Using virtualization and automation to improve your web development workflow



Large-scale web projects use sophisticated staged deployment systems, but the prospect of setting these up can be daunting. Using virtualization and automated configuration puts the benefits within easy reach even for small projects. David Brewer explains how Second Story uses Linux, VMware Server, and AutomateIt to grease the wheels of development on their museum-sector projects.


Most web developers are probably familiar with the concepts and motivations behind staged deployment. But the prospect of setting up such a system can raise daunting questions, especially for smaller shops that may work on many projects for many clients. How much extra hardware will be needed? How much will the required software cost? How much development time will it take?

In this session, I show how the combination of Linux, VMware Server, and AutomateIt can make a staged deployment environment easy and inexpensive to set up. This is a high level session meant to introduce concepts and tools; it will be light on code examples or live demonstration of software.

I review a handful of web development infrastructure approaches. For each configuration, I discuss the benefits and costs. Next, I introduce VMware Server and AutomateIt, and show how the introduction of virtualization and automated configuration can drastically reduce these costs.

Speaking experience