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Summary:

Startup JumpBox has managed to stuff an entire software program — and a virtual computer to run that program — into a single file for easy downloading and installation. And today the company has launched a subscription program called JumpBox Open, which gives access to a […]

Startup JumpBox has managed to stuff an entire software program — and a virtual computer to run that program — into a single file for easy downloading and installation. And today the company has launched a subscription program called JumpBox Open, which gives access to a variety of its pre-installed program packages for about $200 a year. So far, the company has about 20 open-source JumpBoxes, including Trac and Drupal.

Any server or computer running virtualization software can operate a JumpBox, and it takes away the time associated with loading and configuring the machine to run the programs locally. Co-founder and COO Sean Tierney says the next step will be packaging any type of software (not just open source) in this manner. He expects to have 75 titles available by the end of the year.

The delivery method seems to have more in common with offering software on an appliance than any type of hosted model, which might make it attractive for businesses that want to run software that’s not currently available via host, or that want to keep their software in-house. The service is really just packaging and updating existing software; there’s no hosting infrastructure to take into consideration. It reminds me of paying extra for convenience foods such as pre-cut veggies in the grocery store. I would guess the margins are similar for JumpBox. Nice.

By Stacey Higginbotham

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  1. Another convenient model that hasn’t received a lot of press for software development tools such as Trac and Subversion is application hosting. Companies such as my company, ProjectLocker, have been doing this for several years, and adding value through proprietary configuration tools. With a virtual machine, you stil lhave to incur system administration and backup costs, which either raises your cost of ownership or takes time away from what your team is focused on — writing great software.

    For companies that need to run all applications in-house, solutions like JumpBox are great, but for companies that are comfortable running software outside of their office in secured data centers and accessing it over secured channels, solutions like ProjectLocker have no installation or upgrade time or cost and are easier to configure and administer.

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