Monday, August 27, 2007

Symantec Virtual Appliance Stymied by Windows Licensing

Last week Symantec declared that it would delay delivery of its security virtual appliance due to Windows CE licensing restrictions. As part of the announcement, product manager Gary Sabala indicated a desire to “move to more open source components” in order to “ease our ability to work around some of the licensing issues.” Not surprising.

Microsoft has no reason to endorse virtual appliances as an application delivery format because they eliminate the general purpose operating system's value proposition. Also not surprising that Symantec has reached the conclusion that they need more control over the components of a solution that ships as a virtual appliance. Having your product shipments subject to the licensing whims of an erstwhile “partner” is not a good idea.

I could drone on and on (as I typically do) regarding the deficiencies of the general purpose operating system as a platform for virtual appliances, but today I will point you to some of the hits from the past that hammer home this point:

Your Application is Your Avatar – why settle for the limitations imposed on your application by the requirement to connect to a physical server?

Microsoft Attempts Software Appliances – the key word is “attempts,” as the Microsoft packaging approach for the operating system is woefully inadequate due to its general purpose operating system legacy.

Yrtsudni Erawtfos – Putting the operating system first among customer application considerations is the business equivalent of spelling “software industry” backwards.

Microsoft Seeks Pepto-Bismol Patent – Although not yet delivering applications as virtual appliances, they are nonetheless seeking intellectual property that paves the path to the future.

Now it's time to place those sales calls to Intel and Symantec. I think they might be in the market for a real virtual appliance platform. . .

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