VMware updates its virtual appliance authoring tool

VMware opens up the beta of VMware Studio 2.0 which can help ISVs easily create their own virtual appliances

There is a brand-new beta version of VMware Studio 2.0 now being made available to the public -- the first major update to this free virtual appliance authoring tool since it was first announced back in September 2008.

The original 1.0 version provided a mechanism for the creation, distribution, deployment, and management of production-ready virtual appliances. With it, VMware has been able to further elevate its virtualization platforms by promoting these easily created and distributed virtual appliances on their own virtual appliance marketplace -- yet another feather in the virtualization giant's cap.

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But the new VMware Studio 2.0 features are taking this tool to an entirely new level.

A major addition with this version is the support added for the next generation of virtual appliances, being dubbed by VMware as vApps. First introduced at VMworld last year, a vApp is a pre-built software solution consisting of multiple virtual machines, packaged and maintained as a single entity in the DMTF's Open Virtualization Format (OVF). VMware says that vApps typically encapsulate all components of a multitier application as well as the operational policies and service levels associated with it. These vApps and virtual appliances are compatible with VMware Infrastructure, vSphere 4.0 and the cloud.

Going beyond just having the ISVs build pre-packaged virtual appliances, Studio 2.0 goes after a much wider audience of users -- now targeting developers and administrators with its expanded support and ease of use capabilities. To help with that mission, the new version offers the availability of an Eclipse plug-in, an extensible in-guest management framework, support for building Windows virtual machines, as well as the ability to use an existing virtual machine as input.

Other features include support for OVF 0.9 and 1.0, the ability to publish patches in order to update deployed virtual appliances, and infrastructure enhancements to the product's GUI.

VMware Studio 2.0 is itself delivered in the form of a virtual appliance, and it is built using Ubuntu Linux as its guest operating system.

You can find out more information about the VMware Studio 2.0 beta and download the product by signing up on VMware's Web site.

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