DIY: Deploy open source software via BitNami Stacks

BitNami Stacks is a simple and cost-effective way for small business admins to get servers, services, and environments up and running.

BitNami is dedicated to making the deployment of web applications more accessible for anyone in need of such a tool. The company's BitNami Stacks are complete, individual stacks that can be installed or run so that administrators can have various servers or services up and running with little to no hassle.

BitNami Stacks can be easily deployed via one of the following methods:

  • Native Installers include everything you need to install that particular stack. Run the installer, and it will install everything to get you up and running quickly.
  • Virtual Machines come with everything you need to run a full-blown OS, which includes the pre-packaged stack. These tools can be run with VMware Player or VirtualBox.
  • Cloud Templates include everything you need to run the stack. Cloud Templates can (currently) be used with Amazon EC2 and RightScale.

Let's take a closer look at each method and examine the benefits of each deployment method.

  • The Native Installers install the stack on your machine; this will require a supported OS for the stack you need (many stacks offer installation binaries for Windows, Linux, and Mac). The installers come in two types: stand-alone stacks and modules. If you only want to install and run a single BitNami Stack, download the stand-alone; if you might want to use more than one of the stacks, go the modular route. Why? Because each stand-alone stack installs everything necessary for that application to run. So if you want to install a WordPress stack and a Mantis stack, and you try to install both from stand-alone stacks, you will be installing two complete instances of a LAMP server. You should install the modules you need to run the different stacks you want.
  • Virtual Machines have an obvious advantage over Native Installers -- you can fire up VMware Player or VirtualBox and have a full OS running the stack in no time. Also, these virtualized stacks work incredibly well. Other benefits include: The VMs are portable; multiple stacks can be up and running on a single server; and VMs can easily be tested on your network without having to use hardware. The drawback to VMs is that you need to have the hardware capable of virtualizing the servers. You will need plenty of RAM, disk space, and plenty of CPU so your host OS doesn't get bogged down when the VMs are running.
  • The biggest advantage to Cloud Templates is that you have the horsepower and the reliability of the Amazon EC2 cloud behind you.

BitNami Stacks options

After you choose your deployment route, visit the BitNami Stacks page and then click the BitNami Stack you want to use. The stacks offered include Sugar CRM, Redmine, Alfresco, JasperServer, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, OSQA, Coppermine, DokuWiki, Moodle, eZ Publish, Gallery, Mantis, MediaWiki, ocPortal, phpBB, Spree, Magento, Tracks, Typo, KTDMS, Trac, Radiant, Roller, Liferay, Subversion, Enano CMS, Piwik, PostgreSQLJBoss, LAMP, MAMP, Ruby, Tomcat, WAMP, and more. You can vote for which stack BitNami will include next.

DIY bottom line

If you're looking for a cost-effective way to get various servers, services, and environments up and running, you will not find an easier method than BitNami Stacks. Small businesses or business with small budgets should take advantage of this incredible service. In future posts, I will cover how to deploy some of these Stacks.

If you use BitNami Stacks, please let us know how you're taking advantage of these tools.