Today, IBM formally announced virtual editions of the WebSphere DataPower appliance platform, slated for general availability on November 30. The DataPower Integration Appliance XI52 and the DataPower Service Gateway XG45 physical appliance platforms will be made available as virtual editions on the VMware ESX / ESXi hypervisor to provide a flexible solution for both non-production and production environments.
This is an exciting announcement for clients that have struggled with physical appliance management and access across multiple development teams. The proposed lower pricing model and enhanced availability of features for non-production development deployments mean these development teams can have better control over their own destiny: Teams can manage their own appliance and build out solutions using options not otherwise available to them on the traditional physical appliance platform.
And because configuration information can be shared between physical and virtual appliances, the new virtual editions enable development teams to build services and applications with the certainty they will translate seamlessly to physical production appliances in the DMZ.
So what's the downside? The virtual editions (somewhat obviously) do not include HSM or hardware acceleration features. Customers who require this functionality will need to continue their investment in physical appliances, particularly during the staging phases of production rollouts (for new services developed on virtual appliance editions have interactions with these hardware features).