The latest version of UForge (v 3.3.2) is due out in a couple of weeks. As well as the standard bug fixes this release has a bumper pack of new features. Here is a sneak preview of some of the main ones.
Collaboration & Sharing
One of UShareSoft's goals has always been to bring a social aspect to UForge. This really comes into play with this release. Think of it as a mini Facebook with a twist: you can share your server templates with a restricted set of users. Now you'll be able to create a "workspace", invite your colleagues to the workspace and then share your private server templates. Depending upon the role you give to each workspace member, they can also invite other users, share their templates, add comments to the "activity stream", as well as import a shared template to their private library to extend and generate images.
Overlay File Management
This is an extension to the way you manage your own software components. With UForge, you've always been able to upload and manage your own software components and then add these components to your server templates. There were certain restrictions though. For example, if you uploaded a tar ball, you would have to write an extra bootscript to untar at boot time, or if you wished to replace a file on the disk, you would have to use a boot script to overwrite it with your uploaded file. Overlay management makes some pretty big improvements here: you can decide where each file is to be placed on the disk during the generation phase (allowing files to be overwritten - or "overlaid"); ask UForge to unzip archives as part of the generation; and ask UForge not to install native OS packages. We're planning to improve this feature by allowing you to set file and owner permissions in a future release.
Addition of CentOS 5.9 & 6.4
We've always followed the release cycles of the operating systems supported by UForge, making sure we support the latest versions. Azure fans will be happy to know that CentOS 5.9 and 6.4 now comes with the much awaited Hyper-V drivers. From UShareSoft's point of view, this makes it even easier for our customers to build performant Linux images (as well as Windows) for Hyper-V and the Azure platform.
Multi-Disk & Kernel Parameters Support
We've put a lot of effort into improving the "Install Profile" layer when modeling server templates with UForge. Firstly, support for multiple disks. Prior to 3.3.2, when you created advanced partitioning tables, you could specify multiple partitions and logical partitions (LVM), but it was not possible to create multiple physical disks. With UForge 3.3.2 this is now possible. Remember that some cloud environments still don't support advanced partitioning - but don't worry UForge gives you plenty of warning prior to generating to a specific environment which doesn't support advanced partitioning.
Secondly, we've added Kernel Parameters. By default, UForge adds kernel parameters during the generation - this list varies depending upon the operating system and the target environment you are building to. This new feature provides extra flexibility letting you add specific kernel parameters to the server template that will be used as part of the generation - how cool is that!
A new non-Flex based version of UShareSoft's marketplace portal is now available. We've made the move to a 100% HTML version due largely to overwhelming feedback from customers that they no longer wish to run Flash-based UI's. Now customers can create their own re-branded marketplaces without having to use Flash.
Migration Didn't Make It
One feature that didn't make into - but will be included in an upgrade of UForge 3.3.2, is the Beta version of the "Migration" service. This new service is the 3rd leg of UForge allowing you to deep scan a live system (whether the system is virtual, cloud or physical) and import this scan as a model (i.e. server template) into UForge. This will be a game-changer in the way customers create server templates in UForge. Live systems are simply teleported into UForge and transformed into a model, allowing you to re-generate images to any other target platform (traditional migration) as well as having access to the model of the live system - i.e. all the package information, licensing etc. This allows you to retrieve information on a live system for auditing purposes, or lets you tweak and change the model (updates) prior to migrating the system.