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by Marc Savy
BoxGrinder is a set of tools that help you grind out appliances: preconfigured disk images with the operating system and requisite software ready to run on a selected virtualization platform. With a simple text definition file and a single command BoxGrinder will build a lean appliance from scratch, convert it to a target format, and deliver it to your chosen infrastructure. Virtualization has become almost ubiquitous in modern scalable infrastructures, with traditional dedicated hardware setups being replaced by multi-tenanted virtual environments. This change facilitates many of the beneficial properties of Cloud Computing, key amongst which is the ability to create small, function-specific appliances that enables system components to scale independently. BoxGrinder addresses the key problem of specifying and building such appliances. It manages complexities such as software installation, dependency resolution and remote service interactions on your behalf. Existing methods can an arduously convoluted, with poor repeatability and performance characteristics; wasting time and resulting in slow and bloated appliances. Such factors negate many of the motivating factors for embracing Cloud computing, and this is an obstacle that BoxGrinder is specifically designed to overcome. Coherent and simple to specify and run; yet fast to build and easily customised to any desired level of complexity. In this session we will cover the basic concepts of BoxGrinder, with discussion of techniques and use-cases that illustrate how best to utilise BoxGrinder's powerful feature-set. Finally, we will work through a live example, from text definition to a running virtual appliance.
31st October to 1st November 2011