That’s Progress: Chef eaten by Boston business-app-flinger, while Puppet sets up shop in Germany

Business application provider Progress has announced plans to buy infrastructure automation company Chef in an all-cash deal. For the small sum of $220 million in cash, the company will become part of the Progress family in October 2020, should the usual regulatory deliberations fail to derail the deal.

The step is meant to help Progress reach its business goal to “double our company in five years by acquiring businesses that complement our portfolio” as company CEO Yogesh Gupta put it. Among the businesses that already made that transition are application development tool provider Telerik, which was bought by Progress in 2014, and Ipswitch, Inc, the company behind FTP client WS_FTP, which followed suit in 2019.

According to Chef’s CEO Barry Crist, “Chef will remain independent and continue its normal business operations. Once the deal is complete, Progress will be focused on continuing and executing on Chef’s business model and product roadmaps and supporting your business and our combined communities.“

He also sees the Chef products “bolstering” Progress’s position in the business application market “by providing continuous delivery, application delivery, dependable compliance, remediation automation, desktop management and more”. 

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Meanwhile Chef customers are meant to profit from Progress’ “significantly greater resources”, which are supposed to provide “extensive support for our open source projects and product roadmap”. 

Just last year, Chef announced its move to become a 100% open source company aiming for more transparency in its development process, much like Red Hat does with its enterprise Linux distribution.

First reactions to the acquisition on social media mainly gave a hat tip to the company’s role in getting DevOps going. HashiCorp founder Mitchell Hashimoto, for example, wrote: “I was a Ruby on Rails programmer when Chef opened my eyes and made servers (in general) feel approachable to me. It was like they said ‘no, programmers are welcome here too.’ Unsure if I would’ve gotten into DevOps without Chef.”

Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenar sees the purchase as a move validating “the importance of infrastructure automation”. The company, which is one of Chef’s major competitors, seems to be on a sort of expansion course, and announced the establishment of a new legal entity in Hamburg, Germany just yesterday. 

The company sees the DACH region as a “prime area of growth”, in which the new office is meant to strengthen Puppet’s “commitment to the local community and better serve a strong ecosystem of customers and partners across the DACH region”. 

Said customers include swiss telecommunications company Swisscom and air navigation service provider Skyguide. It is not known whether the UK’s impending Brexit had anything to do with the decision, though it wouldn’t be the first company to expand or set up a presence in continental Europe… just in case.

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