The industry has talked of the power of “virtual appliances” for some time but despite the promise of being able to just download, start-up and use software, virtual appliances have not been widely deployed in the enterprise, so why is that? First and foremost has been the lack of availability of anything other than toy appliances to use. If you look at VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace, you will see about 1,100 appliances. Spend some time clicking through there…go ahead …I’ll wait. What do you think? See anything you want to use in your production enterprise as-is? No? Me either.
How can this be? Why can you find a lot of things like this…
The virtualized Mepis desktop is the ideal supplement for Windows adepts. This cosmic location chose Mepis as the first distro to be VMware-packaged, because its pyramids have the right inclination and are pointing perfectly to Point Omega in the outer orbit. On top of that, you will find more info at the home of other coming virtual machines running under VMware.
…and very little enterprise-class production software like this?..
Oracle WebLogic Server 10g Release 3 Oracle VM Template (x86 32 bit and 64 bit):
Oracle WebLogic Server is a standards-based lightweight application infrastructure designed to scale to the largest mission-critical deployments requiring the highest performance, manageability, reliability, security, and availability. This template contains the following components:
-Oracle Enterprise Linux JeOS Operating System (Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 Update 2 JeOS 1.0.1)
-Oracle JRockit JRE (Oracle JRockit JDK 6.0 R27.6)
-Oracle WebLogic Server (Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.0.0)
-Read the Reference Instructions
-Download Oracle WebLogic Server 10gR3 Template
(By the way, I’m sure Mepis 8.0 is awesome and that they’ve done an excellent job at pyramid pointing so no offense intended: it just happened to be the first one on page 1 of VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace as I’m writing this...)
The failure (so far) of Virtual Appliances to generate big volumes has not been in the concept but rather in the ability to execute: there simply have been few companies or communities that have all the components, the expertise, and the legal right to package and distribute everything you need to use it in real-world production (and if you can’t use it in production without redoing it, what’s the point?).
For the production enterprise, you need an enterprise server operating system (not a workstation OS), that is supported by a real company (not just forums), and you need real enterprise applications (not “crippleware”) that are officially supported and licensed for production. Go ahead, go back and look at the Operating System Appliances category on VMware’s Marketplace: how many of these appliances contain server- (not workstation-) operating systems backed by a commercial company? What about the “Certified Production Ready*” appliances…surely that’s better, right? Er…well…some good software for sure, but again the included OS is almost always a workstation version and/or forum supported: not production-ready. (*Author’s Note: Couldn't link to that: Since I originally drafted this blog entry offline a few days ago, but before I got around to posting it, it looks like VMware got rid of the “Certified Production Ready” category and now just has the “VMware Ready Virtual Appliance Program” in its place as they describe here. I guess they didn’t like that “Production” word…)
None of this is about the quality of the individual pieces of software in the Marketplace – not at all – but it is about ability to execute on the total solution. At Oracle, we’re the first to effectively deliver on the promise of enterprise-class virtual appliances today with Oracle VM Templates and Enterprise Linux from Oracle. The reality is that it is the OS, rather than the virtualization layer per se that is the key to creating and delivering successful enterprise appliances. Oracle has the whole stack: enterprise virtualization, enterprise OS, and enterprise applications: All configured and licensed for production server use. And, by the way, its not just for Oracle’s software. Oracle VM server virtualization and Enterprise Linux are free and can be freely redistributed (even without a distribution contract) so that anyone, not just Oracle can build and distribute Oracle VM Templates with their own software included, enabling the community even if the Template doesn’t include Oracle software.
This is a core reason that Oracle is in the virtualization business: to deliver on products that make the total application solution easier to deploy, manage, and support.