Enterprise Replication and Customization of Pre-Installed Product Images
Original Publication Date: 2008-Oct-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Oct-09
ABSTRACT: A program is disclosed that provides a way to administrator complete working product images and their target machines, and then to easily and rapidly replicate (distribute) those images to many selected target machines. Also provided is a way to define machine specific customizations of those images.
Enterprise Replication and Customization of Pre -Installed Product Images
Today's software has grown and many software products are included in product bundles and/or depend on other software product prerequisites One of the biggest challenges facing customers is getting that entire product stack installed and configured correctly, and then repeating that for many machines throughout an enterprise. While many of the prerequisite and product installation/configuration issues can be documented, it is still difficult and very error-prone for customers to repeat it for many tens or hundreds or thousands of machines (each of which typically requires slight differences or customizations).
This disclosure is not unique to composite bundles of stacked products (although it is even more useful there), it also applies to the automated replication of pre-installed and pre-configured single product images since even a single product install and configuration is very time consuming and can be very error-prone when repeated many times on many machines. In this disclosure the product is sometimes described as being an "Application Server" as one typical example, but the disclosure applies to any products.
The disclosed "Enterprise Installation Management and Replication Server" (EIM&RS) provides the following functions:
Someone in the customer enterprise, often a specialist for the given product(s), installs and configures prerequisite software and the final product(s) onto an initial machine. The result is a pre-configured "Product Image" (which may be a "Virtual Machine" (VM) image, or a native hardware binary image). While such pre-installed and pre-configured images will typically be custom created by end-users, they may also be distributed by software product manufacturers (such as IBM) as "ready-to-run" native or VM images.
1) EIM&RS has an administration program to CAPTURE and ADD any pre-configured images (either VM images or native binary images) into its image repository (which may be a database, or may just be a directory of image files). The administration program also allows user administrators to BROWSE the repository and/or to DELETE images from the repository and/or to SELECT images for replication onto target machines. The administration program will provide an interactive (Graphical) User Interface and also provide a non-interactive (programmatic interface for fully automated (scripted) operations.
Although the pre-configured images could be a single complete image, they will typically be composed of multiple (many optional) sub-components. Thus the image administration manages groups of sub-components as a single composite image, while achieving store efficiency by only storing each compressed sub-component one time. This applies whether the sub-components are elements of the product (which may have individu...