Applications, whether they are at an enterprise data center or in the cloud, typically need an operating system on which to run. When it comes to virtual machines, software appliances are the answer, embedding applications with the OS.
One of the easiest ways to build a software appliance is the SUSE Studio Linux technology. SUSE is now updating the software appliance building technology with its 1.3 release.
SUSE Studio was first launched in 2009 as a free online service. The effort was expanded in 2010 with first release of a commercial on-premise SUSE Studio version. The most recent release was the SUSE Studio 1.2 release which provided the ability to build Linux software appliance that could run on mainframes.
In SUSE Studio 1.3 the focus is on the cloud.
"You can now build appliances for SUSE Cloud and other OpenStack based clouds," Andreas Jaeger, program manager at SUSE told Datamation.
The SUSE Cloud became generally available in August of 2012 and is OpenStack based. SUSE is one of the founding members of the OpenStack Foundation.
With SUSE Studio 1.3 a user can build a software appliance for an application and then automatically have that image imported into a running SUSE Cloud instance.
"We're using the Webhooks feature in SUSE Cloud, which can check to see what images have been built," Jaeger said.
SUSE Studio 1.3 is also able to build images that can be pulled into other OpenStack based cloud deployments. HP, Dell, Rackspace and AT&T are among the many vendors building public OpenStack cloud deployments today. Jaeger explained that a cloud administrator can choose to enable Webhooks in the cloud of their choice. The Webhooks can them be connected to an OpenStack Glance image service with SUSE Studio to access the software appliance images.
Going beyond just OpenStack, SUSE Studio now also can build virtual machine images that will run on Microsoft's Hyper-V environment as well.
The on-premise SUSE Studio 1.3 release includes an integrated Lifecyle Manager tool. With Lifecycle Manager, software vendors can manage licenses and entitlements for their virtual appliances. The online version of SUSE Studio does not have the Lifecycle Manager.
SUSE Studio online also differs from its on-premise counterpart in that it is free to use and has been since the day the service launched.
"It costs us money to host it and for the storage, but it's still a free service and we have no plans to change that," Jaeger said. "We are discussing whether it might makes sense to add some premium features, but currently we have no plans to do so."