Moving VMs in VirtualBox

Moving VMs in VirtualBox

In this post, I’ll be covering how to export and import virtual machines in VirtualBox. This will allow you to move VMs from one system to another. As a consequence, it also provides a method of backup and recovery.

VirtualBox is a virtual machine hosting app that can be installed on Linux, Mac, or Windows computers. VirtualBox provides these hosting computers a way to run virtual computers that mimic traditional computers. The VMs consist of similar components that make up physical systems, hard drive, CD drive, network card, USB, and more. VirtualBox has a simple method to export and import these VMs with little effort, lets begin.

In this example I’ll start with a VirtualBox install that has no VMs present. I’ll create a VM going through a series of steps. I’ll give it a name, select the type and version of operating system. Then I’ll set the memory size followed by hard drive. The hard disk file type has some benefits should you need to mount it with another platform, I’ll set mine to VDI. Lastly I’ll choose the size and if I should create the virtual disk file with all the space allocated or have it dynamically grow as data is written. With all of that completed, I now have a VM to export.

To export VMs you can go to the file menu export option or press [Ctrl]+[E]. This will bring up a dialog to select VMs from a list to export. I’ll select my VM and next I’ll choose the path were to save the export file and the format of the export file, I’ll set mine to OVF 1.0. Lastly, I can enter in some additional descriptions about the VM and select export. That’s it, the VM is now a sigle file stored at the path selected.

Continuing on, we’ll move the VM file to another system that has VirtiulBox installed. I’ll go to the file menu import option or press [Ctrl]+[I]. Then I’ll browse to the folder path were the VM image is located. I’ll confirm the appliance settings and press import. That’s it, I am ready to use the VM on my other system.

Using VMs is useful for testing and performing sand-boxing functions. It’s also a useful method to move core services off of physical hosts for ease of maintenance and management. I highly recommend that you perform these export and import functions with regularity. It provides a great way to migrate and also is an excellent data recovery method. I hope you have found this useful and I look forward to having you back for more topics in the future.

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