The Virtualization Room

Feb 20 2008   9:28AM GMT

FastScale Composer lives to see Version 2.0

Alex Barrett Alex Barrett Profile: Alex Barrett

This summer, wrote about a large VMware shop that uses an application virtualization and provisioning tool from FastScale Technology Inc. to keep its test lab under control. Now there’s news that FastScale will launch version 2.0 of its Composer product, a good sign for the Santa Clara, Calif., startup with just a handful of customers to its name (according to Lynn LeBlanc, the company’s CEO, “more than 10,” to be imprecise).

The company’s goal with FastScale Composer 2.0 is twofold, said LeBlanc: scalability and useability. “With our prior user interface, I felt we were scalable if you were dealing with hundreds of machines — but not if you were dealing with thousands of machines.” To scale up to these large environments, FastScale re-architected its user interface to represent server inventory and configuration details in a browseable, hierarchical format.

Other features include new support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (previously, FastScale supported only RHEL 4) and provisioning into VMware ESX 3.5 virtual machines.

As more customers get their hands on it, LeBlanc says the principal use cases and benefits of FastScale’s technology are beginning to crystallize. For one thing, the company’s “application blueprinting” technology results in application stacks that are significantly smaller than traditional ones (LeBlanc claims an average size reduction of more than 90% over a traditional image), making it a good way to optimize performance and resources. “The smaller the environment, the fewer resources it uses,” LeBlanc explained. For another, these smaller environments encourage dynamic provisioning — and reprovisioning — of IT environments. Finally, blueprinting automatically detects dependencies between an application and the underlying operating system, eliminating the time-consuming and manual process of creating static “golden images.”

Anyway, it’s interesting technology, somewhere between Scalent Systems provisioning and Ardence application virtualization and is probably worth reading more about.

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