Andy Wilkinson has been developing middleware for over 10 years and is lead engineer on vFabric Administration Server (VAS).  Today, he posted an article introducing VAS here, and the article is outlined below:

As developers and architects, particularly in the world of open-source and cloud computing, we often find ourselves on the bleeding edge.  We need to test open source components, make time-critical manual updates then automate the process, support multiple platforms and more. Unless environments are entirely simplistic, we face situations where deployments become inconsistent.  Then, there is the need to scale different components and tiers.  Being a sysadmin can always be easier.

Given the vFabric Suite’s support for Spring and related middleware components in Java architectures, the first release of vFabric Administration Server (VAS) makes a sysadmin’s life easier by automating the administration of GemFire, RabbitMQ, and tc Server.  For example, starting, stopping, managing configuration files, and deploying web apps to tc Server are done in one, central location and applied consistently.

VAS takes the approach of taking one or more system nodes in a group and looking at them as a single system image.  When nodes are in a group, every operation performed on the group is applied to every node in the group.  In one scenario, you might want to place a tc Server instance on four different nodes.  VAS ensures each step is performed on each node consistently from the install and creation of the instance to deployment.  The server uses a common user interface or API for all the nodes.

Scaling GemFire, RabbitMQ, or tc Server is much simpler when using nodes and groups within VAS.  When a node is added or removed from a group, VAS brings the new node up to the same state as other nodes or automatically cleans up removed nodes.  With VAS, a common REST API is provided across RabbitMQ, GemFire, and tc Server.  Where possible, components share the API.  Otherwise, component-specific APIs are provided.  Since the API is RESTful, any language that uses HTTP and JSON can use it.

For more detail and links to documentation, samples, and language-specific bindings visit the full article on the vFabric blog.