Market could start selling preinstalled virtual machines instead of physical servers

Server virtualization changed the way we develop, test and deploy software.
Actually it could even change they way we sell and buy hardware.

Few weeks ago VMware revamped its web community launching what is called VMware Technology Network (VMTN), and opened a new Virtual Machine Center: a place where users can download preconfigured virtual machines with various preinstalled operating systems, servers and applications.

VMware partners like Novell, Red Hat, Bea, Oracle, MySQL, SpikeSource and others to come are providing virtual machines with their flagship products aboard, from SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 to Oracle Database 10g, from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 to Bea Weblogic 8.1. And any of them will be able to run on any VMware product from Workstation to ESX Server.

This move could start a new trend on selling hardware and someone is already trying to take the most of it.
The site for example offers preconfigured virtual machines with various operating systems and softwares, making them available for Microsoft and VMware virtualization products.
Customers buy online the DVD image and get a brand new machine with any committed application, working out-of-the-box. It’s just virtual instead of physical.

If this seems a good idea the site is producing something even better: the Virtual Machine Order HOTLINE is an on-demand bulding web script that let customers choose virtual machine configuration details before buying.
This approach drops down many configuration steps hardware vendors usually need to take, greatly reducing costs already cut by virtualization adoption.

Is this the beginning of a virtual-OEMs era?