Import VMs From OVF/OVA

You can import virtual machines (VMs) that have been saved as OVF/OVA files using the Import wizard. The wizard takes you through many of the usual steps needed to create a VM in XenCenter: configuring storage and networking for the new VMs, plus some additional steps required as part of the OVF import process, including:

  • Reviewing/accepting any EULAs.
  • Specifying security settings if the OVF package includes a certificate or a manifest.
  • Specifying Operating system fixup settings if importing VMs that were built on a hypervisor other than a XenServer host.

For detailed information about each of these steps, see Creating a New VM.

Imported OVF packages appear as vApps when imported using XenCenter. When the import is complete, the new VMs appear in the XenCenter Resources pane and the new vApp appears in the Managing vApps dialog box.


It might not always be possible to run an imported VM that was exported from another server with a different CPU type. For example, a Windows VM created on a server with an Intel VT CPU, then exported, might not run when imported to a server with an AMD-V CPU.


  • To be able to import VMs from an OVF/OVA package, you require certain permissions. The Import wizard performs checks to ensure that you have a required role in the destination pool before allowing you to continue. For more information about the RBAC roles that are required, see Definitions of RBAC roles and permissions.

Import an OVF package

  1. Open the Import wizard: on the File menu, select Import.
  2. On the first page of the wizard, locate the package you want to import (with a .ovf, .ova or .ova.gz file name extension), then select Next to continue.
    • If you select a compressed OVA file ( *.ova.gz ), on clicking Next, the file is decompressed to an OVA file and the old *.ova.gz file is deleted.
    • If you enter a URL location (HTTP, HTTPS, file, FTP) in the Filename box, on clicking Next, a Download Package dialog opens. Use this dialog to specify a folder on your XenCenter host where the package is to be copied.
  3. Review/accept EULAs. Accept the EULAs and then select Next to continue.

    If no EULAs are included in the package, the wizard skips this step and moves straight on to the next page.

  4. Optional: Specify the VM location. On the Location page, choose the pool or standalone server where you want to place the VMs you are importing from the Import VMs to list.

    Click Next to continue.

  5. Configure storage for the imported VMs. On the Storage page, select one or more storage repositories (SRs) where the disk images for the imported VMs are to be placed, then select Next to continue.
    • To place all the imported disk images on the same SR, select Place all imported VMs on this target SR and select an SR from the list.

    • To place the disk images of incoming VMs onto different SRs, select Place imported VMs on the specified SR targets. For each virtual disk, select the target SR from the list in the SR column.

  6. Configure networking for the imported VMs. On the Networking page, map the virtual network interfaces in the VMs you are importing to target networks in the destination pool/standalone server. The Network and MAC address shown in the list of incoming VMs are stored as part of the definition of the original (exported) VM in the export file. To map an incoming virtual network interface to a target network, select a network from the list in the Target network column.

    Click Next to continue.

  7. Specify security settings. If the selected OVF/OVA package is configured with security features such as certificates or a manifest, specify the necessary information on the Security page. Select Next to continue. Different options appear on this page depending on which security features have been configured on the OVF package:

    • If the package is signed, a Verify digital signature check box appears here; select this check box if you want to verify the signature. Click View Certificate to display the certificate used to sign the package. If the certificate appears as untrusted, it is likely that either the Root Certificate or the Issuing Certificate Authority is not trusted on the local computer.

    • If the package includes a manifest, a Verify manifest content check box appears here. Select this check box to have the wizard verify the list of files in the package.

    When the packages are digitally signed, the associated manifest is verified automatically and so the Verify manifest content check box does not appear on the Security page.


    VMware Workstation 7.1 produces an OVF appliance with a manifest that has invalid SHA-1 hashes. Choosing to verify the manifest when importing an appliance from this source causes the import fail.

  8. Enable Operating System Fixup. If the VMs in the import package are built on a hypervisor other than the XenServer server, select Use Operating System Fixup. Choose an ISO SR where the Fixup ISO can be copied so that XenServer can use it.

    If the ISO library you want is not listed, select New ISO Library to create an ISO SR. For more information, see ISO Storage.

    Click Next to continue.

  9. On the Finish page, review all the import settings, and then select Finish to begin the import process and close the wizard.

    The import progress is displayed on the status bar at the bottom of the XenCenter window and also on the Events view under Notifications.

    The import process can take some time. The import time depends on the size of the imported virtual disks, the available network bandwidth, and the disk interface speed of the XenCenter host. When the import is finished, the newly imported VMs appear in the Resources pane and the new vApp appears in the Managing vApps dialog.


After using XenCenter to import an OVF package that contains Windows operating systems, you must set the platform parameter:

xe vm-param-set uuid=<VM UUID> platform:device\_id=0002

xe vm-param-set uuid=<VM UUID> platform:viridian=true

Errors when trying to start an imported VM

If you cannot boot the VMs imported from an OVF package, try importing the package again without using the Operating System Fixup feature: in the OS Fixup Settings page of the Import wizard, clear the Use Operating System Fixup check box. For more information, see About VM Import and Export.

Import VMs From OVF/OVA