ESXi 5.5 supports up to hardware compatibility version 10. If the VM created is version 12 it won't be able to recognise/import it. Change the VM hardware compatibility to 10 in VMware Workstation and then import into ESXi 5.5.
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is this an ovf or an ova file? if it's ovf it should be straight forward. do the following:
1. make a backup copy of the ovf file
2. open the .ovf file with a text editor like notepad or notepad++
3. do a search for vmx and you should see something like <vssd:VirtualSystemType>vmx-07</vssd:VirtualSystemType>
4. change that to vmx-10
5. save the ovf and redeploy.
This did not work for me, it said immidiate after this that my file got corrupted. Seems like there is a hash code which was updated