rPath Buttons Up Software Automation And Control

rPath, a software developer focused on automation and control for enterprise systems, is rolling out X6, an IT-as-a-service platform that automates deployment and update of the entire system stack--including application, middleware and operating system software and configuration settings--across physical, virtual and cloud environments, with the click of a button.

March 22, 2011

2 Min Read
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rPath, a software developer focused on automation and control for enterprise systems, is rolling out X6, an IT-as-a-service platform that automates deployment and update of the entire system stack--including application, middleware and operating system software and configuration settings--across physical, virtual and cloud environments, with the click of a button.

In addition to the push-button user experience, the new product unifies software and configuration automation so that software stacks can be personalized and activated through easy editing of host configuration settings, such as network protocol, storage and IP settings, states the company. The configuration settings are then managed by rPath X6 as metadata within a version-controlled system blueprint that encompasses the entire version "bill of materials" for a software system. These configuration capabilities are fully interoperable with Puppet, Cfengine and Chef.

With the new offering, users can create a library of reusable system components, platforms and stacks; automate system construction, image generation and workload portability across targets; define version-controlled blueprints to achieve and maintain a system's desired state; and report on system inventories, configurations, patch levels and policy compliance. rPath says that it's an easy upgrade for existing customers via command line, API or GUI, and is fully backward compatible with its existing offerings.

There are two main strengths to the new offering, says Jean-Pierre Garbani, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research. "The DevOps articulation is the major strength--configuring and releasing a new application or changes to an application is a process fraught with human errors. The complexity is such that issues are inevitable. These issues have a ripple effect on service quality and agility."

The other major strength is the IT service supply chain that will play a major role in the future. "IT will have a choice of delivery platforms that they did not have before [physical server, virtual server, public or private cloud]. Applications will need to be easily "movable" to any platform. This is where rPath has a big role to play."While he likes the product concept, Garbani cautions that better education of IT organizations will need to happen to make it a success. "Whether they like it or not, IT will be facing exponential growth in complexity and increased pressure to improve productivity. rPath is one element that is needed to make this progress possible."

From an overall market perspective, the Forrester analyst thinks the biggest trend is the consequence of infrastructure abstraction: Virtualization and its extension in cloud computing are offering a choice of service delivery platforms to IT organizations that did not exist before. "IT can now compare different solutions and select the most cost-effective one. But to do this, the service has to be portable and self-configurable to give It the possibility of exercising the choice."

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