Feeds

FastScale weans admins off golden images with speed

Pops out little bundles

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

This will be hard to believe. Another software company has the cure-all for installing software across a large number of servers.

FastScale Technology has come gushing out of stealth mode with its Composer Suite software. The code promises to make installing applications across hundreds or even thousands of servers a real pleasure instead of a tremendous pain.

The magic behind FastScale's technology stems from the way in which it routes around general purpose operating systems – namely Linux – to craft thin, appliance-like systems on-the-fly.

To run FastScale Composer Suite, customers will need to set up a DB2-based software repository and at least one, dedicated management server. FastScale, of course, provides both pieces of this puzzle, starting at $30,000 for the management server, repository and control over 25 servers.

Using its "Application Blueprint" technology, FastScale takes a look at your server hardware, operating system and desired application. It then pulls out all of the general purpose bits in the OS not needed for that particular app, be it web server, application server, database server or whatever server.

"We identify precisely what OS resources are required for any application to be fully functional," said FastScale CEO Lynn LeBlanc. "We do it at runtime, and we do it in seconds. Best of all, our software does not require any OS or application modifications."

The thinned down OS and application bundle produced by FastScale's code often ends up in the MB range rather than GBs.

FastScale hopes to fight the customer dependence on the so-called "golden image" where customers spend days or weeks tuning an OS and application bundle for peak performance. The trim, 16-person start-up thinks its product removes the need to worry about such golden images at all with FastScale Composer Suite automating the entire tuning process.

The software has proved impressive enough to get Ideas International analyst Tony Iams's boat floating. He thinks that FastScale will help out those with massive data centers and also customers that have embraced server virtualization.

"Managing OSes, patches and middleware has turned into one of the first pain points to show up during the provisioning process with virtual machines," Iams said. "FastScale does solve some of these provisioning problems by letting you create application bundles very efficiently."

A number of other provisioning applications exist from the large server management vendors as well as newer players such as VMware and Cassatt.

FastScale, however, claims that none of these vendors solve the golden image problem.

Many customers like the control and reliability they get from hand-crafting golden images even if the process proves time consuming and painful.

"There is a question as to whether or not administrators will want to do things FastScale's way," Iams said. "They often like having a known quantity that's certified."

LeBlanc claims that FastScale's performance will outweigh any admin love for the golden images.

The company has yet to acquire a paying customer but does have 11 beta users.

For the moment, FastScale's software only works with Linux-based servers. It hopes to add Windows and Solaris support by year end. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding
Cloud, all-flash kit, object storage slicing away at titans of storage
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
El Reg's virtualisation desk pulls out the VMworld crystal ball
MARVIN musings and other Gelsinger Gang guessing games
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?