UltraServe takes library software to the cloud

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UltraServe takes library software to the cloud

Deal with Softlink offers complete systems in five minutes.

Brisbane-based software developer Softlink has signed a deal with hosting company UltraServe to enable its customers to launch an entire new server-based iteration of its software in five minutes.

Softlink, one of Australia's biggest international software success stories, develops software for libraries, with 10,000 customers in 108 countries using its solutions.

If you have ever searched for a book by author or paid a late fee at your local library, that search or transaction would most likely to have been powered by Softlink's wares.

Typically, Softlink's customers either deployed the library catalogue software on an internal server or via a thin/client or web hosted model, which has been on offer since 2003.

Softlink's director of professional services John Crook said there is a "declining number" of libraries that still "like the idea of running their own servers" and deploying the software in-house.

"For some of these customers, the bottleneck was getting the hardware," he said. "They would [ask] us what server the software needs and then go through a lengthy provisioning process. It's not quite an RFT [request for tender], but it can literally be months before they have a server of the correct specifications."

Softlink's web hosting partners, by contrast, tend to offer "a new server provisioned within a couple of days", but from there the library would still need to port the Softlink software and the library's existing data across to the hosted hardware.

Crook saw an opportunity to speed up the process further via the use of virtualisation technology.

"I was keen and excited to see where cloud computing is going," he said.

Crook was referred by his virtualisation vendor to hosting company UltraServe, whose Rejila cloud computing environment caught much of the Australian market by surprise when it launched in May.

Rejila offers a web interface for customers to remotely spin up virtual servers housed within the UltaServe data centre to custom specifications.

Crook said UltraServe had developed a cloud-based image of Softlink's software within days, which can now be replicated such that a customer can "have a Softlink server up and running in five minutes."

Crook said Softlink can now offer its customers the choice of hosting the software on their own servers, over the web from a standard dedicated hosting provider or provisioned by UltraServe's Rejila cloud compute model.

He said the cloud computing alternative "is about taking away the customer's pain. It creates a one-stop-shop - you don't need any IT guys or to train them up in configuring the software."

The software developer is also using the Rejila service for its own internal purposes.

"When we want to do a sales demo with a customer, the beautiful thing is that you can press a button and have a service deployed in minutes. You can play with it and move all the data around and shut it down again when you're done. Now that's cost you only 40 cents. And when you need to do a new sales demo, you have a clean system ready to go."

The cloud service is also being used for training customers how to use Softlink's products, he said.

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