Lately I have been playing around in my Lab a lot. I tried many virtual appliances as I wanted to use a variety of workloads. I downloaded many appliances and hoped to have all of them up and running in a bare minimum amount of time. Apparently I miscalculated / underestimated the amount of work to get a virtual appliance up and running. Yes of course there are a whole bunch that will work out of the box, and all of these have one thing in common:
Yes, deploying virtual appliances is a lot easier when they are packaged as an OVF or even an OVA for that matter. Packaging a virtual appliance which is “tarred” and “gzipped” using an old version of VMware Workstation with a sparse disk format doesn’t cut it any more in the age of automation and transportability. Although that works great on the workstation you developed it on it doesn’t really make it easy for your customer to deploy it.
I am not saying this to make my life easier, but I truly believe that the adoption of a standard like OVF will also increase the adoption of your product. Instead of jumping through hoops to get the appliance running people can focus on what it really is about, your product.
It is time to start adopting OVF.