FastScale Technology reckons it has come up with a new way to combat server sprawl and reduce demands on hardware by up to 99 percent.

According to the company, FastScale Composer - virtualisation and provisioning software for data centres and server farms - is a new approach to building, managing and deploying server software.

FastScale claimed that Composer could automatically streamline software use by 99 percent and perform bare metal provisioning in seconds. It offers single-point administration, diskless node support, traceability/scalability and up to 95 percent server utilisation, said the company.

Company CEO Lynn LeBlanc said the problem of server sprawl was exacerbated by bloated software, especially operating systems. As a result, FastScale's product rolls up an application and only those pieces of the OS necessary for each particular application, including device drivers and the like, and dynamically executes them on either bare metal or a hypervisor platform such as VMware's ESX Server.

"We're building the environment around the application," said LeBlanc. "We manage the elements relating to hardware in a centralised way so we can pool device drivers etc into our application bundle. This enables us to package the application for a particular hardware set."

"This approach makes the application-OS bundle 99 percent smaller," said LeBlanc. "We've run hundreds of applications through our system and all come in at under 1 percent of the original size. Most of the bloat is device drivers not used - and there's room for optimising."

According to LeBlanc, the system is dynamic in that an application's calls to the OS and hardware are profiled, and the bundling process then occurs. The OS and associated software live in a separate repository on a central server.

What that means, said LeBlanc, is that an application can be provisioned in less than a minute and, because its hardware demands are so much smaller than a standard application-OS bundle, more applications can be run as virtual machines on a single server. This cuts the need for physical machines, said LeBlanc.

According to LeBlanc, "a DAB [dynamic application bundle] is not a fixed package and the sysadmin can decide which elements and patches to pull into the package to be more predictable. We have the flexibility."

"Customers can be up and running in about two hours from tearing the shrink-wrap off the box," she said.

LeBlanc said that the approach FastScale has taken is unorthodox as a result of the unusual mix of talent driving the company, including CTO Stevan Vlaovic, ex-Sun and Intel microprocessor designer.

The company, which started in 2006 and leaves stealth mode today, said it already has a number of customer references, with many reporting up to 85 percent savings in hardware, software and system administration.

FastScale Composer, the company's first product, is available from 16 April.