VMware launches subscription service

Gives developers access to pre-built virtual machines including apps from BEA, MySQL and Oracle

VMware Monday introduced a new developer network that includes cheaper access to its virtualization products, with the aim of making it easier for enterprise customers to deploy applications in virtual environments.

VMware, an EMC subsidiary, makes software that creates so-called virtual machines, isolated packages of operating systems, applications and data that enable single physical servers to run multiple workloads. The VMware Technology Network launched Monday gives developers access to pre-built virtual machines that include applications from companies such as BEA, MySQL and Oracle; a host of resources, including technical support, discussion forums and white papers; and access to all of VMware's products.

A yearly subscription to the network, available at www.vmtn.net, is US$299. The Web site went live Monday, but access to the pre-built virtual machines and VMware products won't be available until June 13.

Use of the VMware products, including ESX Server and VMware Workstation, are available strictly for developer use. But IT managers will see benefits in the data center at large, says Srinivas Krishnamurti, group product manager at VMware.

For example, developers spend 25 percent to 30 percent of their time configuring environments for development, according to Krishnamurti.

"We were able to work in conjunction with Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and SpikeSource to get their products preinstalled, preconfigured in virtual machines," he says. "So if I need an Oracle database instead of having to go get Oracle CDs and install it and configure it and all that good stuff, I just go to the VMTN Web site and copy down a virtual machine and that's ready to go."

That reduces the overhead associated with development and gets applications into production more quickly, Krishnamurti says.

In addition, by giving developers cheaper access to VMware products, IT environments already using VMware will be standardized from development through production.

"VMTN brings developers and IT personnel together and allows them to share the same configuration across the board," Krishnamurti says. "In a sense, each developer will have a mini replica of the data center on their desktop. So any application they're developing can actually be tested with the same configuration, in the same kind of environment in which the application is going to be deployed in the data center."

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