JumpBox is a virtual appliance platform that simplifies the deployment of server software on local machines. By utilizing virtual machines and cleverly packaging an operating system, web server, database, application, and any necessary additional libraries or components into a single appliance, JumpBox has made the process of deploying server software exceptionally simple. Instead of spending hours setting up complex programs like Trac, JumpBox deployment slims the process down to a couple of minutes.
JumpBox currently offers virtual appliances for Joomla, Drupal, SugarCRM, vTiger CRM, MediaWiki, TWiki, DokuWiki, PunBB, Trac/Subversion and Wordpress. A number of new appliances are planned for beta testing in the next few weeks, including TikiWiki and Bugzilla.
JumpBox, which launched on July 19 of this year, has attracted over 200 customers that pay for premium services, like technical support, and value added features such as a built in backup and restore mechanism. They currently support virtualization software from XEN, VMWare, and Parallels. Tomorrow they will be announcing a partnership with Microsoft to make JumpBox appliances compatible with Microsoft's Virtual PC and Virtual Server software. Next week, they plan to announce a partnership with Virtual Iron.
"Effective creation and deployment of pre-built applications and resources running in a Microsoft Virtual Server virtual machine are essential to our customers, so we're pleased that JumpBox is bringing new applications to Microsoft's virtualization platform," said Tony Bailey, senior product manager, Windows Server division at Microsoft of the partnership.
But why would anyone want to deploy any of those server software programs on their local server in the first place? JumpBox is targeting two core groups of users: those looking to quickly deploy complex software to test it out in a secure environment, and people who don't want to jump through hoops to get their IT department to install something for them. JumpBox makes it easier for non-technical users to install server software on their local network. That software can then be shared over the network with their organization or used locally.
Initially, the company thought that software like Trac and wikis that make sense in a closed, local environment would be the most popular. That has played out as expected, but JumpBox co-founder Kimbro Staken told me that, rather surprisingly, Wordpress is their third most popular appliance.
The real power of JumpBox is that people without a lot of expertise in deploying server software can get complex applications running in minutes on any platform (and can even transport them between operating systems, or drop them onto a public server -- the JumpBox company web site is actually running off a JumpBox appliance). For evaluation purposes, this is great because it means that you can quickly deploy and test software, and if it doesn't suit your needs, you can throw it away without any time or money lost.
You can see a video introducing JumpBox here.