This guest post comes from our friends at UShareSoft.

So you’ve bought into cloud and the benefits it brings for IT and business agility. You know from Citrix that one advantage of Apache CloudStack is accelerated IT service delivery, thanks to the combination of self-service provisioning and a catalog of custom-built machine images. You’re running—or perhaps evaluating—CloudStack—and reveling in the luxury of being able to spin up and power down resources on demand. It’s faster and easier for you to deliver new IT services to your users, and they get all the advantages of on-demand self-service access.

All well and good. But wait a minute. What about those “custom-built machine images”? Who deals with those? How do they get into CloudStack? And who maintains them?

The bottom line is: you do. And unlike your shiny new cloud where you enjoy high levels of self-sevice and automation for compute, network and storage resources, it’s more than likely that you’re having to build and maintain these images manually. You probably get the same feeling from buying a brand new Porsche then being stuck in a traffic jam: unable to take full advantage of your engine power.

And that’s where UShareSoft comes in.

The reality today is that many ISVs and enterprises continue to assemble cloud server templates and VMs by hand or using semi-automated processes. This makes it difficult to:

  • Rapidly scale the number of applications running on the cloud;
  • Easily update and maintain VMs with new releases, patches etc.;
  • Easily trace software components, licenses etc. within the image; and
  • Deliver customized, “build-to-order” application stacks on demand.

UShareSoft provides automation and self-service for cloud software through model-driven templating. Our UForge platform “blueprints” the complete software stack, from individual OS packages up, as a cloud server template that is independent of any hypervisor or IaaS platform. It then automatically generates and publishes a final machine image to the hypervisor or cloud of your choice: CloudStack, Xen, VMware, Amazon EC2 and many more. Simply model once and deliver anywhere. UForge also fully automates the full software delivery process, from build and generation to publish and maintenance.

There are several advantages to combining automation with software modeling before onboarding to cloud. These include:

  • Support for multiple hypervisors and clouds, enabling customers to bridge from virtualization to cloud or implement a hybrid cloud strategy;
  • Fine-grained control over each level of the software stack for software governance and compliance;
  • Self-service consumption of cloud software and “build-to-order” customization of software stacks; and
  • Ability to build an enterprise application marketplace where application developers and consumers can create, share, clone and customize cloud server templates.

If you’re interested in learning more, then I recently recorded a seminar session with Citrix, discussing the benefits of using UForge with CloudStack.

If you’d like to go further, then why not test drive UForge yourself? You can get a free online account or request an on-premise trial at:

– James Weir, CTO at UShareSoft