Exporting and Importing feature is available in all the virtualization software you use. This feature will be very useful when you want to copy and launch a configured VM from one machine to another machine.
This feature is very useful for me, as I have a lot of virtual machines running on VirtualBox for testing and writing articles, and for VM level protection I can take snapshots and protect my VM.
But if my Host machine crashes then I have to configure all the VM from scratch. It is a tedious task for me. So once I fully configure any VM I export it and save a copy in my external disk so when I lose the image I can import the image into VirtualBox.
Exporting and Importing Virtual Machines in Virtualbox
Virtualbox uses OVA file format which includes Descriptor file (OVF), Manifest File (MF), and other related files. This is a standard format used in many popular virtualization software too like Vmware. Exporting and Importing VM images can be done in few clicks.
Exporting Virtual Machines in Virtualbox
Go to File → Export Appliance or press “CTRL+E”.
You will get the list of Virtual Machines that can be exported. Press Expert Mode and configure all the options in a single window. You have to choose the virtualization format version, where your exported .ova file is going to be saved in the local file system.
Once you press Export, exporting process will be started.
You will see .ova file is created as a part of the export process.
$ ls -l *.ova -rw------- 1 linuxshelltips linuxshelltips 988830720 May 5 08:57 Fedora_34.ova
Importing Virtual Machines in Virtualbox
Now you can reprovision the image by importing the VM. Go to File → Import Appliance or press CTRL + I.
You have to choose the exported image and press Import.
You will see the disk image getting imported. It will take some time and that depends on your disk image size.
Now I have successfully imported the image and can now start running the VM straight away without any changes.
In the next article, we will see how to install PHP Virtualbox and manage Virtual Machines in PHP VirtualBox – a web-based user interface.