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bseklecki_BOFH
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OVFTOOL --noImageFiles Flag

It might be time to rename this flag and/or disambiguate the documentation a bit:

1) Aren't VMDKs effective just "image files"? Maybe rename it to "--noOpticalDriveMediaStore[...]"

2) On export, yes it will skip the creation / inclusion of the underlying ISO file of the attached virtual optical drive into the resulting OVF/OVA 

This should be disambiguated in the documentation, its functional use reference currently in the documentation is for IMPORT option only. 

Really, advice to  users: The best-practice/option is to delete the Optical device from the source VM as a prerequisite before OVFTOOL export (an amateur mistake resulting in OVA bloat)

2.1) But, what if you want your resulting OVA/OVF to create an empty optical device upon import? The VM Export will fail (during a pre-export sanity-checking phase, it tries to validate the path to the ISO of Optical Drive which it has been instructed not to export).  This is if you try to do something clever like change the VMFS path to the ISO of the optical drive.

Work-around this bug: One has to pre re-configure pre-export perquisite task: Keep the optical drive attached to VM, BUT, configure for "Use host optical drive"

(assuming the original source hypervisor server hardware has an optical drive; most of them sold today do not)

3) If you use --noImageFiles and your VM needs to export an NVRAM file, you're double-screwed; The resulting .ovf file will reference the NVRAM file, but it will be absent from the OVA and Manifest

(So you'll waste hours importing the OVA only for it to fail at the very last moment >:})

Not my place to say, but that feels like a genuine bug.

 It might be possible to work-around this #3 bug with --skipManfiestCheck; I'm testing it now.

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