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ServiceMesh Cloud Tools Get Cozier With DevOps

ServiceMesh Agility 9.0 lets you release a cloud application into production, configure it in real time and manage it in Amazon, Rackspace, Cloud Foundry or Microsoft Azure environments.

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ServiceMesh has pushed into a more distinct DevOps space with the release of Version 9.0 of its Agility cloud management platform.

Agility can now release a new application into production from development, configure it in real time and manage it, regardless of its cloud destination.

Cloud computing may take on greater appeal if it can regularly incorporate these application-centric -- as opposed to virtual machine-centric -- attributes. DevOps requires a focus on the application lifecycle and its continuous updates, without infighting between development teams and operations.

There are a number of parties occupying the management platform space, including Eucalyptus, Nimbula and Cloupia. ServiceMesh is distinct, however, in its greater focus on alignment with DevOps. (To learn more about ServiceMesh and its cloud management platform competitors, see this post by financial services blogger Alan Radding.)

[ Worried about cloud lock-in? See Silver Peak Cuts Amazon Cloud Data Movement Costs. ]

Agility Version 9.0 was released Feb. 20 with "a deep level of integration with Puppet Labs," the widely used, open source configuration management system. Developers use Puppet to capture the specifications of a successful application build. Cloud users can use it in much the same way to capture the specs of a successful virtual machine deployment.

That's one reason VMware recently invested $30 million in Puppet Labs and placed its senior VP and general manager for cloud platforms, Raghu Raghuram, on Puppet's board of directors. VMware is seeking greater integration between Puppet and its vCloud Director Suite.

With Version 9, ServiceMesh's Agility can do something with VMware-based workloads that VMware itself hopes to do in the near future: It can deploy a VMware virtual machine to the Cloud Foundry open source development environment, to Amazon Web Services EC2, as well as into enterprise environments running VMware vSphere as a private cloud.

As an application's development is completed, ServiceMesh can take over and deploy it into whichever setting is required. In doing so, it can make sure that security policies that prescribe a certain updated version of the operating system are being followed. Such provisioning ensures that cloud workloads remain in compliance, noted ServiceMesh CTO Shawn Douglass in an interview.

Through a platform like ServiceMesh, the handoff from the development team to the operations team can occur with less friction. The platform knows a lot of about the application it's getting and can be directed by skilled IT managers to apply the right security and networking policies for the target environment. The platform also ensures that the application is accompanied by the right, updated pieces of middleware.

In addition to Puppet, ServiceMesh Agility now supports use of the Jenkins continuous integration tool, which makes adding changes to in-production applications more manageable. The open source code allows modifications and updates to occur more frequently, but in a controlled fashion.

In addition to AWS and Cloud Foundry, SeviceMesh can deploy to Microsoft's Windows Azure, the Xen-based Rackspace environment and VMware's vDirector-based public cloud partners such as CSC, Softbank and BlueLock. ServiceMesh recognizes cloud environments based on Vblock -- integrated server racks built by the EMC-Cisco-VMware consortium, VCE.

The 9.0 version of the platform allows the creation of graphical application blueprints, which capture standardized versions of an application and allow it to be moved around the enterprise and between clouds. The blueprint can illustrate the multiple tiers of an application and allow the application tiers to be deployed in an alternative environment using a drag-and-drop method.

ServiceMesh is priced at $795 annually per virtual machine managed, or a one-time charge of $1,595 per virtual machine managed, Douglass said.

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