Best Practices for Building Virtual Appliances

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November 15, 2007

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A virtual appliance is a pre-installed, pre-configured operating system and software solution delivered inside a virtual machine. Deploying a software solution as a virtual appliance enables you to build a complete turnkey package that customers are able to download and immediately deploy. Thus, customers skip the time-consuming and often support-intensive task of installing and configuring the appliance. This lets customers focus all their energies on trying or using your solution rather than struggling to get it to run. This document describes the best practices for building a virtual appliance. It covers high level design principles as well as low level details for building virtual appliances ready for certification under the VMware Certified Virtual Appliance program. In turn, virtual appliances built according to these standards will allow your customers or prospective customers to test or use your virtual appliance with all the VMware virtualization platforms.