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Save Your Energy—and the Power Company’s, Too!

Give Your Workloads an Identity

Written by Richard Whitehead

We live in a hectic world. It seems like there’s never a spare moment to...uh...spare. There are always projects to manage; meetings to attend; errands to run; and damsels, end users and CIOs in distress to save. It seems like my work as WorkloadIQ Man is never ending. But I digress. With so much asked of you these days, you want to focus your efforts where they can do the most good—and not waste your time or energy.

Speaking of wasting energy, I ran across an interesting statistic the other day that said 35 to 50 percent of electrical energy consumed for a conventional data center is for cooling. Those numbers simply astounded me. Up to half of the power that a data center uses is for air conditioning? Wow.

One surefire way to decrease the amount of cooling needed is to get rid of the hardware that needs cooling in the first place. Of course, I’m talking about virtualization. What? You thought I’d be writing an article on the benefits of weatherstripping? Don’t you know me by now?

SUSE Studio to the Rescue

Virtualizing server systems can certainly save utility power. When you use SUSE Studio to create software appliances that run on virtual machines (among other things), you can also save your own time and energy.

SUSE Studio is a Linux appliance construction kit. Novell hosts this service for free, making it possible to create customized software appliances via a Web browser in only minutes. Anything from a customized Linux distribution to a one-off software appliance for the data center or desktop.

To create an appliance, you can simply duplicate and modify an existing appliance, or start from scratch using sample templates. With only a few mouse clicks, you can combine your software with the openSUSE or SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system, and preconfigure the appliance for easy setup and use. SUSE Studio automatically resolves any software dependencies for you. You can also remotely boot your appliance on a Novell server and test it right in your browser.

Your resulting software appliance can then be saved as a VMware image, live CD, bootable USB drive, hard disk image or even a XEN virtual machine.

Software appliances are a major component of the WorkloadIQ approach. They allow customers and ISVs to quickly build self-contained workloads that run in physical, virtual and cloud environments. Since July 2009, more than 585,000 Linux-based software appliances have been built using SUSE Studio.

Kudos to Clever Contributors

Novell recently held a SUSE Studio award contest—the first annual “Disters”—which celebrates innovators of Linux-based software appliances. Two grand prizes of $10,000 were presented—one for the best commercial appliance and one for the best appliance in the open-source community.

Top honors went to:

  • Radical Breeze, a Washington state company, won the commercial category with Illumination Software Creation Station. The appliance is a complete, self-contained distribution that allows users to visually program their own software applications with no programming experience required and no need for setup.
  • Anderware, a software company from Sweden, received the community category grand prize for Hypergrid to Go. This appliance allows users to easily set up an extension to the OpenSim platform to create a multi-user 3D world similar to Second Life.

Honorable mentions included:

  • EasySpooler by ROC Software’s Paul Scripko is an advanced print spooler that streamlines printer administration. Easy to install, implement and use, EasySpooler enables better use of IT resources, including people and paper.
  • BrowserBox is an appliance assembled by Jacob Rask. It’s designed to help Web developers and quality assurance technicians perform cross-browser testing. It includes 22 versions of 13 different browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, Apple Safari, Android Browser and others.
  • freeSWITCHBOX by Gourav Shah is a tailor-made VoIP distro in a box. Get started with free telephone system within minutes. It includes the most up-to-date freeswitch build from the source code repository as well as the cutting-edge freePBX V3 GUI for configuration and administration.

Markus Rex, senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell, had this to say about the entries: “The quality of submissions in the Disters awards showcases how far software appliances have advanced in the marketplace. Companies are generating significant value from our SUSE Appliance Program, getting to market quickly and easily with fully supported software and virtual appliances. The financial prizes awarded to the winners through the contest should help them advance their appliance adoption that much further.”

You can view and download these innovative appliances and others on the SUSE Gallery, an online showcase where developers can publish their appliances and end users can download them at no cost.

Go Team Green!

Using SUSE Studio to build your own customized software appliances is a smart way to go. You’ll be able to more easily virtualize hardware, reducing energy consumption, keeping more e-waste out of landfills and banking some green—all while saving yourself substantial time and energy. Equally important, SUSE Studio is yet another WorkloadIQ solution that helps you move along the path to intelligent workload management and secure cloud computing.

—Richard

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