Virtual platforms can be more complex to develop than physical platforms. From selecting a hypervisor to run the virtual appliance to considerations of VM resources, OEMs and ISVs need to make the right choices to meet the needs of their prospective customers. Transitioning to a cloud platform increases those choices.
Each cloud provider has different infrastructures with different VM requirements. The ability to adapt to different infrastructures while minimizing the appliance footprint and increasing performance monitoring are crucial to successful cloud deployments.
Customers in a cloud environment are unlikely to have large, dedicated IT resources to handle set-up or user-interface issues. Cloud solutions are usually adopted for their low cost and quick deployment. It may be necessary for OEMs and ISVs to adjust the installation and user interface of their appliance to make it more compatible with the cloud platform and its users.
Again, one of the advantages of the cloud environment is the reduced need for dedicated IT resources for end-users. This means the appliance in a cloud environment must be maintained by the OEM or ISV, or outsourced to a service partner.
By deploying their appliance in the cloud, software OEMs and ISVs can make the latest version of their software quickly available to end-users. New customers will always start with the latest version of the appliance, and existing customers can be kept up-to-date.
The issue is whether to deploy a whole new revision, requiring customers to save all settings and store all information in the existing software first, or to simply deploy patches and upgrades into the existing version. The first is easier for the OEM or ISV, while the latter is less troublesome for the end-user. And if the decision is to update the existing version, how will this be handled?
Software OEMs and ISVs have several considerations in the deployment, provisioning, maintenance, and upgrading of appliances when transitioning from virtual to cloud deployment. Partnering with an experienced provider like NEI can facilitate more informed decision making.