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6/3/2011
06:42 PM
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RightScale Launches App Store For Infrastructure

The Multi-Cloud Marketplace offers more than 40,000 RightScale and third party templates to for cloud deployments.

RightScale is borrowing a page from Apple and calling its recently launched exchange for cloud workload components "an app store for IT."

RightScale is a front-end management company that packages and deploys applications in one of several public clouds. It's ability to monitor and manage workloads after deployment has made it a frequent choice of customers who don't wish to learn the specifics of each cloud service provider for themselves. RightScale collects a fee, typically three cents an hour, for its service.

The secret sauce in its process is knowledge of server configurations under Windows or Linux that are suitable for running various workloads. It has captured these configurations as server templates, which can be used repeatedly for different customers. Once a workload is built using a RightScale template, it can be launched to different clouds. RightScale customers are primarily users of Amazon's EC2 and RackSpace Cloud.

Now RightScale is making hundreds of those server templates available to all comers, some free and some for a price.

The Multi-Cloud Marketplace launched on Monday is meant to be a clearinghouse of ready-to-run cloud servers built to known best practices, said RightScale CEO Michael Crandell in an interview. In addition to choices of Linux and Windows servers, a customer can choose a database server, web server, application server, or clustering software to provide more horsepower for a single app. RightScale and its customers have produced 42,500 different templates, a figure that is double what it was a year ago, said Crandell.

Once a potential customer chooses a template and packages a workload with it, RightScale can deploy it to one of several clouds, meaning it can handle the underlying details of putting it in the correct virtual machine format needed by the target cloud, such as Amazon Machine Images for EC2 or Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESX Server images for RackSpace.

Anyone may now go to the RightScale site and view a template, one perhaps labored over by an expert within an industry. To actually use the template, however, one must have a RightScale customer account. In some cases, the companies offering their server configurations charge for their use.

Crandell said the marketplace will serve as an exchange by allowing software creators to publish templates to the RightScale customer base with their license agreement attached. System integrators may prepare a template for a targeted set of users and then charge on a pay-per-use basis. RightScale customers may share with selected users in their own organizations templates that represent company expertise. Or customers may freely share templates that capture expertise they've brought to the marketplace. Each submitter may choose the intended cloud for the template. Several Linux templates are available free that include the open source LAMP stack.

A paid version of a template that establishes a high availability, master/slave implementation of MySQL is also available with a load-balancing server for use across six servers. A 6-7 server cluster running PHP applications as a scalable web service is also available, Crandell noted.

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Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
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Enterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.
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