Beyond testing, developers could hand off new software to IT administrators as virtual appliances, ready to run in a virtual machine without further configuration for a particular piece of hardware, middleware, or some specialized version of an operating system.
"VMware and SpringSource are the global leaders in their respective technology categories," said Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource, in announcing the relationship Dec. 3. Indeed, they are. SpringSource plans to develop two virtual appliances based on its new cooperation with VMware. SpringSource makes a lightweight application server built around modular, OSGi principles for Java applications. The dm Server will be packaged as a VMware-based virtual machine, ready to run a Spring Framework application, "with a new degree of flexibility and reliability," SpringSource spokesman Charlie Purdom said in the announcement.
Likewise, SpringSource tc Server, which is a hardened version of the popular Apache Tomcat server, also will be packaged as a virtual appliance.
The gist of the relationship is that IT administrators are going to be able to take a giant step toward staging new software introductions. They can efficiently test drive a new application in a virtual machine, combine it with its middleware, and try it with an updated operating system before pushing it into production.
Sometime this month, VMware and SpringSource say project managers will have added tools for ensuring the quality of the software they are producing. They can specify environments in which an application is to run, test it there without requiring an expensive battery of test servers, and increase the number of test scenarios they run -- without grossly lengthening the project. These possibilities, of course, will come with a price tag attached -- they'll depend on commercial products from SpringSource. Nevertheless, SpringSource is one of the first open source companies focused on development to capitalize on the possibilities opened by virtualization. By building virtualization into the way its large development community can do things, it's opened up an additional revenue stream built upon a carefully groomed, open source base. As always, developers will seek value for their money, but at the moment, SpringSource is paving the way to a future in which virtualization is a constant feature of the landscape.