How to create a virtual appliance
The Open Virtualization Format (OVF) specification is a standard being developed within the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) association to promote an open, secure, portable, efficient, and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of software to be run in virtual machines.
For use within an organization, Level 1 or Level 2 compatibility may be good enough, since the OVF package is distributed within a controlled environment where specific purchasing decisions of hardware or virtualization platforms can ensure consistency of the underlying feature set for the OVF.
Level 1. Only runs on a particular virtualization product and/or CPU architecture and/or virtual hardware selection. This would typically be due to the OVF containing suspended virtual machines or snapshots of powered on virtual machines, including the current run-time state of the CPU and real or emulated devices. Such state ties the OVF to a very specific virtualization and hardware platform.
OVF sources with LSI Logic disk controllers might fail to boot when imported to an ESX destination. This is because Converter Standalone might change the controller type to Bus Logic instead of preserving the source controller type.
Workaround: Using VI client, edit the settings of the imported virtual machine to change the controller type from Bus Logic back to LSI Logic. This will enable the virtual machine to boot.
While exporting a virtual machine source from an ESX 3.5 host to the OVF “folder of files” format, Converter Standalone changes the source vNICs from their native type (vmxnet, vlance, or e1000) to either PCNet32 (vlance) or E1000 (e1000). This might result in an unexpected lack of network connectivity when the OVF is imported.
Workaround: Edit the .vmx file to manually modify the vNIC type after importing the virtual appliance.
You can export a virtual machine to a virtual appliance, making it available to other users to import into their inventories. The resulting virtual appliance is an OVF 1.0 appliance and contains one virtual machine. OVF Virtual Appliances contain many files that are typically compressed into an archive that can be put on removable media or downloaded from a server. This file much be decompressed prior to being imported and is more cumbersome to use. Consider using OVA for internal enterprise use.
You cannot select a virtual appliance destination for physical machine sources or virtual appliance sources.
- Start the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone application.
- Click Convert Machine in the application menu.
- Select a VMware Infrastructure Virtual Machine Source
You can convert a virtual machine that resides on an ESX host or ESX host that vCenter Server manages.
You can now select the destination for your new virtual machine.
- On the Destination page, select Virtual Appliance from the drop-down menu.
- In the Virtual appliance details pane, type the virtual appliance name in the Name text box.
- Click Browse to select a destination location.
The destination folder can be local or a remote machine shared over the network.
- (Optional) If you are connected to a remote Converter Standalone server, click Connect as and provide the user credentials to be used when connecting to the destination machine.
You must manually type the path to the destination.
- Select the Distribution format from the drop-down menu.
You can create virtual appliance packages that contain monolithic compressed .vmdk files only. You can store the resulting files in an .ovf folder or place them in a single .ova tarred file.
- Click Next to customize the virtual appliance.
You selected to export a virtual machine to a virtual appliance.
On the View/Edit Options page, you can make more precise settings to the conversion task.
Start the Deploy OVF Template Wizard
You deploy an OVF template with the Deploy OVF Template wizard.
Select File > Deploy OVF Template
- Deploy from a File
You can deploy from a file that is either a OVF (.ovf file) or a OVA (.ova file) format. The OVF format is optimal for a web server or image library and deploys from a set of files. The OVA format is optimal for deploying from physical media and is packaged in a single file.
- Deploy from a URL
You may deploy the OVF template from a URL.