Friday, 1 August 2008

Announcing Statelesx 1.0.0!

Today marks a great day for us over here... the release of our first application, Statelesx (pronounced "stateless" - think of the X in xsigo or xenophobia).

As anyone who has been reading this blog since it's inception knows, statelessness of the endpoint is something I strongly believe in. And with statelesx, you can achieve this. The architecture of the app is something like this:

1) A python script on your fat ESX boxes that runs on startup
2) A Java app that listens for requests and acts via the VirtualCenter SDK
3) A minimal web interface for managing XML cluster configuration files

In a nutshell, you create a cluster configuration file that contains cluster options (DRS,DPM,HA) and network info (vSwitches, portgroups, vmkernel interfaces) and then associate hosts to the cluster config file by their FQDN and UUID. The python script on the ESX host sends the UUID to the statelesx listener, which searches the cluster config files for a match on the UUID. If it finds one, it goes to work. If it doesn't, nothing happens.

It goes without saying, this has a lot of implications. It cuts the shit out of deployment time. It saves admins the rather boring and repetitive task of configuring esx hosts individually when new clusters hit the datacenter floor. You dont have to backup your esx configs anymore - it would be quicker to rebuild from scratch and let statelesx configure things for you. And finally, it ensures you have a 100% consistent cluster wide networking configuration.

Statelesx will be available as a virtual appliance. It runs on Ubuntu 8.04 JeOS with the Sun Java 6 package and Tomcat 6. All up the appliance is only a few hundred megs of disk, and half a gig of RAM although no doubt it could run with less if you needed it to. VI 3.5 is required, although if we get enough requests we may backport to VI 3.0.

We've put together some videos to show you it in action - be sure to watch them in full screen mode as they're recorded at 1024 x 768. The first one gives an overview and basic configuration demo. The second one goes into much more detail around the XML config files and shows an advanced configuration being applied to some hosts.

Plea for hosting!
The problem we have now, is that we dont have anywhere to host the appliance itself. Even though it zips down to under 200MB, we couldn't find any free providers that would allow the bandwidth we're hopefully going to receive when everyone realises how useful the app is :-D. So if anyone reading can help out in this regard, please contact us on vinternals at gmail dot com.

Hopefully we'll be adding a download link soon!