rPath offers rBuilder for creating and maintaining software appliances. rPath also provides a free, community version of rBuilder called rBuilder Online. Developers can create and share projects with others, as long as the projects are made available for free download. Today, rBuilder Online offers nearly 7000 software appliance images to the public.
In 2006 rPath migrated the entire rBuilder Online library of images from the NAS at its datacenter site to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). rPath transferred 1.7 terabytes of images (which has since grown to over 2 terabytes) and redirected all web access to the images, so that rBuilder Online users receive their appliance images from Amazon S3. Using Amazon’s storage service, the company eliminated the need to upgrade to a larger NAS disk array, which saved about $80,000, and freed up existing NAS storage for other uses.
In addition to being an Amazon S3 customer, rPath also enables software providers to use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) infrastructure to offer their applications in an on-demand model.
In early 2007 rPath began offering the ability for an end user to run an appliance in a virtual machine environment on EC2 without any downloads or installations required on the user’s local computer. According to Brett Adam, vice president of engineering: “This approach is a great way for appliance builders to showcase their applications for demonstration purposes and has led to active plans by numerous developers to offer EC2 hosted versions of their appliances on a commercial basis.”
“Software providers should be focused on building great application features, not managing infrastructure,” says Billy Marshall, CEO and founder of rPath. “The unique combination of rBuilder plus Amazon EC2 provides an alternative approach to Software as a Service (SaaS) for application providers without the significant expense of application re-design or investments in data center resources.”
Software developers use rBuilder to build an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) that is stored in Amazon S3. Then, with a single click, rBuilder and rBuilder Online users can boot their software appliances on Amazon EC2. No more waiting for downloads or fighting with complex installation procedures. Software appliances plus Amazon EC2 deliver software value without the hassles—on demand.For more on rPath, go to http://www.rpath.com/experience/ .