Cool tool: One click installation of open source apps

ComodIT, and many others, are catering to new era of DevOps

Downloading open source applications can sometimes be a pain in the neck. There can be multiple drivers, a variety of related components and a handful of little status bars that move from left to right at varying rates of speed.

ComodIT wants to change that. The company, which specializes in automating infrastructure resources, has a new tool called the Direct Installer, which promises one-click installations.

ComodIT does a lot more than just make an installer though. In fact, the technology allowing for the ease of use the installer provides is the basis for the company’s broader suite of offerings, which covers a range of tools for deploying and managing infrastructure. Laurent Eschenauer, co-founder and CTO of the company, says ComodIT is like a combination of cloud management tools from RightScale and Enstratius, along with automation deployment tools like Chef and Puppet.

“In the ComodIT world, you can really take care of the whole infrastructure, from the apps to the hardware,” he says. “There’s no need for recipes or codes. We’ve tried hard to make it simple.”

ComodIT is one of a growing set of tools in the market aimed at the DevOps movement, or the emergence of application developers and coders who don’t rely on the IT department to provision resources. Instead, many of them turn to the cloud, and tools like ComodIT.

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ComodIT software works by launching agents that run inside virtual machines. This is a key to the functionality of the platform, because it allows the software to not only control the VM, but the underlying resources as well. Infrastructure can be deployed, apps can be installed and users can be managed all through the software, which is delivered either as a web-based cloud service or hosted on a customer’s own infrastructure.

ComodIT

ComodIT's software has agents that sit inside virtual machines, which enable a range of functionality for apps on your own premises or in the cloud, including the company's newest feature, a one-click direct installer.

The system is designed for a couple of prime use cases, one being test and development. Developers who want to more easily manage cloud-based resources and provision their apps to deploy to a cloud can use ComodIT to automate this process. Enterprise IT shops may also use ComodIT to deploy applications to the cloud. With agents sitting on both the customer’s premises, and in the cloud – such as Amazon Web Services or Rackspace – the ComodIT platform can provision resources and applications between the two, while also monitoring the state of the applications and providing warnings for administrators of troubleshoots.

The Direct Installer is the latest feature from ComodIT. Earlier this year the Belgian company launched an application marketplace for services that are optimized to run on the ComodIT platform. Today, developers can take a two-line HTML code and place it in their application, and a Direct Installer link appears in the app. Then, users of the platform – which is free to sign up for and allows up to five hosts to be managed before a monthly pay-as-you-go cost is put in place – can click on the Direct Install link and download the app in a single click. The app will run for 100 minutes for free, and then the virtual machine hosting the app will expire. ComodIT uses Amazon Web Service’s free usage tier for Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to host the application.

“One of the main challenges for application providers is to offer a simple way for visitors to try, evaluate and then deploy their applications. The complexity and time needed to install enterprise software discourages visitors from trying out the application and being converted into active users,” Eschenauer says. “By reducing friction within this funnel, the application provider can increase its conversation rate and ultimately its revenues.”

Network World senior writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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