There were encouraging signs about Oracle’s attitude towards open source last week when the company unveiled its Oracle VM Template Builder.
What was encouraging about the announcement was first, the commitment to using open source technologies, and second using it in a way that allows IT shops and ISVs to address a couple of fundamental challenges and to do so inexpensively.
The VM Templates are essentially virtual machines that contain pre-installed and pre-configured enterprise-class software. IT shops can use them to create, package up and deploy applications significantly faster. The VM Template Builder takes advantage of the Oracle Enterprise Linux “Just enough OS” (JeOS)-based scripts.
Given IT shops growing interest in cloud computing and other SaaS strategies, being able to simply and quickly launch virtual applications figures to have a lot of appeal to Oracle shops.
“We are picking up a lot of interest from our users about cloud computing, with a particular interest in deploying private clouds. They are trying to figure out what it means for them,” said Monica Kumar, Oracle‘s senior director of Linux and open source product marketing. “Virtualization is one of the enabling technologies for cloud computing and a lot of other things. We are looking at virtualization from solutions perspective such as deploying a CRM stack virtually,” she said.
Besides the VM Template Builder Oracle also announced the VM template for its Siebel CRM product, which allows users to set up a complete Siebel environment quickly, as well as a test kit for testing a stack of applications before it gets deployed as part of the Oracle Validated Configurations Program.
The VM Template Builder, the test kit, and Siebel template are free, but users must have a license for Siebel CRM.
“If a user has a private cloud infrastructure, with these templates they can bring up applications and solutions much faster. And not just that, with the Template Builder they can build these templates themselves,” Kumar said.
Offering an example Kumar said if an IT shop had a financial application, it could use the VM Builder product to create a virtual machine image of the software that could then be downloaded by customers for deployment. Otherwise, customers would have to deploy applications themselves from scratch.
“The template has a GUI and the underlying technology is Linux and so together they basically give ISVs the ability to create a software-in-a-box environment,” Kumar said.
Kumar, of course, would not comment on how the new templates might work and play with Sun’s xVM Server hypervisor or Solaris virtual containers or even the technologies it has picked up from its acquisition of Virtual Iron.
Hopefully, it will apply most of these newly acquitted open source technologies as practically as it has its own VM templates.