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Jesse Robbins, left, handed the CEO reins to tech veteran Mitch Hill, last summer

Opscode has raised $19.5 million in venture capital financing, the second large funding round in a Seattle area business-to-business software company this month. The deal, which was led by Bellevue-based Ignition Partners and included participation from Battery Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, follows the $50 million round that Bellevue-based Apptio raised on March 15th.

As a result of the financing, Ignition’s John Connors — the former chief financial officer at Microsoft — has joined the Opscode board.

Opscode is an emerging player in the arena of cloud automation technologies, essentially helping developers more easily push code across an array of platforms and scaling servers quickly.

The company has been on a significant growth curve in recent months, tapping former Avanade boss Mitch Hill as CEO last August. The new money will help propel the company forward even further.

“We have a product. We have a commercial model. And it is time to scale up,” said Hill, adding that he talked to Ignition very early in the investment process. Total funding in the company — started by former employee Jesse Robbins — now stands at $31.5 million.

The company operates in both Seattle and Raleigh, North Carolina, with plans to add staff in both locations. It now employs 50 people, with plans to get to about 75 folks by the end of the year.

The uptick in sales at Opscode is being driven by what Hill described as a big problem in the industry, noting that “technology infrastructure is becoming more and more complex.”

“The fact that we are creating infrastructure in the cloud now is exciting — and it’s easy to do — but it also creates a management (issue),” said Hill. “In addition to that the software stacks are becoming more fragmented, and more complex, particularly with lots of layers of open source software. So, you combine those two things together and the management problem that’s out there today far outstrips the ability and skills in the market to do anything about it.”

Hill said that Opscode and its Chef platform is currently used by companies that are managing thousands of servers in mixed environments, from Linux to Windows to proprietary software. The software is designed to help developers more easily iterate and roll out change across different environments.

To date, Opscode has recorded more than 800,000 downloads of Chef. It also now boasts 12,000 registered users. Customers include, IGN, Rhapsody, EA, Animoto and others.

Seattle startup GoTime, which was acquired earlier this month by Infogroup, used the Opscode Hosted Chef service to help rebuild their cloud infrastructure. With the service in place, the maker of the happy hour location service now can more quickly roll out servers in order to meet demand.

Pricing on the hosted service starts at $120 per month and goes up to $600 per month. Opscode also recently rolled out Private Chef, which is designed for larger enterprise customers.

The investment marks a big bet for Ignition in the Seattle area following a string of investments outside of the region.

“This is an extremely exciting time for Opscode as it creates and leads the infrastructure automation market during a period of major IT transformation, driven by the rapid adoption of cloud computing and the ‘DevOps’ movement,” said Connors of Ignition Partners.

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