Isn't configuration management too application-specific to use a third-party solution?

Xoom belongs to a class of applications that offer general purpose solutions to commonly encountered problem domains within IT.

Historically, there have been many examples of problem domains that were once regarded as intimately bound to the implementation of each specific application, but gradually came to be recognised as more universally solvable, and consequently in need of a general purpose solution.

Database management systems provide probably the best known example. In early days of business applications, databases were purpose-built from scratch for each application using various ad hoc approaches, from flat file storage to third-party libraries implementing various aspects of database management. These days, databases are virtually always built and managed using dedicated database management systems such as MySQL, Oracle or MS SQL. While the data and its structure are intimately related to the application that uses the database, many other aspects are not: the way that data is stored in tables and files, partitioned over different sites, queried, and written using transactions that maintain consistency across multiple tables and views. These are all implemented by database management systems in a general purpose way.

Another example is revision control. Source code remains intimate to a particular software product, but general purpose revision control systems, such as Git or Subversion, allow developers to work on the same code simultaneously, branch the development in different directions to test new ideas, and to track and revert changes when needed. While home grown solutions were common early in the history of computing, today virtually everybody uses an off-the-shelf solution.

Xoom provides another example of the same phenomenon, albeit one somewhat less established at this point. While configuration authoring remains a problem specific to each application, one that requires a bespoke solution, configuration management presents problems common to many applications. These problems are technically challenging and require a high degree of specialization, and are therefore not only difficult but also expensive to solve in full by each application vendor separately. Hence, like in the examples above, configuration management as a problem domain benefits greatly from a general purpose solution, and Xoom is such a solution.