The hardware family of the OVF package is not supported – importing an ovf virtual machine

Okay – some background and some confusion.

The ovf format pops up when you are running ESX and select import virtual appliance and are given the options

Import from the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace
Import from file
Import from url

and you realise that all these options relate to an ovf packaged virtual machine.

According to VMware

What is OVF?

With the rapid adoption of virtualization, there is a great need for a standard way to package and distribute virtual machines. VMware and other leaders in the virtualization field have created the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), a platform independent, efficient, extensible, and open packaging and distribution format for virtual machines.

OVF enables efficient, flexible, and secure distribution of enterprise software, facilitating the mobility of virtual machines and giving customers vendor and platform independence. Customers can deploy an OVF formatted virtual machine on the virtualization platform of their choice.

With OVF, customers’ experience with virtualization is greatly enhanced, with more portability, platform independence, verification, signing, versioning, and licensing terms. OVF lets you:

Improve your user experience with streamlined installations
Offer customers virtualization platform independence and flexiblity
Create complex pre-configured multi-tiered services more easily
Efficiently deliver enterprise software through portable virtual machines
Offer platform-specific enhancements and easier adoption of advances in virtualization through extensibility

The portability and interoperability inherent in OVF will enable the growth of the virtual appliance market as well as virtualization as a whole.

So importing a machine in this way through Virtual Center (now Vcenter) client is a quick and easy way ( lets say nothing about the dearth of ovf format appliances on the VMware marketplace).

So where does the “The hardware family of the OVF package is not supported” error come from. I’ve seen reports of importing from VM Fusion vms but my issue arose when I got a Redhat EL4 VM with Oracle tools and database installed in it. When I ran Convertor on it – I ended up with an ESX VM with an error “unable to locate operating system”.

So I thought why not try the ovftool utility ?

Why not indeed ?

After checking that all was well with the vm by starting up in VMware workstation – it started fine

Downloaded the tool from here and installing allowed me to run a conversion of the problematic vm as follows on a windows vista machine

ovftools c:oracle.vmx c:oracle.ovf

(note if your path has spaces enclose everything in double quotes)

the conversion of the vm will complete

Once finished I tried to import this ovf via the Vcenter client – and thats where the “The hardware family of the OVF package is not supported” is displayed. So what next.


Well I think this step may well work for other variants of the message. Use the converter tool to convert a virtual appliance !! This now gives me a booting working esx based vm.

I suspect this approach may be required for other problem vms.