The cloud makes it easy to build out pools of compute resources. But how do you scale out applications in the same way? That's the goal of VMware's latest vFabric 5.1 release.
The vFabric application development platform first debuted back in 2010 and has been evolving ever since. The vFabric 5.1 release now includes the vFabric Application Director, integration with in-memory database and traditional SQL database technology as well as full support for the open source Apache Tomcat application server.
"The vFabric Application Director is a tool that allows you to leverage the construct of a virtual machine to automate the deployment of application architecture," David McJannet, VMware's director of Cloud and Application Services, told InternetNews.com. "Application Director lets you create a blueprint so that every new web application you create for an environment for deployment can be replicated and automated."
The vFabric Application Director approach fits into VMware's overall Software Defined Data Center vision that CTO Steve Herrod articulated at Interop last week. It's a vision where software is the platform that defines how things work in a data center, instead of relying solely on hardware. While vFabric can automate application deployments, on its own it doesn't handle the infrastructure piece of the puzzle.
"Application Director is simply an exercise in creating common blueprints for application deployment," McJannet, said. "It presupposes that you already have a pool of infrastructure already setup, secured and available. Application Director is about leveraging infrastructure that is already in place."
So from a VMware portfolio perspective, an enterprise would use vCloud Director to first setup the pools of virtual server infrastructure. Application Director then sits on top of that to automate the application deployment piece.
A critical part of any modern application is the database layer, which is another area that VMware's vFabric 5.1 release is going after. The new vFabric release now includes support for the open source PostgreSQL database. VMware first began supporting PostgreSQL in August of 2011 and is now expanding the offering. The initial PostgreSQL support came with VMware's data connector for automating database lifecycles. Now VMware is including PostgreSQL as a standalone database inside of vFabric Suite 5.1.
VMware is also providing a new in-memory database as part of the vFabric 5.1 Suite. SQLfire is based on VMware's Gemfire distributed database technology. What SQLfire provides that Gemfire did not is a standard SQL interface, making it easier for developers to leverage with existing applications.
"This is a distributed in-memory database where you create a grid of nodes inside your data center or across data centers," McJannet explained. "So you can scale your applications horizontally by just adding more capacity at the data tier as an application comes under load."
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