Puppet at StaplesThis is a product case study for Puppet in the Retail sector.

At Staples, Puppet automates cloud deployment, self-service provisioning to free us the time of IT resources so that they can focus on innovation.

Staples Inc. is the world’s largest office products company and one of the biggest internet retailers. The company opened its first store in 1986, began offering its stock publicly in 1989, began selling online in 1998, and has grown to $22.5 billion in annual revenue.

The Challenge

Automate private cloud used by application development teams; create self-service provisioning for developers; speed deployment cycles. Staples needed to automate its private cloud spanning multiple data centers.

The company also wanted to enable self-service provisioning for application development teams to free up IT Operations from having to provision developer environments so they can focus on activities that add more value to the business.

The Solution

Managing and making optimal use of Staples’ private cloud was the primary motivation behind finding a good configuration management tool, said Tom Sabin, IT manager for cloud and automation, and Jeff Quaintance, senior cloud and automation engineer at Staples.

The answer was to find a configuration management system that would be accessible for developers, platform engineers and others — not just sysadmins. “We needed to be able to say, ‘Here’s a configuration management tool; we don’t expect you be experts in it, but if you can get started in your own sandbox or development environment, and contribute back to us, that would help us build and scale out our configuration management capabilities,“ said Jeff. “That’s where Puppet came in.”

Today, with configuration managed by Puppet Enterprise, Staples’ IT team has created a user interface that allows colleagues on other teams to order new VMs equipped so they can start working right away. “We’re not just handing out servers; we’re handing out servers with middleware or database on top of it, moving up the stack,” said Jeff. “Puppet has really helped us get to that point.”

The Results

Deployment cycles went from weeks to hours, from days to minutes. Developers can provision their own environments as needed. Fast provisioning of cloud resources for internal application development teams. Automated systems management made IT ops teams faster & more efficient. Increased stability and reliability.

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