Exporting and importing images

With PowerVC you can export the image volumes from one storage provider into an OVA package and import an OVA package as an image volume into a different storage provider. Or also export an image as an OVA from one PowerVC instance and import that OVA into a different PowerVC instance.

Prior to PowerVC version 2.0.2, import or export can only be performed on PowerVC management node which should have Fibre Channel connectivity. Starting PowerVC version 2.0.2, you can register a standalone backup node that has the required Fibre Channel connectivity and which is responsible to perform import or export operation. To achieve more concurrency, you can choose to have multiple backup nodes.

The OVA tar for the image is created using pigz level 9 (best) compression for the backup files which ensures a smaller file size and faster compression. By default pigz compression is enabled. If the cinder config option use_fast_compression is set to False, the regular gzip compression is used.

Images that are exported using PowerVC are not included when backups are taken using powervc-backup.

There are several ways to import and export image volumes:
  • Exporting and importing images using powervc-image CLI: Can be used to export and import image OVA package. Only runs on PowerVC management node. For details, see Commands.
  • Exporting and importing images using GUI or API: Register the remote or local PowerVC management node as backup node and use PowerVC image GUI or APIs to export or import an image OVAs. You can also integrate the backup node to through GUI or APIs to upload or download the image OVA. For API details, see backup node registration and IBM Cloud Object Storage.
  • Manually import and export volumes from VIOS connected storage. For details, see Manually importing and exporting volumes.


You must have administrator or both storage manager and image manager authority. The PowerVC management server must have direct connectivity to the storage provider registered to PowerVC.

Import or export operations done either through GUI or through API require backup node instance to have Fibre Channel connectivity to the SAN storage registered in PowerVC.
Note: To import or export SAN based image volumes, the PowerVC management server (The RHEL OS that PowerVC is installed on) or backup node must have a virtual or physical Fibre Channel adapter connected to the fabrics and those fabrics must also be connected to the storage provider. The PowerVC management server's or backup node's Fibre Channel adapter must be zoned to the storage provider. For a PowerVC management server hosted on PowerVM® it is recommended that a virtual Fibre Channel adapter be added to the PowerVC management server. For Storwize®, if the image volumes are part of multiple IO groups, then for image export or import, PowerVC or backup node needs zoning with all IO groups.


  • Image volumes can be imported into volumes that are specified by a single storage template. The imported volumes are created on a single storage provider.
  • IBM i images on DS8000® with volumes that were created by using an OS400 specific block size cannot be imported or exported.
  • Import and export operations are not supported on shared storage pool volumes because the management server does not have direct connectivity to the storage provider.
  • Only RHEL or SLES based virtual machines can be configured as a backup node.
  • Backup service node uses the default POSIX driver to backup the files to the mounted filesystem.
  • Remote backup node requires the Fibre Channel connectivity to the storage providers, which are managed using PowerVC.
  • Backup node must have required minimum configuration with respect to CPU, memory, and disk space to create OVA.
  • PowerVC only allows adding an existing IBM Cloud COS bucket and does not create or delete bucket.
  • A NovaLink host cannot be registered as a backup node due to Fibre Channel connectivity dependency for the backup node.