Designed to speed deployment and reduce errors in the software development lifecycle, the recently announced Oracle VM Template Builder is an open source, graphical utility intended to make it easy to use Oracle Enterprise Linux Just enough OS (JeOS)–based scripts for developing prepackaged virtual machines for Oracle VM. According to the company, Oracle VM Template Builder uses JeOS to facilitate building an operating system instance with only the minimum packages needed for an Oracle VM Template, helping to reduce the disk footprint on a virtual machine and improve security and reliability.
"Oracle VM Templates are virtual machines containing preinstalled and preconfigured enterprise software that can be used by ISVs or end users to develop, package and distribute their applications for faster deployment," said Monica Kumar, senior director, Linux and open source product marketing at Oracle Corp.
According to the company, Oracle VM Templates eliminate the need for users to separately install and configure an operating system or applications, reducing installation and configuration costs, while helping organizations benefit from server consolidation, energy savings, faster time to market and lower total cost of operations.
The templates can help QA and software testers with productivity and improved quality. For instance, said Kumar, the templates "provide testers with identical environments. For example, a development team creates a product that needs testing; the build process generates a virtual machine that has the software installed and gets deployed as a guest on Oracle VM. Then, the tester just logs into the virtual machine. With these steps, everyone starts from the same entry point and that reduces install and configuration errors."
John Overbaugh, director of QA for Medicity Inc., sees value in the Oracle templates. "As a tester, the idea of a repeatable, scripted deployment process combined with the light-weight (only-what-you-need) foot print is very attractive," he said. "As long as the scripted build process is used from end to end -- development environment to customer deployment -- this takes a lot of guesswork and variability out of the process of building and testing software."
Oracle VM supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications and offers customers scalable, low-cost server virtualization backed by Oracle's world-class support. Oracle VM Templates are available for Oracle's Siebel CRM, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Middleware, and more.
Kumar said the templates can also be used for custom applications. "A template is a virtual machine [appliance]," she said. "If I have my own application that runs on top of Linux, I can use the Oracle VM Template Builder and/or JeOS to create the smallest OS image needed for my application to run and have the application installed inside. That package is the end-result template which contains the whole stack."
In a related announcement, Oracle extended the Oracle Validated Configurations program to include Oracle VM server virtualization software. Oracle Validated Configurations offer 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.
As more organizations deploy virtual servers, research firm IDC said the trend is driving a new product category, virtual sever management software. According to a spring 2009 IDC report, the worldwide distributed virtual server management software market had revenues of $871 million in 2008 and will approach $2.3 billion in 2013; a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3%. Into this category IDC puts discovery, configuration, provisioning, software distribution and change control.