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RightScale Gets More Portable

Young as it is, the company is on to its next-generation platform

Young as it is, RightScale, the cloud manager, is on to its next-generation platform.

Its ServerTemplate widgetry will now automatically configure servers on specific clouds, system architectures and operating systems, something it didn’t do before.

It should let users take advantage of the specific features and functionality offered by each cloud provider, beginning with Amazon and Rackspace, while retaining portability.

RightScale is supposed to say so at its User Meetup today in California and an alpha release of these portable ServerTemplates should be available on November 3.

These front-end architectures are comprised of an HAProxy load balancer and either PHP or Rails application servers. RightScale says a Rails All-in-One stack is also available as a free reference stack.


Photo: RightScale staff getting ready for their User Meetup opening keynote Monday 7 am

The ServerTemplates dynamically configure servers in the context of an overall system architecture, or what RightScale calls a cloud “deployment.”

It says that with the new ServerTemplates, users should be able to more easily deploy applications on a cloud using all the cloud’s unique features while retaining portability to other clouds. And ISVs should be able to build a ServerTemplate that automatically installs their software on any RightScale-supported cloud infrastructure.

To do what it’s done, RightScale has incorporated Opscode’s Chef, an open source server configuration management framework, into its ServerTemplate technology. Users can specify what resources are needed for each server, and the ServerTemplate selects, at runtime, the right implementation for the specific cloud and deployment architecture.

So-called Chef “Recipes” – that technolocy’s core building blocks – then execute the implementation in an operating system-independent way. After that, RightScale’s new RightLink agent orchestrates the execution of the RightScripts and Chef Recipes at boot, during operation, or at shutdown.

RightLink also manages the cross-server communication required to ensure that each server is configured and connected to operate in a larger cloud deployment.

RightScale says the combination of these three technologies enables users to take advantage of unique infrastructures and architecture designs to build agile and automated infrastructure without sacrificing portability.

Since Chef is integrated with its platform, RightScale expects the Chef development community to distribute Chef Recipes through its widgetry to customers running business-critical apps on the cloud. It figures its customers will eventually be able to leverage an extensive collection of Chef Cookbooks and Recipes to maximize application portability.

According to CTO Thorsten von Eicken, “As cloud computing matures, more and more cloud providers are emerging with very different architectures and a diversity of options for servers, storage and network architecture. Unlike emerging common cloud APIs that promote a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to cloud portability, RightScale’s new ServerTemplates enable true portability, while also letting users take advantage of the unique capabilities of different clouds. We see this as a huge step in helping IT organizations embrace and benefit from a multi-cloud world.”

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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