When you connect to an ESXi host by using the VMware Host Client, you can deploy virtual machines from OVF, VMDK, and OVA files.

OVF and OVA Limitations for the VMware Host Client

Several limitations are applicable to this deployment method.

OVA Limitations

You can upload OVA files by using either a Web browser or a client. The memory requirements are significant and might cause the Web browser to stop responding or make the system unstable. The size of the OVA file that can be uploaded depends on how much memory is available on your system. VMware tests show that Google Chrome can upload OVA files of about 1 gigabyte. Mozilla Firefox can extract larger OVA files, but might become unresponsive.

To deploy a large OVA file, VMware recommends to first extract the OVA on your system by running the command tar -xvf <file.ova>. Then you can provide the deployment wizard with the OVF and VMDKs as separate files.

OVF Limitations

The size of OVF files that a Web browser can upload are also limited. Different Web browsers have different file size limits. Mozilla Firefox has a 4 GB limit. Google Chrome can handle larger files and there is no documented limit.

Deploy a Virtual Machine from an OVF or OVA File in the VMware Host Client

Use the New Virtual Machine wizard to deploy virtual machines from OVF and VMDK files, or from OVA files.

OVA deployment is limited to files under 1 GB in size due to Web browser limitations. To deploy an OVA file greater than 1 GB, extract the OVA file using tar and provide the OVF and VMDK files separately.


  1. Right-click Host in the VMware Host Client inventory and select Create/Register VM.
    Drop-down list showing Create/Register VM option
  2. On the Select creation type page, select Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file and click Next.
  3. On the Select OVF and VMDK files page, provide a unique name for the virtual machine.
    Note: Virtual machine names can contain up to 80 characters.
  4. To select an OVF and VMDK, or an OVA file to deploy, click the blue pane.
    Your local system storage opens.
  5. Select the file that you want to deploy your virtual machine from and click Open.
    The file you selected appears in the blue pane.
  6. Click Next.
  7. On the Select storage page, select the storage type for the virtual machine.
    1. To save all the virtual machine disks and configuration files on a standard datastore, click the Standard button.
    2. To save the virtual machine hard disks on the host-local PMem datastore, click the Persistent Memory button.
    3. Select a datastore from the list and click Next.
      Important: The configuration files cannot be stored on a PMem datastore. If you choose to use PMem, you must select a regular datastore for the configuration files of the virtual machine.
  8. On the Deployment options page, select the network mappings, disk provisioning, and whether you want the virtual machine to power on after deployment.
  9. Click Next.
  10. On the Ready to complete page, review the details and click Finish.


The virtual machine appears in the VMware Host Client inventory under Virtual Machines.