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How do I convert a virtual appliance image in RAW format (in)directly to OVF/OVA format?

There is a tool called ovftools that allows the conversion from .ovf/.ova/.vmx to .ovf/.ova/.vmx. but it doesn't appear to support RAW disk as an input format.

Virtual Box also has VBoxManage allowing you to convert from VDI|VMDK|VHD|RAW to VDI|VMDK|VHD|RAW but nothing aboutOVF/OVA format.

I'm running Ubuntu/Debian GNU/Linux.

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migrated from Aug 29 '11 at 21:58

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One thing that I want to say before I go on in case of confusion is that RAW,VMDK,VHD,VDI are all (virtual*) hard drive files, where as OVF,OVA,.VMX are Virtual Machine settings files. An OVF File comes with a separate virtual hard drive (which can be in VMDK format, or one of a few others), where as a OVA file is a contained all in one virtual machine.

(* - Majority are virtual!)

I have personally not seen a Virtual Machine boot from a RAW drive before. If you can convert a RAW to a VMDK using VBoxManage I would the recommend using VMWare Player or Workstation (for sure) or Virtual Box (not so sure!) to create a new Virtual Machine and select the VMDK file you just converted.

Again, I am not sure what Virtual Box uses as it's default settings file, but, I know VMWare Workstation uses VMX, you should then have no problems using ovftools as you will have a new Virtual Machine with the correct hard drive.

After looking around, the only tool I could find is Live View which can convert a Raw file to a VMDK.

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Thanks for the answer, as you say .OVF and .VMX are configuration files and not disk images. OVA is overall packaging format. Conversion between images and configuration files are different things. After a more deep search I also found this project open-ovf that help me to create OVF/OVA. The virt-convert is very useful too. Regards! – Eduardo Lago Aguilar Aug 30 '11 at 19:36
I am not sure how clear I was - to sum up completely... What I was really trying to get across is that if you basically convert the raw to a VMDK, then set up a new virtual machine that points to that hard drive, it will generate a .vmx file. You can then convert that VMX to OVF, along with the VMDK virtual hard drive... so, you will do what you originally asked and be converting a RAW to OVF – William Hilsum Aug 30 '11 at 19:38
I understand your idea: RAW -> .VMDK along .VMX then VMX -> .OVF using the same .VMDK disk. At the beginning I was thinking that OVF is a disk image format, but I was wrong about it. Now I see that OVF is an standard to define/specify virtual machines and not a binary disk image format. – Eduardo Lago Aguilar Aug 30 '11 at 19:50

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