Our paper about virtual appliance configuration and management was accepted to the TeraGrid 2007 conference and is now online: A Scalable Approach To Deploying And Managing Appliances.
This paper examines configuration and security issues that large and heterogeneous deployments of virtual appliances/workspaces will face.
From the introduction:
The goal of this paper is to develop a holistic approach that would provide scalable and sustainable ways of managing and deploying virtual workspaces implemented as VM images. We will discuss ways of leveraging existing configuration management tools, exemplified by the Bcfg2 system, for VM image lifecycle management that will allow systems staff to deploy robust virtualized resources for their users. We will also describe the process of contextualization — integration of an appliance in its deployment context — and discuss its reference implementation using Bcfg2 and the Workspace Service.