rPath Upgrades Linux App Deployment Platform

The development tool expands the capabilities of its Linux application deployment platform to provide dashboard visualization of the deployment stack.
rPath has updated its application release deployment system so that it can manage a large application and its configuration with related middleware, databases and network address, regardless of where it's deployed.

"We automate the process of creating and configuring a software system" or an application software stack, said Jake Sorofman, VP of marketing for rPath.

From source code, the rPath Lifecycle Management Platform creates a bill of materials listing all the elements in the stack and generates the desired output format, including a virtualized file to run under a VMware ESX Server or Citrix Systems XenServer hypervisors. It can also generate an Amazon Machine Image for the Amazon EC2 cloud.

rPath Lifecycle Management Platform previously supported the Novell Suse Linux Enterprise and Cannonical's Ubuntu. It now supports Red Hat's Enterprise Linux version 4 and version 5.

Most version control repositories have been designed to aid the development process, but rPath's is aimed at operations. rPath's repository and release automation platform built on top of it is designed to aid the application deployment process after development of source code.

The rPath Lifecycle Management Platform automates the conversion of source code to deployment code. It recognizes that the deployment environment for an application may vary from a bare metal server to a virtualized environment in the data center to a public cloud deployment. In each environment, the application configuration and related middleware components may vary. The repository stores information on each component, records patches and updates, and allows a system administrator to recreate an earlier, successful deployment.

In its release announced Monday, the platform includes a dashboard that can visualize the application stack and its target environment. System administrators can see compliance requirements better through the dashboard and measure distribution rates. Through the platform, they can take action on release patches or updates, if the dashboard shows a need for them to do so, said Sorofman for the Raleigh, N.C., firm.

The same application might be running on a server in the data center, on virtualized servers or in the cloud. The rPath system provides an inventory of all releases, which can be queried by a system administrator.

It also provides a central point from which to provision multiple systems, and push updates across those systems that need them, Sorofman said.

The platform also includes workflow integration based on the user's role in deployment. The platform provides built in dialogues with IT managers, release engineers and system administrators as a new release of an application is prepared for deployment.

One result of using the platform is a release catalogue that shows its users the applications versions that are approved by IT for deployment. The user interface for the platform makes it easy to promote a release as deployment ready or demote an application as not ready for production environments. Sorofman said rPath is continuing to build out its release automation platform under what he described as its Javelin road map, which promised certain upgrades through 2009-2010.

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