Building Appliances

SUSE Studio helps you build your appliance in a variety different formats. Each format is used for a different purpose:

Physical media formats

USB stick/hard disk image Dump this format on your USB stick or hard disk and boot from it. You may need to instruct the machine’s BIOS to boot from an external source if you’re usign a USB stick. You can write the disk image by using either the dd command or image writing software on any existing OS.

Live CD/DVD (.iso) Use this format if you want to burn your appliance on CD or DVD. This is the easiest way to prepare bootable media. Simply download the .iso file and burn it to disk via any existing OS.

Preload ISO (.iso) This is an ideal format if you are planning to perform installations on physical machines without a ‘live’ experience (running from the media without installing). Your appliance’s disk image will be wrapped in a simple bootable installer that asks only which hard disk to install to. Your installation media can be prepared on any existing OS by simply burning the .iso file to disc.

DASD (.raw) and zFCP (.raw) These are formats found on IBM zSeries. Choose between DASD (Direct Access Storage Device) or zFCP (Fibre Channel Attached SCSI Disks) if you want to start from a SCSI disk. For further details, refer to the SLES Deployment Guide at http://www.suse.com/documentation/sles11/book_sle_deployment/data/sec_i_yast2_s390_part.html

Virtual formats

VMware / VirtualBox / KVM (.vmdk) Use this format if you want to start your appliance as a virtual machine on VMware, VirtualBox, or KVM-based hypervisors. This is another method to test an appliance without formatting any hard disk. VirtualBox and VMware virtualization applications are available for most host operating systems. KVM virtualization is for Linux only.

OVF virtual machine (.ovf) Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an open, standards-based format for virtual machines. A variety of hypervisors including SUSE Cloud, VirtualBox, VMware ESX, IBM SmartCloud, and Oracle VM support creating virtual machines by importing an .ovf file.

SUSE Cloud / OpenStack / KVM (.qcow2) This format provides the best experience when virtualizing with QEMU/KVM hosts, or deploying on SUSE Cloud. Qcow2 is a dynamically expanding copy-on-write file system. Version 2 adds support for multiple snapshots in a single qcow2 file.

Xen guest Use this format if you want to run your appliance on a Xen host system, such as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Xen guests works only on Xen-enabled Linux hosts, including many virtual hosting providers.

Hyper-V (.vhd) This format allows seamless integration with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization, available in Windows Server. Your appliance will include all the necessary drivers to integrate with the Hyper-V management console and provide optimum performance. A Hyper-V-enabled Microsoft Windows Server is required to run this format.

Cloud formats

Amazon EC2 image If you plan to use Amazon Web Services to host your server, this format will properly configure the appliance for you do to so. Link your AWS credentials to your Studio account, and you will be able to upload and launch EC2 instances directly from SUSE Studio. See Use > Amazon EC2 for more information.

Azure Image Windows Azure is another option for hosting your appliances. The Azure Image format will do the hard work for you, building a .vhd file tailored for hosting on Microsoft’s Windows Azure service. Upload your Azure publishsettings file to your Studio account, and you will be able to create images on Windows Azure, then jump over to the management portal to instantiate and manage your virtual machines. See Use > Windows Azure for more information.