PhotonOS 2.0 was just released last week and it includes a number of exciting new enhancements which you can read more about here. Over the last few days, I had noticed quite a few folks having issues deploying the latest PhotonOS OVA, including myself. I figure I would share the current workarounds after reaching out to the PhotonOS team and seeing the number of questions both internally and externally.

Deploying PhotonOS 2.0 on vSphere

If you are deploying the latest OVA using either the vSphere Web (Flex/H5) Client on vCenter Server or the ESXi Embedded Host Client on ESXi, you will notice that the import fails with the following error message:

The specified object /photon-custom-hw13-2.0-304b817/nvram could not be found.

This apparently is a known issue with the vSphere Web/H5 Client bug with exported vHW13 Virtual Machines. As I understand it, the actual fix did not make it in the latest vSphere 6.5 Update 1 release, but it should be available in a future update. After reporting this issue to the PhotonOS team as I ran into this myself, the team quickly re-spun the vHW11 OVA (since that image also had a different issue) which can now be imported into a vSphere environment using any of the UI-based Clients and/or CLIs. For now, the workaround is to download PhotonOS 2.0 "OVA with virtual hardware v11" if you are using vSphere OR you can install PhotonOS using the ISO.

Deploying PhotonOS 2.0 to Fusion/Workstation

UPDATE (11/08/17) - The PhotonOS team just published an additional OVA specifically for Fusion/Workstation which uses LSI Logic storage adapter as PVSCSI is currently not supported today. You can easily import latest PhotonOS 2.0 without needing to tweak the OVF as mentioned in the steps below, simply download the OVA with virtual hardware v11(Workstation and Fusion) and import normally via UI or CLI.

If you are deploying either of the vHW11 or vHW13 OVA to Fusion/Workstation, you see the following error message:

Invalid target disk adapter type: pvscsi

The reason for this issue is that neither Fusion/Workstation currently support the PVSCSI storage adapter type which the latest PhotonOS OVA uses. In the meantime, a workaround is to edit the OVA to use the LSI Logic adapter instead of the PVSCSI. Below are the steps to convert the OVA to OVF and then apply the single line change.

Step 1 - Use OVFTool (included with both Fusion/Workstation) to convert the OVA to an OVF which will allow us to edit the file. To do so, run the following command:

ovftool --allowExtraConfig photon-custom-hw13-2.0-304b817.ova photon-custom-hw13-2.0-304b817.ovf

Step 2 - Open the photon-custom-hw13-2.0-304b817.ovf using a text editor like Visual Studio Code or VI and update the following line from:


and save the change.

Step 3 - Delete the OVF manifest file named since the contents of the file has been updated

Step 4 - You can now import the modified OVF. If you wish to get back the OVA, you can just re-run Step 1 and use the .ova extension to get back a single file

Upgrading from Photon 1.x to 2.0

I also noticed several folks were asking about upgrading from Photon 1.0 to 2.0, you can find the instructions below:

Step 1 - You may need to run the following if you have not done so in awhile:

tdnf distro-sync

Step 2 - Install the PhotonOS upgrade package by running the following command:

tdnf install photon-upgrade

Step 3 - Run the PhotonOS upgrade script and answer 'Y' to start the upgrade:

One thought on “Workarounds for deploying PhotonOS 2.0 on vSphere, Fusion & Workstation

  1. Was dealing with this all yesterday trying to roll out a few machines for docker. I ended up just using the h11 ova’s and upgrading them to h13 but it was driving me nuts.

    Ended up going with ubuntu 16.04.3 because of Rancher (which still seems to be buggy) but I’m glad this is a known issue and I wasn’t banging my head against my desk for nothing.

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