Sometimes we need to share or upload our VirtualBox virtual machines with others, creating images helps for this purpose. This post explains how to create VirtualBox image that can be shared, uploaded and imported by other hosts. Each virtual machine contains VM’s configuration, virtual disk, snapshot, log and other temporary files. The location of these files can be anywhere on a computer as log as they are accessible.
Copying these files manually and editing configuration file may help to move or share the virtual machine, but its not the professional way. Creating a VirtualBox image is the ideal and professional way to archive this.
VirtualBox got a built in export feature which can export the virtual machine in OVF (Open Virtualization Format). OVF will work on other hosts with VirtualBox and other OVF supported products.
When you create a VirtualBox Image with export feature, it creates OVF and virtual hard disk (VMDK) file for specific virtual machine, no matter how many snapshots available across the different locations. Therefore sharing and importing of VMs on other hosts will be easy with these images.
Steps Involved in How to Create VirtualBox Image
1) Go to File menu and select Export Appliance.
2) On the next screen select the virtual machine you want to create a image.
3) Next screen allows to modify the options in exporting VirtualBox image. You can modify the values by double clicking on them.
4) Select the location of OVF file in next screen. Virtual hard disk file VMDK also will be saved here. The current OVF format version is 1.0 and supported by latest VirtualBox visions, if you want to use with older versions or other desktop virtualization products which supports 0.9 OVF format, then select the 0.9 option.
5) Creating image process starts with progress bar as shown below.
6) The converted whole virtual machine image saved like below in selected location.
In this example, my virtual machine ubuntu10.10 got several snapshot files, but with the above two files, all the configurations, hard disk and snapshot files included.
I’m sure this post is very simple and straight forward in how to create VirtualBox image. The above OVF file can be imported by ‘Import Appliance’ option in VirtualBox console menu.
Do share your issues and success stories on creating VirtualBox image by this method.