market faster and optimize return on investment; improve productivity; and ensure large-scale compliance.”

The Infrastructure Automation Landscape, Q4 2022, authored by Naveen Chhabra, Forrester Principal Analyst

A graphic from the Forrester Wave: Infrastructure Automation Report. A circular chart labeled "Multiple Roles Use Automation Tools Across Many Lifecycle Stages" is featured. In the circular chart appear nodes and symbols connecting various concepts with referent progress and materials.

Image Source: Forrester, The Infrastructure Automation Landscape, Q4 2022, December 2022

Infrastructure automation is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must. Our customer base, which is largely composed of large enterprises in highly regulated industries, uses our products to achieve all three of the business objectives listed above and more – all within the scope of maintaining or lowering costs and maintaining personnel, and often with the infrastructure that they have (which includes a mix of legacy technology, new instances in the cloud, etc.). Let's just say there’s a lot of infrastructure complexity to be standardized via Puppet.  

Misconfiguration can cost enterprises billions of dollars every year, and compliance drift puts entire business continuity and regulatory standards at risk. Configuration management, continuous compliance, and desired state enforcement through the infrastructure lifecycle is foundational to business continuity and cost. Puppet is there to support this at scale.

Puppet’s Place within the Infrastructure Lifecycle

Puppet was listed as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation, Q1 2023. Unsurprisingly to us, given our customers generally come from highly regulated and high-growth industries, we received the highest possible marks in the configuration management and regulatory compliance criteria. The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation, Q1 2023, authored by Naveen Chhabra, noted that “Puppet is a good fit for companies that need strong solution for configuration management and compliance scenarios.”

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Puppet automates the entire infrastructure lifecycle through our products and through key integrations. Our module ecosystem, Puppet Forge – which has over 7,000 modules to choose from – allows us to integrate with any solution within the infrastructure lifecycle. For example, Terraform is used alongside Puppet for provisioning.  

The Importance of Desired State Automation with Scale

The report mentioned that “Puppet is strong in task automation but lacks orchestration.” We felt that the report should have also mentioned desired state automation and how it supports our customers. While task-based automation solves a problem for a point in time, it does not ensure the problem is resolved over time. Desired state automation solves the problem on an ongoing basis and ensures it will remain solved without human intervention. Puppet customers combine both solutions to help with continuous infrastructure automation.  

We are recommending that this technology be considered in next year’s report. With desired state automation, you can set your goal posts to ensure continued enforcement of your needs.  

Industry Needs and a Vision for the Future

According to the Forrester Wave™ report, “Puppet’s supporting products and services stand out, and its vision and roadmap align well with changing needs in the industry...“ To us, what’s happening to the industry is this:

  • There is huge growth in infrastructure across the board – on-prem, cloud, hybrid, edge, and everything in between.
  • Most cloud workloads are deployed on server instances or virtual machines, augmented with cloud services.
  • Heterogeneity of systems (i.e., diversity) has only increased for two reasons: there's always new stuff folks are deploying, and older applications have longer lifetimes than ever before.

This is especially true with enterprises. Given this, we are addressing the changing needs of our customers when it comes to scale, compliance, security, and the advent of platform engineering. Some of these executions are more short-term planning while others are a longer vision for us.

At the end of the day, we want to be the industry-leading enterprise-grade platform for IT automation and compliance. We want self-healing systems realized through Puppet. We’ve built a strong foundation but are consistently listening to customers and watching industry trends to adapt our product for the now and the future.

If you want to learn more about our product offerings or how we stack up against the most significant infrastructure automation providers, check out Puppet Enterprise or review how we compare.

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