VMware

VMware OVF Tool Release Notes

Release date: 17 APR 2018 | Build number: 7948156
Version 4.3.0. Last document update: 19 APR 2018
Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

Contents

Note: On Windows systems the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 is required to run this version of OVF Tool. If not available on your system, you can download and install the appropriate 32-bit or 64-bit package from Microsoft.com.

New Features in This Release

OVF Tool 4.3 is an update to support vSphere 6.7. This software handles Open Virtualization Format (OVF) packages created with previous versions of the OVF Tool, and produces files compatible with OVF specifications 1.0 and 0.9.

OVF Tool 4.3 provides these new features for security and functionality:

  • SHA digest mismatch eliminated; see resolved issues below.
  • Updated Curl library version 7.56 to incorporate the latest security enhancements.
  • Better logging for all events especially when errors occur during deployment.
  • Virtualization based security (VBS) and trusted platform module (TPM) in vSphere 6.7.
  • Support for non-volatile memory (NVM) and persistent memory (PMEM) datastores.

OVF Tool 4.2 gained these new features with the release of vSphere 6.5 U1.

  • Retry for uploading large files (> 10GB) into vCloud Director.
  • New NVRAM support for the UEFI boot type, including secure boot.
  • The allowAllExtraConfig flag replaced by allowExtraConfig only.

System Requirements for OVF Tool

OVF Tool supports the following operating systems and software.

Supported Operating Systems

The OVF Tool supports the following Windows 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) operating systems:

  • Windows 10 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64)
  • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 64-bit
  • Windows 8.1 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit
  • Windows 7 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64)

The OVF Tool supports the following Linux operating systems:

  • CentOS 7.1 and earlier
  • Fedora 22 and earlier
  • Oracle Linux 7.1
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.1 and earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12.1 and earlier
  • Ubuntu 15.04 and earlier
  • VMware Project Photon

The OVF Tool supports the following Mac OS X 64-bit operating systems:

  • Mac OS X 10.11
  • Mac OS X 10.10
  • Mac OS X 10.9

Supported VMware Products and Platforms

Version 4.3 of the OVF Tool supports the following VMware software:

  • vSphere 6.7, 6.5, 6.0, and 5.5
  • vCloud Director 8.20, 8.10, 8.0, 5.6, and 5.5 (source from OVF or OVA types only)
  • ESXi 6.7, 6.5, 6.0, and 5.5
  • vCloud Suite 6.5, 6.0, and 5.5
  • Horizon View 5.x, 6.x, and 7.x
  • VMware Workstation 12.x
  • VMware Fusion 8.x
  • App Volumes 3.0, 2.11, 2.10, and 2.9
  • VMware Studio can generate OVF packages.

OVF support is built into the vSphere (Web) Client that installs from vCenter Server. It is compatible with vSphere and ESXi hosts. Newer versions of vSphere supply later versions of the OVF Tool.

Space Requirements for OVF Packages

A virtual machine is stored as a set of files on disk. In the VMware runtime format, these files have extensions .vmx, .vmdk, .vmsd, .vmxf, and .nvram. The VMware hypervisor requires these file formats, which are optimized for efficient execution. An ESXi host often uses fully allocated flat disks in a VMFS file system to optimize virtual machine performance.

The OVF standard supports efficient, secure distribution of vApps and virtual machine templates. OVF is optimized for these goals, rather than for efficient runtime execution. OVF does not include specific information on runtime disk format because such information is not required until the virtual machine is deployed. When you package appliances with OVF, you can optimize one vApp for high performance in a production environment, and optimize another for minimal storage space during evaluation.

The following table contrasts a virtual machine in VMware file format with a virtual machine in OVF format. OVF employs a compressed sparse format for VMDK files. Virtual disks in that format cannot be used directly for execution without conversion.

VMware Format OVF Format OVA Format
Files LinuxAppliance.nvram
LinuxAppliance.vmdk
LinuxAppliance-s001.vmdk
LinuxAppliance-s002.vmdk
LinuxAppliance.vmsd
LinuxAppliance.vmx
LinuxAppliance.vmxf
LinuxAppliance.ovf
LinuxAppliance-0.vmdk
LinuxAppliance-1.vmdk
LinuxAppliance-2.vmdk
LinuxAppliance.ova
Total Size 251MB using thin provisioning
4000MB using thick provisioning
132MB 132MB

Installing the OVF Tool

Download the Installer

  1. Download the VMware OVF Tool as an installer or an archive (zipped/compressed) file:
    Operating System Download Filename
    Linux 32-bit VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-lin.i386.bundle
    Linux 64-bit VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-lin.x86_64.bundle
    OS X 64-bit VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-mac.x64.dmg
    Windows 32-bit VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-win.i386.msi
    Windows 64-bit VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-win.x86_64.msi
  2. Install the downloaded file using the appropriate method for your operating system:
    Operating System Download Filename
    Linux 32 bit Run the shell script as ./VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-lin.i386.bundle
    Linux 64-bit Run the shell script as ./VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-lin.x86_64.bundle
    Mac OS X 64-bit Double-click the package installer, VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-mac.x64.dmg
    Windows 32 bit Double-click the installation file, VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-win.i386.msi
    Windows 64-bit Double-click the installation file, VMware-ovftool-4.3.0-*-win.x86_64.msi

Complete the Installation Steps

Follow this procedure for all installations:

  1. At the Welcome screen, click Next.
  2. At the license agreement, read the license agreements, select “I agree...” and click Next.
  3. Accept the path suggested or change to a path of your choice and click Next.
  4. When you finish choosing your installation options, click Install.
  5. When the installation is complete, click Next.
  6. Deselect Show the readme file if you do not want to view the readme file, and click Finish to exit.

Running the OVF Tool from a Windows Command Line

After installing the OVF Tool on Windows, you can run the OVF Tool from the Windows command line.

  1. From the Start menu, click Run.
  2. In the Run dialog, enter cmd to open the Windows command line tool.

If you have the OVF Tool folder in your Path environment variable, you can run the OVF Tool from the command line.

Adding the OVF Tool to your Path Environment Variable

The following instructions are for Windows 7, but the steps are similar on other Windows systems.

  1. Right-click My Computer.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Select Advanced system settings.
  4. Select Environment Variables.
  5. Highlight (select) the Path variable in the System variable (lower) pane.
  6. Click the Edit button and type the path to the folder where you installed the OVF Tool (at the end of the existing path).

Resolved Issues in this Release

Support for NVM or PMEM storage type and devices was extended in vSphere 6.7. Features are in the OVF parser shared by OVF Tool, ESXi, and vCenter Server. The ovftool command itself does not contain anything specific to PMEM, but it uses the parser, either in vSphere or locally, for OVF to/from VMX conversions.

OVF Tool ignored a host exception, sometimes causing read errors after VM deployment. After network disconnect and reconnect, if the ESXi host failed a write and responded with status code 500, the ovftool close function ignored the error, resulting in a partially written file and non-bootable VM. Although an exception should not be thrown after network reconnect, the fix was to pass along the write exception when closing a deployed file, informing the host that OVF import failed.

Deployment sometimes failed with secure hash algorithm (SHA) digest mismatch. Previously an OVF file transfer would complete but this error prevented deployment: “SHA digest of file https://location does not match manifest.” The fix was to alter the HTTP head request and use it in the URL, thereby avoiding the SHA mismatch.

The NVRAM file was not exported correctly for UEFI type virtual machines. The fix was to extend the OVF template to include components for UEFI boot enabled virtual machines in the nvram file.

When an OVF template is deployed from Content Library, the PMEM storage policy, and other storage policies, are disregarded. Storage policies are applied by OVF Tool but not supported for Content Library import. See KB 52370.

When it encounters an HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP style URL, OVF Tool now treats it as OVF source type, which it usually is.

On some systems the .img suffix indicates a disc image file, synonymous with .iso, so OVF Tool now treats it as such.

On rare occasions the OVF Tool would hang, sometimes for days. The cause is unknown, but the fix was simple: avoid entering a loop if zero worker threads exist.

Known Issues in This Version

As of release 6.5 U1, the ovftool option --allowAllExtraConfig is no longer supported. The All option never never worked as designed, so it was deprecated. The workaround is to use --allowExtraConfig instead to import additional configurations.

Although it supports OVF specifications 0.9 and 1.0, OVF Tool does not support OVF specification 2.0 (not to be confused with OVF Tool version 2.0). For workarounds to allow import of VirtualBox OVF 2.0, see this web page.

The ovftool --proxy=proxy.example.com option does not work when used within vSphere. To make a network connection through the proxy server, you must also use the --X:viUseProxy option as documented in the OVF Tool User's Guide.

You cannot use OVF Tool for deploying a VM to static DVS port groups. To work around this issue:

  1. Use vCenter Server to create an ephemeral port on the desired network.
  2. Deploy the appliance to that port group on an ESXi host.
  3. Switch the appliance over to the static port group.
  4. Use vCenter Server to delete the ephemeral port group.

Deprecated Features

The --allowAllExtraConfig option was deprecated in vSphere 6.5 U1.

ESXi and vCenter Server versions older than 5.5 are deprecated; the next release will not support them.

Support for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 was discontinued in the previous release of OVF Tool, version 4.2.