Virtual appliances vs operating systems

Filed under: Random Thoughts — barmijo — August 15, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

Last November, after a somewhat contentious discussion with 3tera, the folks at Redmonk made a post titled Do Operating Systems Matter? The source of the controversy was our contention that users would use drag and drop appliances containing application middleware like LAMP stacks or even proprietary software like DB2 or WebShpere without concerning themselves about what OS was installed in each appliance. Being hands-on types, the Redmonk folks were skeptical of our claim, but closed the post with an open mind.

This old thread came to mind today when a google alert lead me to
an InfoQ post on the topic of virtual appliances.
It brought home for me how in a few short months, what was controversial seems to have become commonly accepted.
More ISVs see the virtual appliance as an opportunity rather than threat. rPath even won
Innovation Idea of the Year from for their appliance model.

So what’s the implication? Is this the end game now that PC World quotes Mendel Rosenblum of VMware answering whether the appliance model is a threat to OS vendors as “If I were in their shoes … I think the answer is yes.”

As systems like 3tera’s AppLogic make high level functions accessible within appliances the opportunity exists for OS vendors as well as ISVs to integrate these functions into their systems, creating smart appliances. So, just what would a smart appliance do? Stay tuned . . .

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