The company's latest offering, rPath X6, expands its ambitions with powerful configuration management capabilities and a spruced-up user interface.
Since its start in 2005, rPath
has focused on bringing many of the details that define an enterprise software
stack under tight, reliable management through the same version control
facilities that developers use to keep their codebases in order.
The company's latest offering,
rPath X6, expands its ambitions with powerful configuration management
capabilities and a spruced-up user interface that's much improved compared with
the version I last tested in 2009. Also much improved since I last reviewed
this product is its range of supported deployment targets and the ease with
which I could link up to those targets.
In my tests of rPath X6, I had
no trouble assembling virtual appliances out of packages from the CentOS
network repositories alongside software packages that I uploaded myself.
Similarly easy was the process of building and deploying Amazon EC2 and VMware
However, I found the
configuration management processes more difficult to master, and the product
documentation for these tasks sparser than I'd have liked. The interface for X6
is a mostly point-and-click affair, but before you can point and click your way
through configuration tasks, you must first break out a text editor to create
and package configurator scripts to enable the GUI functions.
Also, I was confused by some of
the changes that rPath has introduced between this and the last version I
tested. For instance, in previous versions of the product, appliance management
could be carried out through a Web-based console application on the virtual
appliances, a management option that's limited to rPath's Linux flavor and
unavailable on the mainstream Linux platforms that X6 supports.
told, rPath is on the right track with X6, but the product would benefit
greatly from documentation and interface improvements around its configuration capabilities-both of which, according to
rPath, are in the works.
rPath X6 is licensed via annual
subscription based on the number of system instances under management. Pricing
starts at $50,000 per year. The company's free, hosted version of its product,
called rBuilder Online, has been discontinued.
As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. Jason's coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.