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Devops player Opscode takes on $32M, changes name to Chef

Above: Jay Wampold, vice president of marketing at Chef.

Image Credit: Chef
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Another enterprise-focused technology company is following BlackBerry in changing its name to refer to its core product. Opscode is rebranding itself Chef, and it’s taking on $32 million in new funding along the way.

Chef’s open-source and commercially supported technology enables companies to manage and automate loads of hardware they depend on to deploy applications. It’s among the most popular tools for the practice of devops, which marries application development with operations to deploy code.

“Chef has enormous awareness and brand equity worldwide,” Jay Wampold, the company’s vice president of marketing, told VentureBeat. “It’s got, really, a cult following, and people know the Chef name really well. The Opscode name is not as well known.”

Another company that decided to rebrand itself this year is NoSQL database pusher MongoDB. Garantia Data tried renaming itself RedisDB to be more closely associated with the open-source Redis database that one of its services is based on, but the company backpedaled after a major open-source contributor spoke out.

It’s important for Seattle-based Chef to tell as clear a story as possible now, with competition being so strong. A major force in devops other than Chef is Puppet Labs, which has received backing from VMware, among others.

A few days ago, Puppet showed it’s more serious about financials with the hiring of Bill Koefoed as its chief financial officer (CFO).

Chef now has a CFO, too: Curt Anderson, who formerly held that position inside Microsoft’s manufacturing and supply chain division.

And coincidentally, almost four years ago Puppet Labs changed its name from Reductive Labs to better align with its own open-source technology for managing infrastructure.

But Chef doesn’t only have Puppet to deal with. SaltStack is in the space, too, and it’s now possible to use the tool to manage deployments on the Google Compute Engine public cloud. AnsibleWorks is another competitor, and while it’s younger than the others, it’s becoming more popular, and it took on $6 million in funding this summer.

The new name and funding should give Chef a boost. Scale Venture Partners is leading the latest round. Citi Ventures, Amplify Partners, Battery Ventures, DFJ, and Ignition Partners are also participating. The company has raised $63 million to date.

The new money will allow Chef to bring on more salespeople, Wampold said. And through additional engineering hires, the product will get enhancements, particularly in the area of continuous delivery, which means rolling out code frequently, sometimes multiple times per day.

That’s an important capability for traditionally slow-moving enterprises businesses that feel threatened by up-and-comers with less infrastructure overhead. The intent is to let enterprises turn out appealing experiences as quickly as edgy challengers.

“We’re going to move across the stack, too,” Wampold said. “We’re also working with the networking vendors, and we’ll get to storage vendors. We call them (hardware) nodes. They can be compute nodes. They can be storage nodes. They can be networking nodes.”

Put more simply, Chef seems focused on becoming a centralized platform to manage not only servers but other critical data center gear as infrastructure needs change.

Chef last raised venture capital in March 2012, with $19.5 million.

It’s been three and a half years since Chef started charging for the service, while the open-source code has since become more widely adopted. Customers now include Ancestry.com, DreamHost, Facebook, and Splunk, according to a list on the Chef website.

More about the companies and people from this article:

Opscode is the leader in cloud infrastructure automation. We help companies of all sizes develop fully automated server infrastructures that scale easily and predictably; can be quickly rebuilt in any environment, and save developers a... read more »

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