VMware's Executive Blog
Thu, 30 Mar 2006
Virtual Appliances: Changing the Landscape for Software Deployability and Efficiency
Posted by Dan Chu
This past week I heard about a software vendor that attributed 40% of their support costs to be essentially operating system support.
In a recent survey by Information Week, the #1, #3, and #5 issues slowing down deployment of Linux applications are:
#1: complexity of deployment, technical expertise needed
Over 40% of the x86 server market worldwide (> 2.5 million new servers per year) is IT infrastructure.
What do these have in common? They are all compelling drivers for the rapidly growing industry-wide momentum of virtual appliances.
What is a virtual appliance?
A virtual appliance is:
With virtual appliances, users can:
Dan Kusnetzky, executive vice president, Marketing Strategy for Open-Xchange and former vice president and analyst at IDC, says, "Customers deploying open source software in a virtual machine can reduce their software and hardware costs, and simultaneously enhance their agility in addressing future computing needs."
The Evolution of Virtual Appliances
Before last year, all virtual appliances were ones created by customers, who would use them to reduce deployment time and improve the manageability and utilization of their environments.
In 2005, major global software vendors like IBM Software, Oracle, BEA, MySQL, Red Hat, and Novell started deploying their software in virtual appliances. This allowed them to distribute their new technologies more easily so that users could try them out and develop and test with them.
In recent months, the momentum of virtual appliances has shifted to the broader developer and open source communities. Today, over sixty software vendors and open source projects publicly and freely distribute their software in virtual appliances. They can dramatically streamline the process to deploy and adopt their software, and they can instantly make their software available to the worldwide base of 4 million+ VMware users and 20,000+ VMware enterprise server customers.
Many of these virtual appliances can be found at VMTN's Virtual Appliances.
In recent weeks, I've seen a groundswell of virtual appliances from all sectors and solution areas. Some of my favorites:
Enabling technologies: VMware Player and VMware Server
One huge factor in the landslide of momentum behind virtual appliances is the introduction of VMware Player and VMware Server, hugely popular free virtualization products for desktops and servers. Users can now freely leverage VMware's proven virtualization technology supporting 32- and 64-bit virtual machine environments, all major x86 operating systems (including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and NetWare), and optimized for ease of installation and usage.
VMware Player became generally available in December, and had well over 500,000 downloads within a month of GA. VMware Server became available as a beta in February, and has had several hundred thousand downloads already as well! These have helped create a broad interest and appetite for virtual appliances, which the open source community and software vendors across the industry have flocked to fulfill.
Alessandro Perilli talks about this at virtualization.info.
The Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge
Are we satisfied with the current breakneck momentum and adoption of virtual appliances?
No, not by a longshot. We're looking to dramatically increase the amount of new and differentiated technology available as virtual appliances, and the most exciting thing we're doing is the Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge.
We are offering $200,000 (no, your eyes aren't failing you!) in prize money to the creators of the best virtual appliances.
This is like American Idol or the World Series of Poker, but for developers!
The challenge goes for another eight weeks, so get your version of Workstation (we'll give you a free temporary license when you enter if you need one) cranking and join the fun and craziness!
What better way to get your smartest friends together, build something you will get huge bragging rights for, and bank up to $100,000 for your trouble?
Here are some thought-provoking ideas to whet your competitive appetite.
That's all I've got. Send me your coolest ideas for what virtual appliances we should be encouraging folks to build, or your thoughts on what else VMware can be doing to encourage innovation, help developers everywhere, and get virtualization to every last machine on the planet!
-- Dan Chu
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