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Virtual Sprawl Draws FastScale

More companies are employing virtualization software to run their tasks on fewer physical machines to reduce server sprawl.

While hardly a new trend, it's got some problems; companies that create too many virtual machines need a way to manage them to prevent virtual server sprawl.

Enter startup FastScale Technology. Launched today, FastScale makes software to manage virtual servers in datacenters and Web farms, ideally to curb the growing virtual machine sprawl conundrum.

FastScale Composer Suite, intended as a complement to server virtualization software from VMware, Microsoft, SWSoft, XenSource, Virtual Iron and others, automates the provisioning of virtual server software so IT administrators aren't stuck trying to rein in various operating systems, update packs, libraries and scripts.

While most datacenter automation software, including products from vendors such as Opsware or Cassatt, manage virtual server sprawl "symptoms," Composer virtualizes the whole software stack to provision physical or virtual servers in seconds, said FastScale CEO Lynn LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said that supporting applications typically accounts for 70 percent to 80 percent of IT budgets. Yet servers tap into only 5 percent to 10 percent of their usable potential.

"Whether you're using Opsware to provision or VMware to consolidate, our focus is to address the root cause of software complexity," LeBlanc told internetnews.com.

LeBlanc said FastScale Composer helps software systems shed extra weight with a footprint that is 99 percent smaller than traditional software stacks. Moreover, workloads reside on servers only for the duration of the job, and the server is available for automatic provisioning of a new software environment in less than a minute.

The Composer suite includes Application Blueprint, which includes a series of algorithms that lets developers determine the exact operating system components an application will call at runtime without any manual effort.

The Dynamic Application Bundle then builds a full-featured software environment with just the required software components -- no extraneous software bits to clutter the operating system.

The Lightweight Provisioning feature then provisions applications to bare metal servers in seconds. Moreover, the software stack runs in memory only for the duration of the job to render diskless configurations.

FastScale Composer is available today, starting at $30,000. The company, which has seven customers beta testing Composer and three more in early trials, launches on $6.5 million in first-round funding from ATA Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures and Hunt Ventures.