Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BEA Delivers Software Appliance Platform

Last week in Beijing, BEA announced that it intends to deliver a platform for running software appliances atop VMware's virtualization technology. The software appliance approach eliminates the hassles of maintaining a general purpose operating system, and when coupled with virtualization, virtual appliances are delivered pre-configured and ready to run on the hypervisor.

For any application that is 100% pure Java, BEA's Liquid VM provides a great way for an application vendor or application developer to deliver an application from test straight to production without worrying about incompatibilities or conflicts with the operating system. The company claims a reduction in deployment time from 45 minutes to mere seconds. Performance is also supposed to be significantly higher.

It is likely that both of these claims are absolutely correct. Virtualization offers the possibility of streamlining the deployment and management of applications by eliminating the general purpose operating system. When coupled with the hardware acceleration in the latest chipsets from Intel and AMD, virtual appliances should also run faster than native applications because much of the baggage of the general purpose OS is eliminated. And given that there are fewer components and services loaded into memory, virtual appliances should also consume far fewer system resources.

BEA's announcement is one more proof point that higher server utilization was just the beginning of the benefits of server virtualization, and the best is yet to come.


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