Virtualisation: The cure for all software installation ills?

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Software

Analysis: The likes of VMware and XenSource think it might be, and some analysts agree

Most talk about virtualisation these days centres on using server hardware more efficiently. But the technology also has the potential to ease another headache: software installation woes.

Today, administrators installing software typically must ensure that it's certified to run with their particular hardware and operating systems, then configure and optimise it afterward.

The hidden benefit from virtualisation is that users can unpack a ready-to-run collection of software components — operating system and all — and drop it onto a fresh virtual machine. No muss, no fuss, no driver updates, no configuration file tweaking, no conflicts with other software.

Virtualisation essentially lets the companies selling the software provide a clean slate for installation.

There's one problem, however: some software licensing plans aren't designed to accommodate such schemes, though that could eventually change.

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