Earlier this month, rPath put out a nice offer to ISVs: they will do a free "Application to Appliance" conversion to turn your commercial software application into virtual appliance. The application process begins here, and there’s just three qualifying questions:

  • Is the application built to run on Linux (any Linux distribution)?
  • Is the application server-based?
  • Is the application currently commercially available?

rPath currently powers some of the entries in the virtual appliance marketplace, and in general gets good marks for creating a turnkey, customized OS tuned to your needs — and adding must-needed services for virtual appliances, like handling OS updates. If you are working with a non-commercial app, or just want to try to do it yourself, rolling a new custom distribution with rPath isn’t hard at all, but you do have to get used to some of their jargon.

Also check out Billy on Open Source, their CEO’s blog. On his latest entry, he talks about their experiences moving 2 Terabytes of data to Amazon’s S3 system. I’ll be interested to see what they do with Amazon’s virtualized utility compute service EC2.

Our first experience with Amazon’s computing services was when we
migrated all of our virtual appliance images from our NAS at our
datacenter site to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). We transferred
1.7 terabytes of images (it has since grown to over 2 terabytes),
redirected all of our web services that control access to the images,
and our rBuilder Online users began receiving their disk images from
Amazon instead of from rPath. Our first monthly bill from Amazon was
about $300, which includes the cost of the bandwidth to serve the
images. We eliminated the need to purchase a very expensive NAS disk
array (about $80K), and freed up our existing NAS storage for other
uses. Amazon is amazing.