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I will have a Debian VM with a certain setup. I want to deploy this appliance including eg VirtualBox to end-users with minimal skills.

Is there any tool or readings about packaging of a VM appliance to an end-product ?

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3 Answers 3

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You can use File->Export Appliance from within VirtualBox, to export it to an .ova file. The virtual machine needs to be powered off for this to work. This .ova file can then be reimported by the receiving user. If you want to make it as easy to follow for novice users, you should document the process.

A general problem when creating VM images is that they may contain information which you do not want to pass on or which should be unique on the machine, e.g. for security reasons. So please delete/reset any of the following:

  1. Certificates (and install a process to recreate any certificates anew on first boot)
  2. SSH keys (just "rm /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*", sshd will recreate them)
  3. Passwords
  4. Your shell's history (e.g. in ~/.bash_history)
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I am not a big pro, but if you have a database installed, you can create a small utility that would allow to personalize the required info -> user clicks on program and adds some data into the program. Then this program would add required database entries.

Regarding the packaging- you can package the image with vmplayer. It is hard to provide any useful comments since I have no idea about the actual functionality and framework that you use on that VM.

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I want to deploy this appliance including eg VirtualBox to end-users with minimal skills.

Is there any tool or readings about packaging of a VM appliance to an end-product ?

I typed create virtualbox appliance into Google and found this:

Choose "File...Export Appliance..." to bring up the Export wizard

enter image description here

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That could be a first step. I'm looking for a tool that packs all together (VirtualBox+Appliance) and creates an unique installer. –  PeterMmm Jun 26 '13 at 9:04

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