Virtualization Startup Akimbi Automates Multi-Machine Configuration

Virtualization has gained a lot of mainstream industry traction recently, thanks in part to the success of companies such as VMWare, which nearly single-handedly revived interest in technologies that provide a logical rather than a physical view of computing resources. It's not surprising to see the big players, including Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, jumping on the virtualization bandwagon. Perhaps more interesting are the smaller vendors enabled by the emergence of reliable virtual machine technology who are refining the concept.

A case in point is Akimbi Systems, a startup launching this week the industry’s first complex configuration capture-and-restore (C3R) system: Akimbi Slingshot. The company's flagship product is designed to allow software developers and testers to capture live interdependent software systems and instantly store, restore and share them across the organization.

"Over the past 20 or so years, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way software is built and rolled out," says Akimbi CEO James Phillips, who co-founded the company with Wilson Huang. "The distribution of software has led to a gradually increasing number of systems with which any new software system must interconnect and interoperate. But when it comes to changing any one of those components, the number of permutations that must be considered from a test and development perspective has skyrocketed."

Akimbi Slingshot allows software developers and quality-assurance engineers to create, suspend, then capture to a shared library any number of complex, multi-machine configurations. When a configuration in the library is later needed for development or test purposes, Akimbi Slingshot deploys the entire configuration to the best available resources in a pool of shared servers. The machines are restored to exactly the state they were in when captured—running and ready for use—including operating system, software applications and data.

“Akimbi is laser-focused on addressing a set of key problems overwhelming software development teams in Global 2000 enterprises and packaged software development companies,” Phillips says. “Across the board, the strong demand for Akimbi Slingshot has exceeded our expectations and suggests that our solution is inspiring organizations of all sizes to rethink the way they develop and test software.”

Akimbi Slingshot is available in two editions: Akimbi Slingshot Personal Edition and Akimbi Slingshot Team Edition. Pricing starts at $4,995 for Akimbi Slingshot PE and $20,000 for Akimbi Slingshot TE. The product supports Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, Standard, and Enterprise Editions, as well as VMware's GSX Server. Companies looking for a complete out-of-the-box solution can opt for a version that is bundled with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.

A free evaluation copy is available at Akimbi.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].