Importing VMs

How it Works

When you want to import a VM, prepare your VM for import and then go to VM Import and click your way through the steps.

You’ll find:

  • CloudShare validates your OVF file very quickly and tells you straight away if there’s a problem with it.

  • Your heavy disk files will be uploaded in the background, after you’re done.

  • CloudShare connects the VM automatically to Cloud Folders and the CloudShare network.

  • CloudShare creates a template ready to add to a new or existing environment.

Check That Your VM is CloudShare Compatible

If your VM meets these requirements, you can import it to CloudShare.

Supported VM Formats
  • VMWare hardware versions 4 through 12. For full CloudShare functionality, make sure that VMware Tools is installed on your VM.

  • Oracle VirtualBox OVF format 1.0 (fully supported)

  • Oracle VirtualBox OVF formats 0.9 and 2.0 (supported with CloudShare autocorrection, which overrides the memory and CPU defined in the OVF)

Guest OS

CloudShare supports VMs running any Linux or Windows guest OS.

Virtual Hardware Specification
  • CPUs: up to four

  • Disks: At least one attached disk. (The VM can include more than one disk but you will not be able to change the disk size of the additional drives after uploading the VM to CloudShare)

  • Network adapters: Up to 10 network adapters, use only VMXnet3 driver

  • CPU, RAM, Disk size: Totals should not exceed your CloudShare hardware quota as agreed upon in your contract

  • Your VM CPUID mask must not be set to use an AMD processor.

Prepare Your VM for Import

Enable Remote Desktop Connectivity (Windows Only, Optional, Recommended)

The recommended way to access Windows VMs from a CloudShare environment is via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). If RDP is already enabled on the VM before import, RDP will be enabled on the imported VM after import. (Of course, RDP will only work as a way to access a VM in a CloudShare environment if the VM is connected to the CloudShare network.)

Therefore, we recommend to:

  • Make sure Remote Desktop is enabled on the VM.

  • If a firewall is enabled, make sure that port 3389 is open for remote access (or disable the firewall, because you’re protected behind CloudShare’s firewall and access controls).

  • Make sure the administrator account whose credentials you will provide for accessing the machine belongs to the Remote Users group.

To find out how to perform these tasks on a specific version of Windows, refer to


If you do import a VM that is not configured to support remote access via RDP, then, when you add that imported VM to a CloudShare environment, access to the VM will initially be restricted to console access. Once you connect to the VM via console, you’ll be able to change the configuration to enable RDP if you want to.

Prepare a VM Image

Prepare a VM image by exporting your VM to Open Virtualization Format (OVF).

To export a VMWare-based VM:

  • Export the VM using VMWare infrastructure (Workstation, ESX, vCenter Server, Fusion).

    Hardware versions 4 through 12 are supported.

To export a VirtualBox-based VM:

  1. Export using Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager. 

    OVF 1.0 format is recommended and fully supported. OVF 2.0 and 0.9 are also supported. However, CloudShare autocorrects OVF 2.0 and OVF 0.9 on import, assigning a default CPU and RAM size.

    The export results in an OVA file, which is a single file distribution of an OVF file package, stored in the TAR format.

  2. Extract the resulting OVA file using any compression tool that supports TAR format.

The resulting OVF package will contain:

  • One OVF descriptor, with file extension .ovf. This is an XML file that describes the packaged virtual machine.

  • One or more disk image files with the file extension .vmdk.

  • Zero or more other files, such as an .mf file.

Download Aspera Connect (one time download)

The first time you do a VM import, you need to download the IBM Aspera Connect client to your computer.

  1. Select VM Import from the menu.

    CloudShare detects that you do not have Aspera Connect installed on your computer.

  2. Click download to download Aspera Connect. Your browser downloads the Aspera Connect installer file.

    In case of problems installing Aspera Connect, refer to the Aspera support site.

    If you do not have permission to download Aspera Connect, please revert to the VM upload via Cloud Folders workflow, which CloudShare continues to support.

  3. Run the installer file and go through all steps of the setup wizard.

  4. When you have completed the setup wizard, open your browser and the CloudShare VM Import page again.

Upload Your OVF File for Quick Validation

  1. Select VM Import > Import VM.

  2. If prompted, click Open Aspera Connect.

    The STEP1: OVF Validation page appears.

  3. Click UPLOAD to upload the .ovf file for validation, and browse to the file location.

    CloudShare checks the .ovf file to verify the compatibility of the VM you are importing. This typically takes up to one minute.

    If validation is complete and successful, the Validation Success! message appears.

    If you imported a VirtualBox VM version 2.0 or version 0.9, a warning appears with an autocorrect option.


    If validation fails, a validation error message appears. The message tells you the reason for the validation failure and provides guidance for solving the error. Follow the guidance provided and repeat the steps as necessary until you obtain a Validation Success! message.

  4. If validation is successful, click Upload your VM to continue.

  5. For VirtualBox version 2.0 or version 0.9, click Autocorrect OVF to continue. 

    CloudShare will make the necessary correction to your OVF file to enable the import. Your resulting VM will have 1 GB RAM and 1 CPU. These resources are modifiable after import, but if you prefer the imported VM to inherit the original RAM and CPU, you can choose to fix and upload again and then you can upload a VirtualBox 1.0 OVF file instead. 

Upload Your Disk Files and Specify a Few Details

  1. Click Browse VMDKs and browse to each .vmdk file. Repeat until all the .vmdk files from the VM export are added.

    (You can multi-select files.)

  2. Optionally, change the Machine name and Machine description.

  3. Using the Admin Username and Admin Password fields, provide the login credentials for the VM.

  4. Select a Project from the dropdown.

    The imported VM will be accessible to the users who have access to the selected project.

  5. Select the OS Type for the VM (Linux or Windows).

  6. For the full benefit of the VM import process, leave Automatically connect machine to CloudShare network checked. CloudShare will automatically assign an IP address to the VM and connect it to the CloudShare network. For Linux VMs, this option also installs the CIFS client on the machine, which is needed for the machine to access Cloud Folders.

  7. Click Upload VM.

  8. If Aspera Connect requests permission to allow a connection with the Aspera server, click Allow.

    The VM import begins.

You do not need to leave the page open while the import is in progress. The import may take hours or days, depending on the speed of your internet connection and the size of your files. There is no need to leave your page or browser running during the process.

That’s it! You’re Done




  • To check the import status at any time, select Import VM from the menu and then VM Import List. The VM Imports page lists all VM imports and their status.

  • To create a new environment with your newly imported VM, go to Environments > Create Environment, choose Custom Environment, click Next step Select Machines, select the Imported VMs tab, find your VM and click it’s Add button, and then continue with the environment creation process.

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