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Salesforce.com: IT automation at scale, DevOps and Puppet

Salesforce.com is one of the world's largest SaaS companies, with $6.7 billion in annual revenue. It has tens of thousands of servers running in production, supporting billions of transactions per day.

Even if you're not working at a huge CRM software company, if you've ever had to build servers manually, or write scripts to patch and update servers, then you'll understand why the Salesforce.com IT team turned to Puppet. The team now automates the entire lifecycle of its hosts, from initial bare-metal provisioning and cloud provisioning through ongoing management.

You can learn a lot more about how Salesforce.com uses Puppet to support infrastructure as code and its other DevOps practices in our interview with Petersen Allen, a lead software developer at the $6.7 billion-per-year CRM software giant.

Petersen says he and his team can be confident as they deploy infrastructure, because every Puppet host is configured as it should be, with all the patches it needs and all packages properly installed. That makes troubleshooting much easier and faster, and the infrastructure so dependable that Salesforce IT operators can skip a lot of formerly required validation.

Salesforce now has solid testing and deployment pipelines for infrastructure that are reliable and predictable. This stability and predictability make a huge difference to Petersen and his colleagues — they are freed from many of their prior manual tasks, and can move confidently forward on more innovative projects. As Petersen says, "At Salesforce, customer success is their No. 1 priority, which makes the success of our infrastructure my No. 1 priority. Puppet lets us do that."

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Aliza Earnshaw is the editorial director at Puppet.

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