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An Architecture for Creating and Managing Integrated Software Stacks

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Creating and managing complex, integrated system software stacks are some of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks facing data center managers. This article examines the challenges of these tasks and provides an architecture for software stack creation and management.
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Creating and managing complex, integrated system software stacks are some of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks facing data center managers. This Sun BluePrints™ OnLine article examines the challenges of these tasks and provides an architecture for software stack creation and management.

This article examines the challenges of software integration and presents the desired characteristics of an integrated software stack: scalability, reproducibility, business continuity planning (BCP), ease of understanding and maintenance, rapid deployment, and consistency. These characteristics provide the benefits of lower total cost of ownership (TCO), standardization, flexibility, reusability, minimization of upgrade risk, and modularity, which help data center managers satisfy reliability and availability requirements.

Additionally, this article presents techniques and best practices for capturing and encoding information necessary for the automated configuration of software stacks and the components of those stacks. These techniques include the use of technologies such as JumpStart™, Solaris™ Live Upgrade, and Sun™ Management Center (SunMC) Change Manager to created and managed software stacks.

This article contains the following sections:

  • "Challenges of Software Integration" on page 2

  • "Integrated Software Stacks" on page 2

  • "Terminology" on page 4

  • "Stacks and System Architectures" on page 5

  • "Requirements of Software Integration Architectures" on page 7

  • "Software Integration Architectures" on page 12

  • "Software Stack Management and Deployment Frameworks" on page 18

Challenges of Software Integration

The efficient utilization of data center resources is one of the most challenging requirements facing data center managers and personnel. This involves getting the maximum utilization from every existing resource while minimizing, or completely omitting, the acquisition of new resources.

To utilize existing resources efficiently, data center personnel often need to redeploy resources. Redeployment might be from a pool of resources that are currently unassigned to a task or project, or it might involve the redeployment of resources from an existing project to a new or higher priority project. Often, the data center personnel who are available to perform redeployments are stretched thin, working to deploy resources while performing the everyday maintenance tasks, troubleshooting, and problem resolution tasks involved in the day-to-day requirements of managing and operating a data center.

In the event that your budget allows you to acquire new resources, you will often have to install the new resources and make them available to a project as cost efficiently and as quickly as possible.

Using integrated software stacks is crucial to the rapid deployment of resources. Integrated stacks provide a mechanism to deploy a tested, validated, predefined amalgam of operating system, system software, and applications. Deploying an integrated stack helps enable the resources to be utilized as quickly as possible without the need to individually configure and validate each deployment.

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