Deploying OVF's with the VMware OVF Tool

I finally got around to OVF’ing a Windows XP build. Although I have an unattended setup XP .iso which makes building XP VM’s hassle free and pretty fast, it’s obviously nowhere near as hassle free and fast as deploying from OVF!

Although you can import OVF’s with VMware Workstation, it’s a bit cumbersome. I’ve also had some wierd experiences with it, such as the “split disk into 2GB files” option being ticked and greyed out when I didn’t want the option selected (both for export and import operations). VMware Player is no better, as you can’t control where the OVF is deployed to. Back when we were developing statelesx, we used a Java based version of the OVF Tool from VMware to create the virtual appliance package. But someone at VMware has been quietly beavering away (I say quietly because I haven’t seen _any_ publicity from VMware about this tool), and it’s now at a 1.0.0 build (although still labelled as a “technology preview”).

And just like Boche, they’ve injected some steroids into the tool… for example (note I haven’t tried this… yet) you could pull an OVF straight off a webserver and plonk it onto a host, specifying datastore and portgroup details with:

ovfTool “http://my_ovf_server/ovfs/myAppliance.ovf” “vi://username:pass@my_vc_server/my_datacenter/host/my_host&datastore=my_datastore&net:ovf_network_name=vc_network_name”

So check it out, it’s a nice and fast way to deploy OVF’s locally for use with Workstation or Player, but also has some serious enterprise functionality.


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