Living off the grid OS

3Tera extends AppLogic to bring automated appliance-style functionality to app management

If you read Greg Nawrocki's Grid Meter, you're likely already in the loop about 3Tera, the hard-to-pin-down software company that doesn't develop business applications, doesn't create games, and is not making another OS.

Well, maybe scratch that last one off the list, because although 3Tera is not working on a new version of Linux or any other OS, its flagship creation, AppLogic, is technically an operating system -- a grid OS, to be accurate.

To grasp what a grid OS does, you have to think beyond the solitary machine -- the natural habitat for a conventional OS -- and instead consider the datacenter as your playing field. Once you do, it should kick in: A grid OS creates an abstraction level that isolates applications from supporting platforms and resources.

Visualize virtualization that goes beyond the usual hardware associated with the term -- servers and storage, for example -- to encompass the whole set of resources in a computing environment, including firewalls, databases, memory, and CPUs, for example.

The benefits of a grid OS are considerable, allowing you to allocate more computing power to an application in a heartbeat and with seamless effort, for example.

If what I am saying sounds like a foreign language, check out this AppLogic demo to get a more concrete idea of how the grid OS operates and what it can do.

Creating an application environment by dragging and dropping components on a canvas may seem futuristic, but the people at 3Tera are so confident in the robustness of AppLogic that they are offering 90 days of applications or infrastructure hosting for free to companies that lost their computing infrastructure to the recent fires in Southern California.

Publicity stunt? Perhaps, but the offer is real, and if your company was unfortunate enough to have lost computing resources in the fire, then this offer might present not only much-needed relief but also a valuable opportunity to touch on impressive new technology.

But 3Tera isn't content to stop innovating. In fact, the company this week announced Dynamic Appliances, which are essentially management tools for applications running on the AppLogic infrastructure, adding functionality such as backup and restore, to name just two.

If the demo of backup process creation I saw last week is any indication, I'm a bit jealous of future computer operations managers, who will have it all too easy.

In fact, the 3Tera backup appliance (again, that's a software process running on AppLogic) copied not only the data but also the entire application environment to a remote location, meaning that a restore would retrieve more than just data -- it would provide a perfectly operational application environment, compatible with any AppLogic grid. Can disaster recovery get any easier?

The project, which will include other appliances as well, is in alpha and is open to suggestions from customers and prospects.

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Mario Apicella

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