Deploying OVF and OVA Templates

Open Virtual Format (OVF) and Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) are two formats for exporting virtual machines, virtual appliances, and virtual applications. The OVF or OVA template can then be deployed in the same or a different environment. Deploying OVF and OVA Templates are same process to build a Virtual Machine.

Note: OVA templates cannot be exported with vSphere 6.5 and later; OVF templates are the only alternative.

To deploy and export OVF or OVA templates in previous versions of vSphere, you needed to install the Client Integration Plug-in. To export OVF templates or deploy OVF and OVA templates in vSphere 6.5, you no longer need to install the Client Integration Plug-in.

The following topics are covered in this chapter:

OVF and OVA File Formats and Templates.

Deploy an OVF or OVA Template

Export an OVF Template

Browse VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace

OVF and OVA File Formats and Templates

OVF is a file format that allows virtual appliances to be shared between products and platforms. When you save a virtual machine as an OVF file, you get a directory with the OVF file and the virtual disc files. An OVA can be thought of as a collection of all the files in the OVF directory. The OVA file package is a single file distribution of the OVF file package.

Deploying OVF and OVA template

The following are some of the benefits of the OVF and OVA formats:

The compressed OVF and OVA files enable for speedier downloads.

Before importing an OVF or OVA file, the vSphere Web Client verifies that it is compatible with the intended destination server. The appliance cannot be imported if it is incompatible with the selected host, and an error notice occurs.

OVF and OVA can include several virtual machines and multi-tiered applications.

You can develop virtual appliances by exporting OVF or OVA templates, which other users can import later. The export feature can be used to deliver pre-installed software as a virtual appliance, as well as to distribute template virtual computers to users. Users that are unable to access your vCenter Server inventory can download the OVF or OVA file.

You can add pre-configured virtual machines or vApps to your vCenter Server or ESXi inventory by deploying an OVF or OVA template. Using an OVF or OVA template to install a virtual machine is similar to using a template to deploy a virtual machine. However, you can use the vSphere Web Client to install an OVF or OVA template from any local file system or a remote Web server.

Deploy an OVF or OVA Template

You can use a URL or a local file system to deploy an OVF or OVA template.

Some of the pages in the Deploy OVF Template wizard appear only if the OVF template you’re deploying needs more customization, has deployment options, or has one or more vService dependencies.


  • Select Deploy OVF Template from any inventory object that is a legitimate parent object of a virtual machine, such as a data centre, folder, cluster, resource pool, or host.

The wizard for deploying OVF templates appears.

  • On the Select an OVF template page, click Next after specifying the location of the source OVF or OVA template.
URLType a URL to an OVF or OVA template located on the Internet. Supported
URL sources are HTTP and HTTPS.
Local fileClick Browse and select all the files associated with an OVF template or OVA
file. This includes files such as .ovf, .vmdk, etc. If you do not select all the
required files, a warning message displays.
  • Enter a unique name for the virtual machine or vApp, select a deployment location, and click Next on the Select a name and folder screen.

The virtual machine’s default name is the same as the name of the OVF or OVA template that was selected. Choose a name that is unique within each vCenter Server virtual machine folder if you alter the default name.

The inventory item where you started the process is the default deployment location for the virtual machine.

  • Select a compute resource to run the deployed VM template on the Select a compute resource screen, then click Next.
  • Verify the OVF or OVA template details on the Review details screen and then click Next.
PublisherPublisher of the OVF or OVA template, if a certificate included in the OVF or
OVA template file specifies a publisher.
Download sizeSize of the OVF or OVA file.
Size on diskSize on disk after you deploy the OVF or OVA template.
  • (Optional) Select a deployment configuration and click Next on the Configuration screen.
  • Define where and how the files for the deployed OVF or OVA template will be stored on the Select storage page.

a. Select the disk format for the virtual machine virtual disks.

Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed

Thick Provision Eager Zeroed

Thin Provision

b. Choose a virtual machine storage policy.

This option is only available if the destination resource’s storage policies are enabled.

c. (Optional) Select specific datastores from Storage DRS clusters for the virtual machine’s first deployment by enabling the Show datastores from Storage DRS clusters check box.

d. Choose a datastore where the deployed OVF or OVA template will be stored.

The datastore holds the configuration file and virtual disc files. Choose a datastore that can hold the virtual machine or vApp, as well as all associated virtual disc files.

  • Choose a source network and map it to a destination network using the Select networks page. Next should be clicked.

All of the networks defined in the OVF or OVA template are listed in the Source Network column.

  • (Optional) Customize the deployment properties of the OVF template and then click Next on the Customize template screen.
  • (Optional) Choose a binding service provider and click Next on the vService bindings page.
  • Review the page and click Finish on the Ready to complete page.

Final Result : In the Recent Tasks pane, a new task for building the virtual machine appears. The new virtual machine is constructed on the designated resource after the task is completed.

Export an OVF Template

An OVF template is a self-contained bundle that captures the state of a virtual machine or vApp.

The disk files are compressed and sparsely stored.


Power off the virtual machine or vApp.

Required privilege: vApp.Export


  • Select Template > Export OVF Template from the Actions menu of a virtual machine or vApp.
  • Type the template’s name in the Name area.

For example – Type MyVm

  • (Optional) Type a description in the Annotation field.
  • If you want to include more information or configurations in the exported template, click the Enable advanced options check box.

Information concerning the BIOS UUID, MAC addresses, boot order, PCI Slot numbers, and configuration options utilized by other apps are all included in the advanced settings. The mobility of these solutions is limited.

  • To save each file connected with the template, click OK and follow the prompts (.ovf, .vmdk, .mf).

Browse VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace

You can obtain and deploy virtual appliances packaged in OVF format from the Virtual Appliance Marketplace in your vSphere environment.


  1. Go to the VMware Solution Exchange and look for the Virtual Appliance Marketplace.
  2. Look through the Marketplace for a ready-to-use app.
  3. Log in to your account and download the appliance.
  4. In your vSphere environment, install the appliance.

Read more : Virtualization

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