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OVF Tool Usage

It is possible to clone a guest on an ESXi host using rsync or other native Linux commands.  However, any thin disks attached to the guest will be expanded, which may cause the target to consume considerable disk space.

To ship an entire VM without expanding thin disks, it is necessary to created an OVF or OVA archive file.  VMWare make the ovftool command line utility available for the purpose.  It should be noted that OVF Tool is run from a management station and not the ESXi shell on the host.  The management station could (of course) be a VM guest on the ESXi host - Although it is time consuming to create the target OVA on the same disk as the source VM.

Locating OVF Tool

OVF Tool distribution packages for Linux, Windows, OSX are available from the VMWare Web site (requires account)

OVF Tool is included with VM Workstation products.  For VMWare Fusion OVF Tool can be found in the VM Ware bundle file.

/Applications/VMware\\ OVF\ Tool


OVF Tool Syntax

./ovftool --noSSLVerify vi<user>:<password>@<host_address>/<vm_inventory_name> <local_path_to_target>.ova || .ovf

<user> is an ESXi user with sufficient privilege to carry out the operation

<host address> may be an ip or dns address of the source ESXi server.

<vm inventory name> is the name of the source VM in the inventory.
The name may be found from the ESXi shell (ssh to host), vimcmd vmsvc/getallvms

<local path to target> is the path where the target OVA file or OVF folder contents will be written
The type of archive is selected by specifying OVA (single file) or OVF (folder of files)  and the host is clever enough to send the selected format.
Note when selecting OVF, the tool does not create the target folder.


Example Session

./ovftool --noSSLVerify vi://admin@esx1.emscom.lan/vm-vms /Volumes/Data/VMFiles/backup/vms.ovf
Enter login information for source vi://esx1.emscom.lan/
Username: msssltd
Password: *********

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Article details
Article ID: 112
Category: Virtualisation
Date added: 16-08-2017 22:41:13
Views: 24
Rating (Votes): Article rated 5.0/5.0 (1)

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