Stumbling through technology

11 October 2008

ec2 java jboss puppet thincrust virtualization

It can sometimes be funny, the paths we take.

Once I'd verified that a Rails app deployed on JBoss would indeed cluster, I sat in my farmhouse, looking at my lone little Mac. Not much of a cluster to play with.

So I started looking at Amazon EC2, which is truly very nice, particularly when paired with Elasticfox.

Of course, firing up a cluster on EC2 requires a nicely-produced, ready-to-boot machine image or a lot of manual configuration on each node.

Sacha pointed me to another group within Red Hat: Thincrust.

Thincrust configures a Fedora disk image with "just enough" OS bits, and provides a way to add/update applications on it. It's a happy mixture of Kickstart, Puppet and Yum.

The goal is to make it easy to produce "appliance" images that could be flung onto machines, real or virtual. Need a Git server? Fire up the Git appliance on the cloud. Need a Drupal server? Fire one of those up. Need a JBoss server or cluster? We're working on that..

Thincrust is built upon Fedora. My Mac is not. But VMWare Fusion lets me run Fedora. So I can create Fedora-based Thincrust images. Which I'll deploy on EC2. Which is running Xen, probably on RHEL. And ultimately allowing you to run your Ruby-on-Rails applications on a Java stack.

There are times I can't remember exactly which OS, language, or virtualization environment I should be thinking in.