How to back up your virtual images and rapidly deploy them for future use. This is done with the use of OVF (Open Virtualization Format) templates. OVF is platform independent and allows for streamline deployment of virtual images even with a complex setup. Case in point in this example I am creating three OVFs. One for an Oracle Database Server, one for a SQL-2008/2012 server and one for a Windows-2008R2 DNS server. This will allow me to quickly deploy these images on my ESXi server. They also serve as a backup in case for some reason I completely lose these virtual images from my ESXi host.
Part 1 – Creating an OVF template.
1) Open your Vsphere client. Select the Virtual machine you wish to create an OVF template. Then go to File – Export – OVF template . Select the location of where you wish to store this OVF for feature use.
2) Wait for OVF templates to be completed. In my case I create three OVFs as shown below in the screenshot.
Deploying an OVF teamplate
1) Open your Vsphere center. Go to File and select Deploy OVF template. Select the OVF you wish to deploy.
2) Give it a name. This name will be shown in your ESXi virtual inventory. This is not the Hostname for your Virtual Machine.
3) Select under which Resource Pool it will go under; if you defined one that is.
4) Select if you wish the type of Disk Provisioning. Thick and Eager Provision provides the biggest performance at the cost of Hard Drive space. Thin provisioning provides less performance but saves Hard Drive space.
5) Review your settings at the final window and press Finish.