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Software developers looking to leverage virtual environments for projects will get a new resource this month, when VMware introduces its VMware Technology Network for Developers.

My early look at VMTN shows it will be a smart choice for IT professionals who want to standardize on a virtual environment, and it can help shorten development lifecycles.

VMTN puts virtualization resources at IT professionals’ fingertips, delivering subscription-based services aimed at streamlining the process of building development environments using virtual machine software.

Some of the main attractions that VMTN provides to subscribers are pre-built application environments or images in VMware virtual machines. The current platform and application library consists of pre-built VMs with BEA WebLogic, MySQL, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SpikeSource Core. VMware plans to add more applications to the library down the road, according to officials.

These pre-built VMs can be quickly deployed into development environments, so IT professionals can spend more time in development and testing, and less on software distribution, setup and deployment.

Of course, VMware is only providing pre-built VMs that run its virtualization tools—VMware Workstation, GSX Server and ESX Server. The VMTN subscription is fixed at $299 per user annually.

Click here to read a review of VMware’s ACE software, which leverages virtual machine technology to create a secure Windows PC environment.

The VMTN Web site is a great portal for finding forums devoted to virtualization discussion threads. The VMware Knowledge Base offers a range of technical know-how for putting virtualization tools to their best use.

Browsing the discussion forums, I found that the threads mostly focus on troubleshooting, and a large community has been using the site. The majority of the topics are on ESX Server and Workstation, and both forums contain more than 4,000 topics and 20,000 messages.

eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at

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