Novell has unveiled the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, an on-premises version of its cloud-based SUSE Studio.
The toolkit is designed to help independent software vendors (ISVs) build, test, update and configure software appliances across physical, virtual and cloud environments, and reduce software development time, installation cycles and maintenance costs.
"Software appliances can significantly simplify integrating and managing the applications and solutions that customers need," said Dr Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux at IBM Software Group.
"The SUSE Appliance Toolkit from Novell can potentially help our business partners deliver IBM software to their customers quickly, efficiently and cost effectively."
The new software contains all the functions of SUSE Studio, but adds a number of other features. These include WebYaST, a tool that enables remote, web-based configuration of SUSE Linux Enterprise, and SUSE Lifecycle Management Server for authentication, entitlement and access control. It also offers support for KIWI, the image creation tool behind SUSE Studio.
Nearly 4,500 ISVs have registered to use SUSE Studio, according to Novell, and it has been used to develop an estimated 250,000 software appliances.
Analyst firm IDC estimates that $1.1bn (£680m) will be spent on software appliances worldwide by 2012.
"Software appliances are an ideal solution for organisations faced with delivering projects on schedule, managing diverse development teams, and securely developing and deploying applications across multiple hardware and software platforms," said Brett Waldman, a research analyst for system software at IDC.
"However, the creation, support and management of software appliances remains a mission-critical issue for ISVs and enterprises.
"Addressing the challenges of building, deploying and configuring enterprise software across widespread networks represents a significant opportunity for the software industry as a whole."
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