Preparing x86 VMs and vApps for import

x86 The most common type of CPU for Windows and Linux VMs in Skytap Cloud. VM files must meet the import requirements listed below.

To prepare Power A particular type of CPU that supports AIX and Linux in Skytap Cloud. VMs for import, see Importing Power VMs into Skytap Cloud.


VM file format

Skytap Cloud supports OVA files, OVF packages, and VMX files that were created in a VMware hypervisor (VMware Server, VMware Workstation, VMware ESX, etc.).

You must convert images created in non-VMware hypervisors before you can import them. For instructions, see Converting non-VMware-based VMs for import.

An import job can contain multiple OVF packages, OVA files, or VMX files. Additionally, you can mix and match file types in an import job. During the import process, Skytap Cloud combines the VMs in the import job into a single environment.

Supported file type Description
An OVA file is a compressed file package that contains VM configuration information and all VM disks. An OVA file can contain multiple VMs (such as a multi-VM environment).
OVA files retain the most information while taking the least amount of time to upload.
  • From VMware Workstation:
    1. Click File > Export to OVF.
    2. In the File name field of the Export Virtual Machine to OVF dialog, change the file extensions from .ovf to .ova.
    3. Click Save. VMware Workstation compresses all of the virtual machine files to a single OVA file.
  • From vSphere: see the VMware vSphere documentation.
  • From VMware Fusion: see the VMware Fusion documentation.
OVF v1.0 or 1.1 with VMDK disks An OVF file must be imported with its VMDK disk images.
Manually created OVF files that contain multiple VMs are more likely to fail.
VMX with VMDK disks A VMX file must be imported with its VMDK disk images.


  • Do not use the following characters in your file names: ' " \ `.
  • During the import process, Skytap Cloud removes information included in the ExtraConfig element of each VM file.
Notes about VMDK disk image types
  • Skytap Cloud does not support 2gbsparse or monosparse VMDK disks. Use thin or thick-provisioned disks instead. For instructions about converting a disk, see the VMware KB for cloning or converting virtual disks.
  • During import, Skytap Cloud expands each thin-provisioned disk to its maximum size. For example, a thin-provisioned disk with 2 GB of usage but up to 10 GB of capacity will be expanded to 10 GB.
  • For more information about VMDK disks, see the VMware article about ESXi-supported disks.

Hardware version

Each VM must use VMware hardware version 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11.

Hardware version 11 is recommended for VMs. For more information, see Hardware version compatibility in Skytap Cloud.

Virtual hard disk type

When you build VMs, Skytap Cloud recommends that you choose the SCSI hard disk type.

Hard disk type Notes
A SCSI hard disk suspends and resumes more quickly than an IDE hard disk.
Additionally, a SCSI hard disk can be extended after import.
IDE An IDE hard disk cannot be extended after it is imported.
SATA Not supported.

Power state

Each VM in the import job must be powered off.

VM optimization

Before you export a VM, make sure it uses settings that work best when you import it into Skytap Cloud.

  • Remove snapshots or linked copies from VM files. Use VMware Workstation or the free VMware Converter tool to remove snapshots, or import a copy of the VM (copying a VM merges all snapshots into its VMDK files).
  • Leave one IDE interface available for Skytap Cloud to add a CD/DVD drive (to load ISOs).

    For more information, see Using ISO files.

  • If you don’t have manual networking defined for your VMs, configure the VMs to use DHCP networking. Skytap Cloud creates automatic networking for your environment.

File compression

Compression can reduce the amount of time it takes to upload VMs, especially if you have multiple VMs or large VMs with lots of empty disk space.

Compression format Description
OVA files
If you exported your VMs as OVA files, no further compression is necessary.
You can use the VMware OVF Converter Tool to compress a VMX-based VM into a single OVA file. For more information, see Using the VMware OVF Tool to compress a VMX-based VM to an OVA file.
7z files

The Advanced Import Appliance won't process 7z files. You can use 7z files only with the VM Imports page.

If you can't create OVA files, you can compress the OVF/VMDK or VMX/VMDK files into a 7z file, using the following settings:

  • Archive format: 7z
  • Compression level: Normal
  • Compression method: LZMA or LZMA2 (recommended)
7z Utilities
Zip files Not supported

VM size

If you are importing multiple VMs, the combined, uncompressed file size of the VM files must be less than 1 TB.

If you have a vApp larger than 1 TB, split the VM import into multiple import jobs.

MAC address restrictions

MAC addresses for all VM network adapters must meet the following requirements:

  • MAC addresses must begin with the hexadecimal digits 00:50:56.
  • The maximum value for a MAC address is 00:50:56:3F:FF:FF.
  • The valid MAC address range is 00:50:56:00:00:00 to 00:50:56:3F:FF:FF.