As part of our ongoing work to help users find the open source based virtual machine they need amongst the hundreds available in VM Depot we have introduced a new concept called “Collections.” This feature allows community members to identify a collection of related virtual machine images and direct their users to documentation for that set.
It is early days for this experiment. Individuals maintain these collections through a set of configuration files, as opposed to a shiny web interface. However, the process is quite simple and, assuming the feature proves to be popular, will become even easier in the coming months.
The goal is to allow project communities or companies with open source products to highlight their software in a variety of different use cases, or to provide domain specific collections that make it easier to discover the perfect virtual machine. By way of example, we have created two collections so far - Content Management Systems and Education focused VMs.
At this stage, we are particularly interested in hearing from people who would like to maintain a collection. We are open to suggestions about what functionality should be included and look forward to working with you to make this a valuable feature.
In addition to enabling VM Depot Collections, we have expanded our documentation pages to include image specific tutorials. For example, we now have a simple hello world tutorial for WordPress. Designed as a complement to the existing WordPress deployment tutorial, it enables newcomers to WordPress to get started very quickly. Publishers of images are encouraged to provide tutorials such as this one to complement their own images.
Speaking of publishers, we have updated our documentation pages that describe how to prepare and publish images:
- Customizing and Republishing an existing VM Depot image is relatively easy but your base image is not under your own control
- Creating and Uploading a VHD is more complex but provides much more control over what is included in the image.
For those who wish to deploy an image we have updated our deployment documentation too:
- VM Depot Easy Deploy - this method is perhaps the easiest to get started with but since it uses a web interface is not ideal for automation.
- Command Line Tools - this method provides the most flexibility and is especially useful when you want to automate the process. However, it is a little more complicated to set-up.
- Microsoft Azure Management Portal - this method is very easy to get started with, however, it only provides support for a subset of VM Depot images.
If you are keen to explore the potential of VM Depot Collections for your open source community or product then contact us and we will get in touch. Our goal is to work with you to ensure Collections help empower your users.