If you’ve been watching the developer/enterprise overlap that is in full swing, you may well have heard of Vagrant, and its eponymous
vagrant up command. What you may not know (as I did not until this week) is that the company behind Vagrant is called HashiCorp, and they have a lot of other tools they want you to use.
Named after founder Mitchell Hashimoto, he and his co-founder Armon Dadgar are positioning HashiCorp as one of many open source based companies pushing the developer revolution in the enterprise. Like RedHat, they use a freemium model, where products are freely downloadable, with full source code (licensed under the Mozilla Public License), but support costs money. The company also has purely commercial products, such as Atlas, that are aimed at more enterprise use-cases, such as management of a large environment with pretty dashboards. Why buy them? Because it saves you having to build one yourself from scratch.
I spoke with Kevin Fishner, Director of Sales and Marketing at HashiCorp, last week during VMworld. He outlined how HashiCorp has taken the Unix philosophy of loosely-coupled components, all doing one thing well and communicating with each other in standard ways, to build a system for managing application deployment that can support changes. He compared the approach to one of monolithic workflow tools that are complex to change due to their tightly coupled nature.
Consider HashiCorp’s toolset as a suite for managing DevOps in your organisation. They aim to support whatever infrastructure and tools you already have, providing a workflow management environment for automating and monitoring things, for both developers and operators. Images can be built and deployed to AWS, OpenStack, VMware, Virtualbox and Docker, so you can gain independence from specific infrastructure environments, while still keeping the same overall development and deployment workflows. I note that [entity display=”Microsoft” type=”organization” subtype=”company” active=”false” key=”microsoft” ticker=”MSFT” exchange=”NASDAQ” natural_id=”fred/company/2854″]Microsoft[/entity] Azure is not explicitly listed as a supported environment on the HashiCorp website, but there is a closed issue on Github. Hyper-V support is still some time away, it appears.
Official [entity display=”VMware” type=”organization” subtype=”company” active=”false” key=”vmware” ticker=”VMW” exchange=”NYSE” natural_id=”fred/company/5897″]VMware[/entity] vCloud Air support for the Packer image creation tool is due next month, according to Fishner, but if you’re curious, you can see how the support was added by browsing the Github issue log itself. Compare this to the more opaque way proprietary software is developed. [entity display=”VMware” type=”organization” subtype=”company” active=”false” key=”vmware” ticker=”VMW” exchange=”NYSE” natural_id=”fred/company/5897″]VMware[/entity] support was first suggested on 30 July 2014, and now, just over a year later, support is becoming official. That’s the pace of development in this new world.
So far, the approach appears to be working, with 500,000 monthly active users of the HashiCorp ecosystem, according to Fishner. Not bad for a company founded in 2012.
I find it interesting that we’re seeing so many tools born in the developer world are now bleeding across into the enterprise, rather than the other way around. It seems the flexibility and rapid pace of development of the more open environments of the app world are replacing the tightly locked down approach of traditional enterprise. I also see the more successful approaches embracing the heterogeneous nature of enterprises, rather than zealously advocating for complete replacement of existing systems with a cloud-only approach, written from scratch.
As a longtime fan of open source, this makes me pretty happy. Now we just have to see if companies other than RedHat can make the approach work financially.
This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.