Where is the OVA…?



  • According to https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/VMwareAppliance:

    "Starting with pfSense 2.0.2, we now produce .ova image files for releases that can be imported into VMware, Virtualbox, and similar setups. The ova files may be downloaded from the same site(s) as the other installation media."

    Tried looking on the mirrors, and all I see are IMGs and ISOs - No OVAs. Am I missing something?

    2.1 has been out for a few weeks now… So... Where can we find the OVA for 2.1?



  • Honestly, everyone would be better off and smarter just installing pfsense from scratch into a VM themselves.  Importing VM images isn't the best way to do things, but if you lack experience it might be your best option.



  • Honestly, everyone would be better off and smarter just installing pfsense from scratch into a VM themselves.

    Second that.

    To help, there's this and more on the wiki under the Virtualization category:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_2_on_VMware_ESXi_5



  • @kejianshi:

    Honestly, everyone would be better off and smarter just installing pfsense from scratch into a VM themselves.  Importing VM images isn't the best way to do things, but if you lack experience it might be your best option.

    With all due resepect, this was a pretty lame and somewhat offensive response to my post.

    My post was not asking where the OVA distributions were because I'm an idiot that can't figure out how to install pfSense in a VM using an ISO. In fact, 4 or 5 (or maybe even 6?) years ago when I  first started installing pfSense (and M0n0wall before that) I did so exclusively on headless embedded systems, writing images to CF cards, configuring via serial console, etc. So, yes, I'm sure I could figure it out (in fact, I was installing from ISO before the OVA was available).

    To your point about it "being better and smarter" to build from scratch, I suppose one could make the argument that building anything from scratch is better, but that's not the point of what I was getting at.

    The point of my post was that there has been no formal announcement (up until today - well, kind of) of discontinuation of the release of OVAs, so, why wouldn't people expect them to be there?

    As recently as June, Chris Buechler mentioned that there was an OVA on the mirrors:

    http://blog.pfsense.org/?p=293

    That and up until today, this page:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/VMwareAppliance

    Said that there would be OVA images built for each release.

    Even right now, if you go to pfsense.com, click on Downloads, there are three (3) options presented to you, namely:

    • New Installs

    • Upgrades

    • VMware Appliance

    With the subheading of the later stating "A VMware Appliance is available".

    So, for anyone - new to pfSense or an old hand - why wouldn't they expect there to be an OVA release?

    Look… While I realize the OVA may not be appropriate for every installation, it seems reasonable to me that there is still some value behind having a release available in this format.

    The OVF standard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Virtualization_Format) isn't being propped up by VMware, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft and XenSource because they have nothing better to do. Nor was OVF 1.1 adopted as an international standard because it's a waste of time. There is a tangeble benefit to an OVA release; be it a wider audiance (i.e., those poor chaps that "lack experience" that want to learn pfSense for the first time), someone who wants to keep a easily distributable / mostly configured package handy if it's needed to be deployed quickly, or a person who just doesn't want to deal with all the initial setup when standing up a basic test environment.

    There are plenty of good reasons to have an OVA. It's not just for the idiots out there.

    Rather than a snippy reply about "you don't need it unless you lack experience", I guess I'd apprecaite a more thoughtful reply (maybe from one of the developers) as to why, as of this morning - as noted via the changes made to https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/VMwareAppliance - it appears pfSense is moving away from this distribution method.

    Is it really that difficult to build an OVA with each release? Were there simply not many downloads from that release vs other release types (i.e., LiveCD / embedded)? Can anyone shed some light on this?



  • jdijulio raises a good point. We use ova's to make deployment easy. I too am curious about the status of the ova installs.
    If pfsense will no longer be built in ova format going forward, that would be a slight inconvenience but nothing serious.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    The existing OVA was not very useful as it was, and we are going to make some changes and offer it in a different way in the future (e.g. via the VMware appliance marketplace).

    Installing from CD to a custom VM disk is generally better for most people, and the OVA was a convenience that had a ton of backend complexity that breaks easily.

    The builder code is still capable of producing OVAs, but we aren't providing them as a standard release image any longer.

    Eventually we'll put out some better notes on the change, but it wasn't something that impacted a lot of people and there is a very simple alternative in either installing from ISO and perhaps making your own VM and exporting that for your own internal use.

    Eventually we're looking to make, directly or indirectly via customer agreements, images not just for VMware but also things like KVM, EC2, and so on.



  • @jimp:

    The existing OVA was not very useful as it was, and we are going to make some changes and offer it in a different way in the future (e.g. via the VMware appliance marketplace).

    Installing from CD to a custom VM disk is generally better for most people, and the OVA was a convenience that had a ton of backend complexity that breaks easily.

    The builder code is still capable of producing OVAs, but we aren't providing them as a standard release image any longer.

    Eventually we'll put out some better notes on the change, but it wasn't something that impacted a lot of people and there is a very simple alternative in either installing from ISO and perhaps making your own VM and exporting that for your own internal use.

    Eventually we're looking to make, directly or indirectly via customer agreements, images not just for VMware but also things like KVM, EC2, and so on.

    Jimp,

    Thanks - That's more along the lines of what I was looking for.

    Cool to hear that you guys are considering putting something into the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace down the road.

    Is that on a roadmap (i.e., like with 2.2 maybe?) or is it somewhere out there with no target defined yet?

    Also, just wanted to say that I appreciate all the hard work you and the other devs put into the project!



  • "and there is a very simple alternative in either installing from ISO and perhaps making your own VM and exporting that for your own internal use."

    I'd say that should be the primary way its done.



  • meanwhile, the OVA genius people in your team would want to add a feature or an option for the user to define as to how much the "actual size?" might be, during the installation. As per my experience, I have used OVA since I learned virtualization, and my problem is always the "actual size" that never grows, even if you'll select the "Dynamic" in the VirtualBox installation.

    I must agree, ova is the easiest deployment in time of "need" arise. But when installing it via VB, it only presents an option to fill how much virtual disk you need, but it never presents the "actual size"

    So I ended up installing via livecd ISO file.

    It's just my option though.



  • Now - There is someone who is actually leaning from experiences.



  • Every forum has them…

    Another possibility:
    If you search for pfSense on the Virtual Marketplace, it comes back to Netgate, who is selling the virtual template for $900. Maybe the freebie version was cutting into their sales...



  • There's a very simple way of converting the NanoBSD image file into a virtual disk file.
    All you have to do is create a new VM and use it with the converted image as the existing disk. Works perfectly.



  • Thats a good tip Robi, thanks! Maybe worth adding to the esxi section on the wiki?



  • @rpitchford:

    Every forum has them…

    Another possibility:
    If you search for pfSense on the Virtual Marketplace, it comes back to Netgate, who is selling the virtual template for $900. Maybe the freebie version was cutting into their sales...

    It's supported, too.