Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Elastic Server: Virtual Goodness

CohesiveFT have been busy building out an online infrastructure for building applications for virtualized environments. What does that mean? Well, you can jump on their Elastic Server On demand (ESOD) site and build an application from a growing list of components, then build a virtual image that can either be directly deployed to EC2 (very cool) or you can download the image and run it on VMWare, XEN or Parallels.
You can then share your applications with other users and the ESOD site gives you a nice interface where you can view/download other applications you have built. I find the interface is really nice to use.
I’ve played with this in the past, but their latest release really caught my attention because you can now upload your own components. There are a number of immediate uses that come to mind –

  1. At MuleSource we have built out a load of QA infrastructure so that we can test Mule in different environments as part of our Mule Enterprise product. Building and maintaining this infrastructure is a hassle and a perfect candidate for virtualization.
  2. We have to use a similar infrastructure PSR testing. But since performance testing is often driven by what the customer asks for, we have to customise the test suite per customer.
  3. Demo applications. We have a growing number of products at MuleSource, and it’s becoming more and more important to demonstrate how our products all work together. Having something like ESOD as a tool for our sales guys would really help enable them in the field and also gives us a way to manage a growing catalog of demos.
One of the coolest features, for me at least, is that they have a notion of Provisioning Portals and they have a portal especially for creating Mule applications. Give it a go!

Using ESOD is like buying a computer from Dell (though I switched to the Mac 4 years ago and never looked back). You select your base unit (operating system and virtualization platform) then you pick and choose the components you want installed on it. Then once you’re done you’re given a download link - much better than waiting for Dell to screw up your order.