Importing an OVF / OVA into Nutanix AHV using Prism

This article will show you how to import a virtual appliance that’s in the OVF or OVA format into the Nutanix AHV hypervisor, via the Image Service in Prism.

Extract the OVF / OVA

Once you have an OVF/OVA that you would like to use, extract it to display the vmdk file.

In the screenshot below, I used my Mac to extract an OVA file by using the built-in "tar" command on Mac OSX. For Windows, you can use WinRAR, or some other program like it that supports extracting a "tar" file, since that’s the format for OVF/OVA files.

Image Configuration in Prism

Once you have the OVF/OVA extracted, go into Prism and choose "Image Configuration", under the Gear icon (settings). This takes you to the Image Service. Here we’ll upload the vmdk from the OVF/OVA that you extracted, which will make it available as a "template" or "image" that you can clone into Virtual Machines.

For more information about the Image Service, check out: https://portal.nutanix.com/#/page/docs/details?targetId=Web_Console_Guide-Prism_v4_7:wc_image_configure_acropolis_wc_t.html

Note: The image service supports raw, vhd, vmdk, vdi, iso, and qcow2 disk formats- so you can put just about anything in there.

Uploading an image

Under the Image Configuration screen, choose the button that says "Upload Image".

On this screen, give this image a name (1). The "annotation" field is optional, basically like a label. Image Type should be "disk" (2). Choose which container the data will be stored on (3). Then choose "Upload a File" for the Image Source option. Click on "Choose File" and browse to your vmdk file that you extracted (4).

Once finished, click on the "Save" button which will upload the image to the Image Service and then activate the disk.

After uploading the disk image, if the state of the image shows "INACTIVE", just give it a minute. The Image Service is converting the image for use.

Once it’s done converting the image, it will show the state as "ACTIVE". This normally only takes a minute or two, even on very large vmdk’s.

Note– you’ll need to exit the Image Configuration screen and get back into it to see the refreshed state.

Creating a Virtual Machine

Now we’ll create a new Virtual Machine and use the image from the Image Service as a disk.

First, select the "VM" menu in Prism.

Select the button called "Create VM".

Enter the options into each field as follows:

Name (1) – Enter the name of the Virtual Machine

Description (2) – Optional, enter a description to identify the Virtual Machine

vCPU(s) (3) – Enter the number of vCPU’s that you’d like for the Virtual Machine. Since this information is usually given inside the OVF/OVA virtual appliance, you can see what the vendor recommends by opening the OVF file (that was extracted along with the vmdk) with a text editor. Then search for "CPU" which should show how many virtual cpu’s were assigned.

Number of Cores per vCPU (4) – Typically this is set to "1" unless required for licensing or some other use case.

Memory (5) – Enter the amount of RAM to assign to the Virtual Machine, in GiB format. Since this information is usually given inside the OVF/OVA virtual appliance, you can see what the vendor recommends by opening the OVF file (that was extracted along with the vmdk) with a text editor. Then search for "Memory" which should show how much RAM was assigned.

Scroll down in the Create VM screen for more options.

Disks (1) – To add a disk to the Virtual Machine, click on the "Add New Disk" button.

In the "Add Disk" screen, choose "Clone from Image Service" under the Operation section (1).

Bus Type should be SCSI for most modern operating systems (2).

Image (3) – Choose the virtual appliance disk that you created earlier.

Don’t worry about the "Size" option as that will fill in automatically.

Click on the "Add" button.

You will be returned to the "Create VM" screen. Here you should see the disk that you just added.

Under "Network Adapters (NIC)", choose the button "Add New NIC". On this screen, choose the correct VLAN and select it.

Once you are done with that, click on the "Save" button to save the virtual machine.

Powering On the Virtual Machine

Now it’s time to power on the virtual machine. Select the VM that you just created (1) and click on the "Power On" option (2).

All Finished!

Now the VM is powered on, you can click on the "Launch Console" option to launch an HTML5 console for the VM.

Virtual Machine Console

Here you can monitor the VM boot up and start configuring the application.