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Taneja Blog / Cloud

Application Delivery and Virtual Convergence

We've been discussing virtual convergence here on the blog recently, and the impact it has on IT operations. In particular, we've looked at the emergence of new types of administrators with cross-domain expertise and functionality. Virtualization owners with storage and server responsibilities, for example, or storage administrators who may take on a server role for virtualized workloads.

There are other communities in the mix, of course, and they're also facing new challenges. Development teams and application owners are rethinking their processes in a virtualized world as well. When the eventual target for an application might be a virtual machine from VMware, a physical server, or a cloud-hosted Xen-based farm, the development, testing, and validation process is more complex, requires new configuration and testing skills, and further strains IT support teams. We're rethinking infrastructure management - it's natural to rethink the application development, deployment, and lifecycle management process as well.

An interesting approach here is to rethink application packaging. Once an app is delivered to IT ops, the hard work usually begins: tweaking and tuning the server stack required to run it, including OS components, drivers, libraries, etc. Firms like rPath are building tools aimed at this challenge by developing a new packaging and release strategy that moves lifecycle management up the stack from the server to the application. With rPath, developers package up apps and bind them to the requires OS, data, and libraries they need, resulting in self-describing units that, theoretically, are ready to be deployed on nearly any virtual, physical, or cloud target.

Will this catch on? There are vested interests throughout the data center, and convincing infrastructure owners to give up some of that config and lifecycle control will take finesse. New release and source control systems can be a tough sell to the notoriously religious development community. But rPath and others are heading in the right direction. You can learn more from an actual client in this podcast interview with an rPath customer. Let us know what you think.

  • Premiered: 08/04/09
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Application Cloud Computing Management virtual infrastructures


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