moka5 starts LivePC beta program

A new startup in the virtualization scene, moka5, appeared on on May this year with the claim it can provide further technology innovation in the space.

The company, spin-off from Stanford University’s Computer Science Department, is now launching a preview of its technology, called LivePC.

LivePC brings the rising concept of service virtualization (or Software as a Service, aka SaaS), these days so much hyped thanks to VMware Virtual Appliances, at its maximum.

Being delivered in two versions, for Windows and for bare metal installations (like VMware ESX Server does), LivePC enterely depends on VMware Player.
It’s able to import existing virtual machines or to create new ones with a very basic .vmx generator, but final product are always pure VMware virtual machines.

moka5 wrapper doesn’t add anything to the execution of the virtual machine, so we can’t consider LivePC a real virtualization platform, but introduces the concept of virtual machine subscription.

Once imported or created a virtual machine LivePC permits to package it in a redistributable format and upload it on a web server.
At this point the new virtual machine coordinates can be published on a moka5 online library, acting as a catalog.

Selecting the choosen LivePC from the library users will be able to download the related feed and subscribe it at their desktop.
Immediately after feed subscription the application starts downloading the real virtual machine from its online location to the local computer.
The first download and is streamed from the downloading location, so users can start using the virtual machine before it’s completely copied locally.

Anytime a new version of the virtual machine is available, LivePC checks the feed and updates the local copy (at the moment is unclear if it downloads again the whole image or only bits changed in the virtual disk).

LivePC seems at a very early stage of development but appears pretty interesting, mixing together server virtualization, virtual appliances and application streaming approaches with social networking elements.

An immediate concern about licensing issues with Windows-based virtual machines raises, since this can be considered a form of redistribution, which Microsoft EULA prohibits.

The beta program is still open for enrollment: register here.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.

moka5 has been included in the Virtualization Industry Radar.