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Re: [Libguestfs] Extracting files from OVA is bad

On Fri, Sep 09, 2016 at 01:03:49PM +0200, Tomáš Golembiovský wrote:
> Hi,
> recently we (oVirt) have started discussing whether the way virt-v2v
> handles import from OVA files is good. And I would be interested in
> ideas how it can be improved. It is likely somebody already gave some
> thought to this problem.
> TL;DR: Extracting the OVA before import is a problem for large VMs (in
> sizes of TBs). Can we change something to prevent the extraction and
> work directly over OVA?

Specifically virt-v2v needs to do:

qemu-img create -b <source-file-within-the-tarball> -f qcow2 overlay.qcow2
qemu-img convert overlay.qcow2 output

> What we consider a huge shortcoming is the fact that whole OVA is
> extracted prior to the import into a temporary directory and processed
> afterwards. Under normal situation user can have up to three copies of
> the VM on his drive at the end of import:
>   * original OVA,
>   * temporary extracted files (will be deleted when virt-v2v terminates,
>   * converted VM.
> This is not a good idea for large VMs that have hunderds of GBs or even
> TBs in size. The requirements on the necessary storage space can be
> lessened with proper partitioning. I.e. source OVA and converted VM
> don't end up on the same drive and TMPDIR is set to put even temporary
> files somewhere else. But this is not a general solution. And sometimes
> the necessary space may not be available at all.
> The question is how to change the import path so that virt-v2v doesn't
> have to extract the OVA. I can see the following solutions:
>  1) Solve it virt-v2v: create a layer for directly accessing the files
>     in the archive.
>  2) Solve it in QEMU: create backing method that would allow creating
>     qemu disk backed by the archive. 

As long as the tar file is not compressed, accessing a file within it
should be trivial.

I asked Kevin if there is a way to get qemu to access a disk image at
an offset within another file, but there is no such feature at the
moment.  It's possible with `losetup', but that requires root :-(

(At this point I would normally grumble about how easy this would be
with a microkernel, but I won't do that now.)

David Gilbert suggested looking at qemu-nbd which has an --offset
option, allowing a particular offset with another file to be accessed.
If we wanted to do it entirely within virt-v2v, I think this would be
the way to go - the complex logic could be hidden inside v2v/input_ova.ml

The second problem is to work out the right offset to use.  I suspect
this is something that http://www.libarchive.org/ can do, and that
package is also in RHEL.

We could even imagine a qemu block backend based on libarchive.

>  3) Solve it on oVirt side: use some FUSE-based tool to provide
>     access to the archive and pass the OVA to virt-v2v not as a file but
>     as directory.

http://www.cybernoia.de/software/archivemount/ is one such tool which
can do this.  It's not in RHEL, but it seems to be based on


Richard Jones, Virtualization Group, Red Hat http://people.redhat.com/~rjones
Read my programming and virtualization blog: http://rwmj.wordpress.com
libguestfs lets you edit virtual machines.  Supports shell scripting,
bindings from many languages.  http://libguestfs.org

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