Software deployment goes virtual

Virtual appliances take away integration woes

Virtualization has risen to prominence as a method for improving hardware utilization, but one local software company is using the technology to reduce the integration effort required of its applications.

Perth-based digital asset management vendor HarvestRoad is set to release its applications in the form of a "virtual appliance" that claims to reduce operating system integration work for customers.

HarvestRoad's chief technology officer, John Rowling, said the company has used VMWare's virtualization platform internally for some time, and with many customers also using it, there was an opportunity to simplify the way it delivered its "Hive" application.

"VMWare allows us to make best use of the computing hardware we have [and] we can develop software on a range of different platforms," Rowling said. "The application we ship is complex and requires integration with other systems. Our objective is to use the VMWare virtual appliance to allow us to deploy Hive in a virtual appliance form."

Before the end of the year, HarvestRoad will begin shipping a fully developed "system on a disk" including the operating system, database, Web sever, Hive, and a delivery system.

"Customers can run the app and don't have to worry about integrating it into a learning management system," Rowling said. "This makes life a lot easier as customers can see the app in a way they want to use."

Hive is classed as a "federated digital repository" for most types of content, with some aspects of a document management system.

Any digital asset can be stored in the repository, and the content can then be presented in a learning management system.

"Workflow processes and version rules can be applied to the content," he said.

The virtual appliance will ship as a DVD and can be installed into any existing VMWare environment.

"No special development was required as we already use VMWare in-house so it was a known problem with a known solution," Rowling said.

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