The virtual appliance groundswell continues. Let’s look at the evolution of the term over the past year or so:
- Google Trends (some serious data smoothing going on here)
- Technorati (the spike in March was the launch of the Virtual Appliance Marketplace on VMTN; the spike in August was the Ultimate Virtual Appilance Challenge, and the spike in November was VMworld and inclusion of production-ready VA’s in the VAM.
The best blog focused on virtual appliances is Virtualization Daily. Recent articles include:
- Poll: How are you using virtual appliances?
- Java is the Cobol of the 21st Century, where he equates BEA’s super-cool bare-metal JVM appliance with Cobol. (Kimbro, you’re letting your biases show — lots of Java still being written.)
- Virtualization may redefine the software industry
- IDC predicts software appliances will become a household word in 2007
And now Amazon steps in:
Now, Amazon is climbing aboard with their own
version of the virtual appliance, this time called Amazon Machine
Images or AMI. Amazon describes the AMI as a packaged environment that
includes all the necessary bits to set up and boot Amazon EC2 instances.
The company launched their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – Amazon’s
hosted, on demand virtual datacenter based on the Xen technology – with
hopes of creating demand for a pay-per-use model of virtual machines.
To help further market this solution, Amazon has probably been
searching for yet another story to get people to try out their
Amazon is now asking its EC2 community members to share their AMIs
with other Amazon Web Services developers. The company has even created
a tutorial to help introduce members to the idea behind AMI sharing as well as the how-to’s of sharing.
And for those interested, Amazon also has their own version of VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace – Amazon’s Public AMIs, where members can share, download and rate each other’s AMIs.
There are currently 9 AMIs on Amazon’s site, interestingly enough including a Fedora Core 6 running QEMU running a trial of Windows Server 2003. Whether this conversion of Microsoft’s VHD is against its no-conversion EULA I’ll leave to the lawyers (although it’s a very anti-user move on MS’s part) and whether Windows on QEMU on Fedora on Xen/EC2 works well I’d be very interested to know.