"By leveraging open source solutions, and shedding the hardware entirely, virtual appliances can push the cost savings to whole new level: completely free," Ohlhorst wrote. "You'll find an increasing number of open source projects available for download in virtual machine formats for Xen, VirtualBox, VMware, and other virtualization platforms. Naturally, the virtual appliance is especially handy when the solution stitches together a host of components or relies on an entire LAMP stack. Why build it yourself when you can download the whole installation, already pre-configured?"
InfoWorld reviews eight free VMware appliances.