RightScale: Windows now 'usable' in cloud

RightScale has announced that its yearlong effort to offer Windows support is finished. But it was no easy task, execs noted.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

RightScale has announced that its yearlong effort to offer Windows support is finished. But it was no easy task, execs noted.

On Tuesday, the cloud management platform provider said that it supports Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 on par with Linux. The company's chief technical officer said Microsoft has a long way to go to make Windows more cloud friendly but the work Rightscale has done makes the performance of the operating platform close to that of Linux.

According to the company's press release issued yesterday, "users can now take advantage of RightScale to simplify the complexities of deploying and managing applications in the cloud using its ServerTemplate methodology and new Windows-specific features to meet common cloud computing needs such as dynamically configuring servers, managing software updates, implementing custom stacks, and operating across multiple clouds."

In his blog, RightScale CTO Thortsen von Eicken elaborated on the benefits now available to its enterprise customers who want to deploy Windows-based applications in the cloud.

"By “support” we mean much more than being able to launch a Windows instance on EC2, which has been possible for a long time," noted Thorsten von Eicken, RightScale CTO. "e now support Windows 2003 and 2008 on par with Linux. We provide RightImages that work well with RightScale out of the box, they can be managed in the dashboard, we support extensible monitoring, associated alerts and automation, and we support ServerTemplates with Windows and even provide a few sample templates."

Thortsen von Eicken also elaborated on the many technical challenges encountered during the project and urged Microsoft to work on making Windows more cloud friendly.

"It’s interesting how the security details of Windows ripple down into the whole boot process, making it take twice as long as it should. The net is that while Linux instance boot times on EC2 have come down from a typical 6-8 minutes back in 2006 to under a minute now when using EBS images the Windows boot times are starting out around 10-15 minutes. Hopefully Microsoft can be sensitized to the notion that fast boot times are an important asset in the cloud because they enable a lot of automation that is very painful if one has to wait so long for additional capacity or replacement servers to come online."

It wasn't easy -- but the end result was worth it, he said.

"I must say that overall I’m very happy with where we’re ending up, which is that we’re getting Windows to a point where it definitely is usable in cloud-style. What I mean by that is not just migrating a set of traditional servers into a equivalent set of servers in the cloud, but rather automating Windows servers for the cloud and leveraging the flexibility of the cloud to enable the business. The friction along the way certainly is higher than with Linux, whether it’s from license questions that crop up everywhere to the mechanics that currently require double-booting, but it is totally possible and Microsoft can, if it focuses on it, make it a lot better yet!"

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