IDC Predicts Software Appliances
In mid-December, IDC released its 2007 predictions for infrastructure software. The number 2 prediction on the list is:
"Software appliances will become a household word in 2007. The convergence of virtual machine technology and a new initiative by several tool vendors is giving birth to this new form of software packaging."
Just 12 months ago, the concept of a software appliance was a very nascent trend when Steven Hamm wrote an article in BusinessWeek describing the concept. VMware had just decided to give the player away for free, and they were offering 3 software appliances from their site as demos. The WikiPedia definition for Software Appliance was created in December of 2005.
Now, in January of 2007, IDC has predicted household familiarity is coming soon. VMware offers more than 350 virtual appliances from VMTN. rBuilder Online now has over 2400 software appliance projects, with over 1000 software appliances available as downloads. And Gartner has predicted that Windows Vista will be the last of the monolithic operating system releases because the software appliance approach will make the general purpose OS obsolete. What a difference a year makes.
Why should all the folks in the server application business care about this trend? Because software is too complex, the ratio of services to license sales (6:1) is ridiculous, and license sales have become stagnant due to the excessive cost of deploying and maintaining software solutions. Software appliances coupled with virtualization offers the possibility of market expansion and license sales growth through dramatic simplification of deployment and maintenance. Yes, SaaS is also a fine answer, but it requires a total architecture overhaul and operational expertise that most software companies do not possess. Software appliances are a better answer for most server application vendors.
Want more proof? Read Digium's latest press release about their software appliance, AsteriskNOW. Simplification, market expansion, a better solution for customers. We should all be experiencing the bliss that Digium feels at this moment.