OpenSource World got started today, and Oracle was one of the first companies to use the revamped event as a platform to announce some interesting news: a bigger push into software appliances with the launch of their new Oracle VM Template Builder.
The Template Builder is just what it sounds like: a tool that enables users to build template images for the Oracle VM server. It's a graphical utility that utilizes Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) Just Enough OS (JeOS) scripting to let users configure the optimal virtual software appliance for any application that runs on OEL.
Oracle's moves in the virtual appliance world should come as no big surprise. Novell's SUSE Appliance Program announced last month was just the first move among what is sure to be a drive towards more software appliance services. Nor is Oracle any stranger to the virtual market--their Oracle VM and other virtual products have been around for some time.
What makes this announcement a bit different is the way in which Oracle is approaching virtualization. Until recently, Oracle's virtualization strategy seemed mainly focused on server consolidation and energy savings benefits. Now, it seems, the strategy has been widened to include other benefits of virtual software.
This was the main point I got when I spoke with Monica Kumar, Sr. Director of Open Source Product Marketing at Oracle. She strongly emphasized these expanded benefits in our conversation, which expands the scope of Oracle's virtualization plans.
"It's not just about server consolidation," Kumar said. "Now end users can deploy and provision their software faster and more efficiently."
This additional strategy makes sense, given that the real target customer for this announcement is independent software vendors (ISVs). By pushing the lower development and deployment costs of using the Template Builder to build an end-to-end virtual software stack, Oracle wants to get in front of the ISV marketplace.
To that end, Kumar also emphasized that Oracle offers total support for Oracle and non-Oracle applications deployed on Oracle VM--meaning anyone who deploys a software appliance would not only beneift from the tool, but also get Oracle's support infrastructure too.
Oracle's chipping in some software appliance templates of its own too, including Oracle‚Äôs Siebel CRM, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Middleware, and others.
And Oracle's committment to their virtual product line was also enhanced by another announcement, the extension of the Oracle Validated Configurations (VC) program to include Oracle VM server virtualization software. That's the program that "offers pre-tested, validated architectures, with documented best practices for software, hardware, storage, and network components, to help improve the performance, scalability, and reliability of solutions, with faster, lower-cost implementations," according to the press release.
The inclusion of Oracle VM products in the VC program means that virtual end-users will get the same support and implementation benefits as those users deploying software stacks on physical hardware. This equalization brings some strong choices to potential Oracle customers, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses.