rPath updates the rBuilder appliance construction kit
rPath has released version 5 of rBuilder, a platform for creating Linux-based software appliances for use on real x86 hardware, as a virtual system or as a cloud application. This release is said to make configuring an appliance stack much easier, with a lower number of required clicks. A new management console has also been added and REST-based APIs allow the console to be linked to existing management tools, such as HP OpenView, IBM's Tivoli or version control systems and automation tools.
Software appliances created with rBuilder combine a server application with a minimal Linux operating system that contains only the software components that are actually required. rPath uses a "application driven" system to select the appropriate libraries, databases and operating system for an appliance, based on which application is required. rPath was founded in 2005 by ex Red Hat employees; Erik Troan, creator of the Red Hat Package Manager and Billy Marshall. Underlying the rPath system is Conary, the company's open source distributed software management system, licensed under the Common Public Licence, which was recently superseded by the Eclipse Public Licence.
The rBuilder application creates appliances which can be run on physical hardware, but also supports common virtualisation platforms such as VMware ESX, Citrix (Xen), Parallels and Microsoft Hyper-V and various cloud environments, such as Amazon EC2. Previously, the rBuilder service was only available for free through rBuilder Online. With rBuilder 5 though, a free download that supports up to twenty concurrent appliances and can be downloaded. For more demanding tasks, an enterprise version is available.