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With vSphere 4, we introduced a set of new features for managing and configuring virtual appliances, namely: vApps, OVF properties, and the OVF environment. A vApp is a container for a distributed, multi-VM software solution. It has power-on operations just as a virtual machine, and can be imported or exported as an OVF package. The OVF properties and OVF environment provides a flexible mechanism for parameterizing guest software inside a VM upon deployment. Using the OVF properties, it is possible to both configure OS level properties, such as IP settings, and application level parameters, such as IP addresses of external servers.

Until now, these features have been exclusive to vSphere 4, but with VMware vApprun, these features become available to both Workstation and Fusion users. The vApprun tool implements the same vApp/OVF feature set as the vSphere 4 release. Thus, Workstation/Fusion can be used as a development environment for advanced OVF packages, and it can be used to evaluate and test OVF packages on your desktops and laptops.

Along with the vApprun tool, we will shortly release a technical preview of VMware OVF Tool 2.0. One of the new features is support for vApprun workspaces as both a source and target. Thus, OVF packages can be deployed and run directly on Workstation and Fusion, even when they use advanced features such as OVF properties or contain multiple VMs. Furthermore, the vApps and VMs that are created using vApprun can be exported as OVF packages, deployed to vSphere installations, or even into vCloud accounts.

Features Overview

  • vApps that contain multiple VMs and nested vApps.
  • For a vApp, the start/stop sequence of the child entities can be configured.
  • Start/stop/shutdown of vApps.
  • Create OVF properties and access the OVF environment from guest software.
  • Supports ISO and guestInfo OVF environment transports.
  • Supports fixed, transient, and DHCP IP allocation modes and IP pools.
  • Import OVF packages and run it with vApprun (using OVF Tool 2.0).
  • Export vApps and VMs created with vApprun to OVF packages (using OVF Tool 2.0).
  • Command-line, workspace-oriented user interaction.
  • Cross-platform - available for Windows/Mac/Linux.
  • VMware vSphere 4 compatible.

Learn More

Use the following references to learn more about vApps, the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), and virtual appliances:
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The following software must be installed:

  • Python 2.5 or Python 2.6  (download from www.python.org)
  • VMware Workstation 6 or later (Windows/Linux)
  • VMware Fusion 2 or later (Mac OS X)

VMware vApprun is supported on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

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  1. Create a directory for installing vapprun. For example:
    • mkdir c:\vapprun (Windows)
    • mkdir ~/vapprun (Linux / Mac OS X)
  2. Unzip the downloaded zip file into the chosen installation directory
  3. Follow the remaining installation steps in the README document that is included in the zip file.
  4. The README also contains a brief getting started guide, and the doc/ directory contains a user guide.
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