Why Should ISVs Care About Virtual Appliances? A Personal Testimonial

Several years ago, I tried to install SAP NetWeaver. It took me more than a day, and N installations plus N-1 removals before I finally got it right. I searched with several search engines and read many forum postings on SDN. Hinted by one post, I renamed the 13 character machine name to 9 characters, then the magic happened all of sudden.

The result wasn’t too bad but one day of time wasted. Many things could be improved to avoid the pain there. The foremost is the installer – why didn’t it check the hostname and alert me of the limitation?

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At that time, I didn’t know VMware. After joining VMware, I knew more about virtualization and realized that a virtual appliance (VA) could have been a big time saver for me had the NetWeaver been packaged as a VA.

The pain as such can easily push potential customers away. It would be a different story if you have somewhat dominance in the market like SAP in enterprise ERP – you can charge big bucks for consulting and training services. Most other ISVs are not in such a position. Even for SAP, it faces strong competitions from others like Oracle.

As a side note, SAP has a virtualized NetWeaver evaluation edition. More info can be found about the SAP-VMware partnership.

In general, ISVs can leverage virtual appliances in two different ways:

1. Package product as virtual appliances

You can ship your software product/solution as VAs, and simplify the delivery/deployment process. Some applications may actually run better in the virtualized environment. This blog, for example, talks about Exchange server 16,000 mailboxes on a server.

Interested in finding out other product VAs? Check out the VMware VA marketplace . The chances are you will most likely find some VAs from your competitors.

When you are ready to package your software as VAs? Here are resources for you to get started . When you are done, you want to list it with the marketplace so that others can find you.

2. Reduce development effort using application infrastructure VAs.

You can get the out-of-box environment for your own development, testing, just to save time. Check out the catalog directory  from the marketplace. If not there yet, demand one from your vendors.

The following is the tag cloud of VMware VA marketplace. You can see what’s hot there.

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  • […] read with great interest this blog entry from DoubleCloud entitled, “Why Should ISVs Care About Virtual Appliances, A Personal Testimonial.” The author points out two main ways in which ISVs can leverage virtual […]

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    My company has created products like vSearch ("Super vCenter"), vijavaNG APIs, EAM APIs, ICE tool. We also help clients with virtualization and cloud computing on customized development, training. Should you, or someone you know, need these products and services, please feel free to contact me: steve __AT__ doublecloud.org.

    Me: Steve Jin, VMware vExpert who authored the VMware VI and vSphere SDK by Prentice Hall, and created the de factor open source vSphere Java API while working at VMware engineering. Companies like Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP, Dell, VMware, are among the users of the API and other tools I developed for their products, internal IT orchestration, and test automation.