Virtualization tip [EMC Data Domain] – Converting VMWare appliances (OVA, OVF/VMX) to import on Virtualbox

There are a couple of appliances that are nice to be deployed in a private test environment, such as HP Virtual Storage Appliance P4500, EMC Data Domain among others. Mere mortals like myself use Virtualbox at home, so these steps demonstrate how to convert such appliances to be run on Virtualbox instead of VMware ESXI or vSphere.

In this example I’ll be using EMC Data Domain appliance. The software required are listed below:
1.) The OVF Tool:
2.) VMWare Converter:
3.) The appliance itself, in this case data domain:

Now you have to start CMD and navigate to the folder where you installed the OVF Tool (Default path is c:\Program Files\VMware). Here is an example of a convertion from OVA to OVF and in the end the VMDK will be present as well.

c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware OVF Tool>ovftool.exe --allowExtraConfig "C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-" "C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-"
Opening OVA source: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-
The manifest validates
Source is signed but could not verify certificate (possibly self-signed)
Opening OVF target: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-
Writing OVF package: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-
Transfer Completed
 - ExtraConfig options exists in source.
Completed successfully

At this point you can create a VM and attach the VMDK for most cases. I’ll keep going to change a couple of things… so let’s move on to conversion from OVF to VMX.

Note: I’ve changed the destination to the folder C:\Users\user\Documents to avoid conflicts with VMDK. I also added the –lax option to avoid the process from stopping due to errors that we can deal with later on.

c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware OVF Tool>ovftool.exe --allowExtraConfig --lax "C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-" "C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-"
Opening OVF source: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-vsphere-\ddve-
The manifest validates
Opening VMX target: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-
Info: An end-user license agreement

EMC Software License Agreement
 Free Software

 This EMC Software License Agreement (the "Agreement") is a legal
 agreement between EMC Corporation, with a principal office at 176
 South Street, Hopkinton, MA 01748 USA ("EMC") and you and the
 organization on whose behalf you are accessing this Agreement (the
 "Customer") and governs Customer's access to, downloading of, and use
 of any and all components, associated media, printed materials,
 documentation, and programming accessed via the EMC software (the
 By clicking on the "Agree" or check box or similar button set forth
 below, or by downloading, installing, or using the Software, you are
 representing to EMC that (i) you are authorized to legally bind the
 Customer, and (ii) you are agreeing on behalf of the Customer that the
 terms of this Agreement shall govern the relationship of the parties
 with regard to the Software.
 If you do not have authority to agree to the terms of this Agreement,
 or do not accept the terms of this Agreement, click on the "Cancel" or
 similar button or discontinue your efforts to download the Software,
 9.8 Separability - If any provision of this Agreement shall be held
 illegal or unenforceable, such provision shall be deemed separable
 from, and shall in no way affect or impair the validity or
 enforceability of, the remaining provisions.
 Free S/W NP Rev 20150518

Accept end-user license agreement?
Write 'yes' or 'no' (write 'read' to reread the EULA):
 - Hardware compatibility check is disabled.
 - Line 97: Unsupported virtual hardware device 'VirtualSCSI'.
Writing VMX file: C:\Users\user\Documents\ddve-
Progress: 9%

It will take some time depending on your hardware… in my case it took over 30 minutes.

Once it completes, open the vmware converter, click on “Convert machine”, select “powered off”, change the type to “VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine” and finally browse to where you saved the VMX file. The image below show exactly how to do it. After you’ve done these steps, click “Next”.


Now just change the type to “VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine”, enter a name and a destination folder. Then click next.


On the next screen you can change configuration for your VM. I have left the defaults 2 vCPUs with 6GB of RAM… I just  changed the NICs from Bridged to NAT because I prefer to have my VMs on a different subnet. But that’s up to you. Just click next and you will see the summary screen like in the image below. Just click Finish to start the actual convertion.


Wait for the job to complete…


Create a VM on Virtualbox using the same settings (2 vCPUs, 6GB of RAM and 2 NICs in Bridge mode or NAT depending on your network) and attach the 2 VMDKs to a SATA controller. In the image below is an example of my setup.


Now you just have to start the VM. It may take a long time to perform the first boot.


Hope this helps…


About Bruno Carvalho

Coffee addicted tech guy.
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