I had recently come across the need to deploy an OVA file remotely and didn’t want to have to upload the file over VPN to the destination vCenter, the solution is to install OVFTool on a server that has local access to the vCenter and deploy it using the following syntax:

ovftool.exe --acceptAllEulas -ds="[DATASTORE NAME HERE]" --net:"NAME OF OVA NETWORK"="NAME OF PORT GROUP" --prop:[PROPNAME]=[Value] \path\to\appliance.ova vi://vcsa.domain.com/DatacenterName/host/ClusterName

The easiest way to get a list of objects you must reference for --net and --prop values is by running (in this example I am testing a vSphere Data Protection 5.8 0 .ova):

ovftool.exe \path\to\appliance.ova

You will receive an output similar to the below:

Download Size:  4.58 GB

Deployment Sizes:
  Flat disks:   100.00 GB
  Sparse disks: 8.98 GB

Networks:
  Name:        Isolated Network
  Description: The Isolated Network network

Virtual Machines:
  Name:               vSphereDataProtection-0.0TB
  Operating System:   sles11_64guest
  Virtual Hardware:
    Families:         vmx-07
    Number of CPUs:   4
    Cores per socket: 1
    Memory:           4.00 GB

    Disks:
      Index:          0
      Instance ID:    11
      Capacity:       100.00 GB
      Disk Types:     SCSI-lsilogic

    NICs:
      Adapter Type:   VmxNet3
      Connection:     Isolated Network

Properties:
  ClassId:     vami
  Key:         gateway
  InstanceId   vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8
  Category:    Networking Properties
  Label:       Default Gateway
  Type:        string
  Description: The default gateway address for this VM.

  ClassId:     vami
  Key:         DNS
  InstanceId   vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8
  Category:    Networking Properties
  Label:       DNS
  Type:        string
  Description: The domain name servers for this VM (comma

  ClassId:     vami
  Key:         ip0
  InstanceId   vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8
  Category:    Networking Properties
  Label:       Network 1 IP Address
  Type:        string
  Description: The IP address for this interface.

  ClassId:     vami
  Key:         netmask0
  InstanceId   vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8
  Category:    Networking Properties
  Label:       Network 1 Netmask
  Type:        string
  Description: The netmask or prefix for this interface.

We are interested in a few key items from the above:

NICs:
  Adapter Type:   VmxNet3
  **Connection:     Isolated Network**

Our --net command would look like this for the above trigger:

--net:"Isolated Network"="{Port Group}"

Where {Port Group} is the name of your vSwitch Port Group you wish to assign the appliance to.

From the Properties section in the output we can see there 4 --prop triggers we are interested in - our --prop triggers would be constructed of 3 variables from each of the Properties sections:

  • ClassID
  • Key
  • InstanceID

each --prop trigger is constructed like so:

--prop:{ClassID}.{Key}.{InstanceID}={Value}

If we take Default Gateway as an example it would be constructed like so:

--prop:vami.gateway.vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8=10.0.0.1

You will of course chain the --prop triggers one after another in the command line.

Given an example datacenter our fully constructed ovftool.exe deployment command would look like this:

ovftool.exe --acceptAllEulas -ds="datastore1" \
--net:"Isolated Network"="DMZ" \
--prop:"vami.gateway.vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8"="10.0.2.1" \
--prop:"vami.DNS.vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8"="10.0.1.254" \
--prop:"vami.ip0.vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8"="10.0.2.150" \
--prop:"vami.netmask0.vSphere_Data_Protection_5.8"="255.255.255.0" \
\\nas\data\nfs\VMWare\vSphereDataProtection-5.8.ova \
vi://vcsa.domain.com/datacentername/host/clustername

Enter username and password (in URL safe mode - substitute special characters like / or ! for %2F or %21)

Deploy will run and show progress in CLI and vCenter

Why not follow @mylesagray on Twitter for more like this!