What is OVA file? How to open OVA file? How to use OVA file? What are the advantages and disadvantages of OVA file? If you are looking for the answers to the above questions, you can refer to this post.

What Is the OVA file?

OVA files are virtual appliances used by virtualization applications such as VMware Workstation and Oracle VM Virtualbox. It is a package containing files that describe a virtual machine, including an .OVF descriptor file, optional manifest (.MF) and certificate files, and other related files.

OVA files are saved in the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), a standard format for packaging and distributing software that runs in virtual machines. OVA files are simply OVF directories packaged with .TAR in a single archive for distribution purposes.

There are some advantages of OVA file:

  • OVA files are compressed for faster downloads.
  • The vSphere Client validates the OVA file before importing it and ensures that it is compatible with the intended target server. If the device is not compatible with the selected host, it cannot be imported and an error message is displayed.
  • OVAs can encapsulate multi-tier applications and multiple virtual machines.

Tip: To get more information about other types of files, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

How to Open OVA File

VMware Workstation and VirtualBox are two virtualization applications that can open OVA files. Some other similar programs that support OVF include VMware’s OVF Tool, HCL SmartCloud, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

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How to Use OVA File

How to Import OVA File

To use OVA files in VirtualBox, you need to import them and let VirtualBox configure the files as needed. The process is very simple.

  • If you don’t already have VirtualBox, download and install it.
  • Open VirtualBox and select File > Import Devices….
  • Now select your OVA file in the import box and verify the settings in the central window.
  • Make any changes in this center window, if necessary.
  • Click Import at the bottom.
  • Allow VirtualBox to import the file, then configure it for use.
  • Importing OVA files may take some time.

When you select the OVA file to import, the main details of the VM appear in the center of the import box. You can change some details but not others. If you don’t change them here, you can modify some of them later in VirtualBox’s main settings menu.

How to Export OVA File

By default, VirtualBox uses .VDI files for its VM images. In addition to importing from OVA files, it can also export to OVA files. It converts .VDI to OVF which is interchangeable with OVA, so you can freely use the image in a different computer or VM program.

  1. Go to File > Export Devices….
  2. Now, select the virtual machine to export and click Next.
  3. Then, confirm or edit the details on the next screen and click Next again.
  4. Next, you can edit the description on this screen or simply click Export.
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ISO File vs OVA File

What are the differences between the ISO file and OVA file?

OVA files contain a compressed version of a virtual machine. When you open an OVA file, the virtual machine is extracted and imported into the virtualization software installed on your computer. An ISO file is a disc image file that can contain the entire contents of a DVD, CD, or Blu-ray Disc and is usually part of an OVA file.

Final Words

Here are all details about the OVA file. You have known how to open/import/export it in VirtualBox. I hope that this post can be helpful to you.

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