It’s sometimes necessary (say you’ve been working on a VM on your local workstation in either VMWare Fusion, or VMWare Workstation) to move the VM you’ve been playing with to an ESXi instance to either move into development or to have it properly backed up etc.

The easiest way I find to do this is create a .ova file from the VM i’ve been working on.

First install the VMWare OVATool found here on whatever flavour your OS is (sign in required): ↗

Once it’s running, navigate to the install folder (i’m using OSX, if you use Windows I assume it’s installed in the system path and you can execute it directly from any directory) and the syntax is as follows:

./ovftool [original .vmx location and filename] [new .ova location and filename]

So in my case I was working on the wonderful YubiX authentication virtual appliance ↗:

./ovftool ~/Documents/vms/yubix.vmx ~/Documents/vms/yubix.ova

The output will be somewhat similar to the below:

$ ./ovftool ~/Documents/vms/yubix.vmx ~/Documents/vms/yubix.ova
Opening VMX source: /Users/graym/Documents/vms/yubix.vmx
Opening OVA target: /Users/graym/Documents/vms/yubix.ova
Writing OVA package: /Users/graym/Documents/vms/yubix.ova
Transfer Completed                    
Completed successfully

Then I just used the deploy OVF Template wizard in vSphere Web Client.

VMWare Deploy OVF Template

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