VMWare Eyes Virtual Appliances to Combat Software Bloating

With today's operating systems ever increasing in size and complexity, a result of the wide variety of applications and usage situations they must support, maintenance of the codebase against bugs and security vulnerabilities becomes ever harder. Fortunately, VMWare thinks it has a solution; VMWare co-founder and chief scientist Mendel Rosenblum said in a keynote at Linuxworld in San Francisco that corporations should eye virtual appliances as a way to create a highly customized platform to run their applications. Instead of customizing applications to suit the target OS, Rosenblum advised, developers should consider creating a custom operating system. ""Rather than making your application run on a bunch of different operating systems, you choose one operating system. You bundle it together and you ship this thing around as a virtual appliance." And an application specific operating system doesn't just cut back on the potential number of bugs and security flaws: developers can also add features that for instance increase the software's performance.

VMWare believes Linux is the ideal candidate to run these virtual appliances because the operating system is free and open source. Indeed, several companies are currently selling virtual appliances on specialized Linux distributions, such as database vendor Ingress. Middleware maker BEA in June also started shipping its WebLogic Server Virtual Edition, a virtual version of its Java application server that allows users to quickly add compute power to Java applications that are part of a Service Oriented Architecture. However, he jury on virtual appliances is still out, because each customized Linux version is essentially a fork, meaning seperate patches and hardware certifications for each separate customized version.

"We won't compromise the reason that people go to open source and Linux in the first place, which is to have a platform that is well tested and developed by the community," said Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat's Red Hat's vice president for Enterprise Linux said in May. "There are Lines that have to be drawn to optimize the security and quality. You can expect a great degree of customization to be available but not the creation of a Linux fork."

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6 Comments

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The best thing i like about virtual machines is i can run multiple oses simultaneously and i have a windows xp vm to test
new softwares before using it on my main machine.

Also yes i aint complaining about those 4 exes that start during the startup i can always end them using taskmanager
if i dont plan to use vmware .

Also have tried innotek's virtualbox thats also a good virtual machine and a freeware.

Just waiting for that day when virtual machines will be able to take full advantage of the gpu.

Definitely not for games due to the lack of performance, but I think it could be a good idea, for certain circumstances.

I actually had an experience when my web server in a vm (it was linux ) served far better than the one in my host OS (win). I still don't know why but maybe because some of the components relating to the web service were optimised for linux, or just because my Windows was not good ...

But I couldn't install a linux as my host OS just because of the web server alone. I extensively use Excel in my work and don't tell me there are alternatives, like OpenOffice or, Wine. I am not working alone and compatibility is important. And I know OpenOffice is not 100% compatibe with Microsoft's counterpart.

And I found another advantage to use vm for a web server. Vm preserves all the sophisticated settings as well as the services (well, demons in my case) whenever the host OS is upgraded, or more frequently, re-installed. It's just fanstastic to get my web server as it was after any fresh re-installation of my OS.

Totally agree with you on this Budious.

Vmware itself starts its services vmnat.exe , vmnetdhcp.exe , vmount2.exe , vmware-authd.exe consuming close to 50-60MB irrespective of the app being used or not.

Quad Master said,
Totally agree with you on this Budious.

Vmware itself starts its services vmnat.exe , vmnetdhcp.exe , vmount2.exe , vmware-authd.exe consuming close to 50-60MB irrespective of the app being used or not.


Sheesh! And I was thinking of trying out WMware... So no go for me now

Totally agree with you on this Budious.

Vmware itself starts its services vmnat.exe , vmnetdhcp.exe , vmount2.exe , vmware-authd.exe consuming close to 50-60MB irrespective of the app being used or not.


Well, it takes some resources to virtualize an operating system and provide services to virtualize your hardware for it. What do you think it should take? 10 MB? Sure, the services could be stopped if not used -- that's likely just a design thing.
Sheesh! And I was thinking of trying out WMware... So no go for me now

You only have one option if it comes to high performing virtual machines though.
Virtual PC 2007 is even worse performing, for example.

Comments coming from the company whose products install no less than five Windows Services which are started at boot whether you are or are not going to be using their product during that session. If every company would write their software not to be dependent on system services or at least implement them in a way that will not require them to be loaded when the software is not in use then the bloating could be cut in half.