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 will take you through many of the usual steps needed to create a new VM in XenCenter: nominating a home server, and configuring storage and networking for the new VMs, plus some additional steps required as part of the OVF import process, including:

  • Specifying security settings if the OVF package includes a certificate or a manifest.
  • Configuring networking for the Transfer VM. See About VM Import and Export.
  • Specifying Operating system fixup settings if importing VMs that were built on a hypervisor other than Citrix Hypervisor.

See Creating a New VM for an overview of the steps involved in creating a new VM.

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


  • You need an RBAC role of Pool Admin to import OVF/OVA packages. The Import wizard will perform checks to ensure that you have a Pool Admin role in the destination pool before allowing you to continue. See RBAC overview for more information about RBAC roles.
  • When importing an OVF Package that was compressed or contains compressed files, additional free disk space is necessary on your Citrix Hypervisor host to decompress the files.

To 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 extension), then click Next to continue.
    • If you select a compressed OVA file ( *.ova.gz ), on clicking Next, the file will be decompressed to an OVA file and the old *.ova.gz file will be deleted.
    • If you enter a URL location (http, https, file, ftp) in the Filename box, on clicking Next, a Download Package dialog box opens and you must specify a folder on your XenCenter host where the package will be copied.
  3. Review/accept EULA(s).

    If the package you are importing includes any EULAs, accept them and then click Next to continue. If no EULAs are included in the package, the wizard will skip this step and move straight on to the next page.

  4. Specify the VM location and home server. On the Location page, choose the pool or standalone server where you want to place the VMs you are importing from the Import VM(s) to list, and (optionally) assign them a home server:
    • To nominate a home server for a VM, select the server from the list in the Home Server column. Citrix Hypervisor will always attempt to start up a VM on its home server if it can. See Home Server for more information on assigning a home server to new VMs.

    • If you do not want to nominate a home server, select Don’t assign a home server from the list in the Home Server column.

      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 will be placed, then click Next to continue.
    • To place all the imported disk images on the same SR, click 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, click Place imported VMs on the specified SR targets then, 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. The Network and MAC address shown in the list of incoming VMs on this page 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 and then click 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; click 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 the 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.

    Note that when 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.

    Important: 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 will cause the import fail.

  8. Enable Operating System Fixup. If the VMs in the package you are importing were built on a hypervisor other than Citrix Hypervisor, select the Use Operating System Fixup check box and select an ISO SR where the Fixup ISO can be copied so that Citrix Hypervisor can use it. See Operating System Fixup for more information about this feature.

    If the ISO library you want is not listed, click New ISO Library to create a new ISO SR; see ISO Storage for more information about using this option.

    Click Next to continue.

  9. Configure Transfer VM networking. On the Transfer VM Settings page, configure the networking settings for the About VM Import and Export, then click Next to continue.
    • Select a network from the list of network interfaces available in the destination pool or standalone server.
    • To use automated Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to automatically assign networking settings including the IP address, subnet mask and gateway, select Automatically obtain network settings using DHCP.

    • To configure networking settings manually, click Use these network settings and enter the IP address, subnet mask and gateway.
  10. On the Finish page, review all the import settings and then click 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 may take some time, depending 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 will appear in the Resources pane and the new vApp will appear in the Managing vApps dialog box.

    Note: After using XenCenter to import an OVF package that contains Windows operating systems, you must set the platform parameter. This will vary according to the version of Windows contained in the OVF package:

    • Set the platform parameters as follows:

       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 (see About VM Import and Export for more information about this feature.)

Import VMs From OVF/OVA