Last week I had a requirement to look at how to allow customers to export VM’s and vApps from our vCloud Director Zones without using the UI. I’ve known about the OVFTool for a while but never really had the need to use it in anger…for those that don’t know the OVFTool is a command line tool that has a powerful set of functions to import/export VMs and vApps from vCenter, ESXi and vCloud Director weather it be from a vCloud Air or vCloud Air Network Provider.

You can Download and install the tool from here:

Upon doing some research I found a bunch of posts relating to importing OVFs into vCloud Director, vCloud Air or vCenter’s but not a lot around the export side of things…after working through the Admin Guide and some examples I was ready to build out a basic export command and start work on the PowerShell Script. On Windows you can run the tool from CMD but I would suggest using PowerShell/CLI as in the example below I go through building a variable.

What Info is Required:

  • vCloud URL
  • vCloud Username and Password
  • Org Name
  • vDC Name
  • vApp Name

Note: The VM/vApp needs to be offline for the export process to take place.

Command Line Example:

Below is a basic example of how to construct the vCloud String and use it as a variable to execute the tool.

PowerShell Script:

Wanting to take it a step further to make it easier for our customers to download their vApps I put together a quick and nasty PowerShell Script that can be used for all ZettaGrid Zones. The output of the script can be seen below:


It’s a very basic script that acts to break down the required components that make up the vCloud Source Connection String and then saves the OVF to the same folder where the OVFTool is installed.

Save the code snippet as a .ps1 into the OFVTool Windows Folder and execute the script from the same location. If there are any errors with the inputs provided the OVFTool will fail with an error, but apart from that it’s a very simple straight forward way to export and download VMs and vApps from any vCloud Director enabled endpoint.

Behind the Scenes:

I thought it would be interesting to see what happens behind the scenes on the vCloud Director Cells when the OVFTool is brought in do it’s magic….When the OVFTool Authenticates against vCloud the following entries are seen in the cell.log of the active vCenter Proxy Cell.

When the Enable Download task is executed the cell begins to copy the vApp to the Cell Transfer directory which is the staging area vCloud Director uses for all VM/vApp related copy/move/import/export functions…During this copy the OVFTool displays the Waiting for Server Task status. If you where able to view the contents of the director created in the transfer location you would see the vmdk growing in size as shown below:

If you check into the vCloud Director UI and browse to the vApp you will see that the vApp is Busy with a status of Enabling Download.


Once the copy has finished the OFVTool starts the download and once that is complete (or there is an error) the files in the vCloud Director Transfer area are deleted. In my testing I haven’t witnessed any continuation or pick off where it last failed mechanism.

Feel free to take the script and do with it what you will…it can be pretty easily modified to connect to any vCloud Air Network Partner or vCloud Air its self.

Additional Reading: