Creating high quality appliances is a difficult task and requires deep knowledge of the underlying operating system. So we created the 'Debian Appliance Builder' to simplify that task. 'dab' is a script to automate the creation of OpenVZ appliances. It is basically a rewrite of debootstrap in perl, but uses OpenVZ instead of chroot and generates OpenVZ templates. Another difference is that it supports multi-stage building of templates. That way you can execute arbitrary scripts between package installation steps to accomplish what you want.
Furthermore, some common tasks are fully automated - like setting up a database server (mysql or postgres). To accomplish minimal template creation time, packages are cached to a local directory, so you do not need a local Debian/Ubuntu mirror (although this would speed up the first run). All generated templates includes an appliance description file. Those can be used to build appliance repositories.
Virtual appliances are a well known and quite successful way to demonstrate and run server software. But till now, no high quality appliance builder for OpenVZ was available.
Anybody is talking about the economic and financial crisis – a good chance to bring powerful open source software to the enterprise customer – start now using OpenVZ for virtual appliances!
Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH
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