Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of deploying software as a virtual appliance, try it out and experience the benefits firsthand.
Set up a virtualized environment
Your virtual appliance will run in a virtualized environment. With VMware, this step is easy and free. If you don’t already have a VMware virtualization solution installed, download either VMware Player or VMware Server for free to get your virtualization environment up and running in minutes.
You can also setup a virtualized environment by purchasing VMware Workstation.
Find and download a virtual appliance on the VMware Solution Exchange
Once you have set up your virtualized environment, find a virtual appliance that is interesting to you. To get started, browse the VMware Solution Exchange which is a continuously growing ecosystem of virtual appliances that span the areas of security, content and collaboration, infrastructure, database management, and networking.
After you select the virtual appliance you want to try, click on the appropriate download link (‘Try’ or ‘Buy’ for VMware Ready Virtual Appliances or ‘Download’ for all other virtual appliances) and go to the host site to begin the download process. Typically this will involve downloading a ZIP file.
Download a virtual appliance with ESXi
If you are running VI Client 2.5.0 and later along with ESXi 3.5.0 or ESX "classic" 3.5.0 and later, you can download production-ready OVF virtual appliances into an ESXi environment. To access that list of virtual appliances:
- Open your VI client, select "Virtual Appliance" from the file menu
- Select "Import”. A popup screen will appear
- Select “Import from the VMware Solution Exchange
- Click “Next”, you will then be sent to a web page where you can download the appliances.
Install your virtual appliance
Installing your virtual appliance is simple. You can review this tutorial to see a sample of this easy to follow deployment process, which typically follows the steps below:
- Unzip the ZIP file to create the directory for your virtual appliance.
- Review the Read Me or Getting Started file in that directory–Note the default user name and password, plus any other pointers about configuring your appliance during its first boot.
- Double-click the virtual machine settings file, *.vmx, to boot your virtual appliance.
- Follow the directions on screen during the initial boot–typically this involves entering some information, agreeing to the EULA, changing the default password, and navigating to the web interface to complete the configuration.
Your virtual appliance is ready for you to use. Whether it is a complex enterprise application, a new blog server, a Wiki server, or some other fancy Web 2.0 application, you’ll never need to run through anything more complicated than a basic configuration wizard to get the entire solution up and running!
View the getting started tutorial.