Open Virtualization Format

Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an open standard for packaging and distributing virtual appliances or, more generally, software to be run in virtual machines.

The standard describes an "open, secure, portable, efficient and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of software to be run in virtual machines". The OVF standard is not tied to any particular hypervisor or instruction set architecture. The unit of packaging and distribution is a so-called OVF Package which may contain one or more virtual systems each of which can be deployed to a virtual machine.

Open Virtualization Format
Filename extensionsovf, ova
Initial releaseV1.0.0 (September 2008)
Latest release
(January 2013)
Contained byova


In September 2007 VMware, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft and XenSource submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) a proposal for OVF, then named "Open Virtual Machine Format".[1]

The DMTF subsequently released the OVF Specification V1.0.0 as a preliminary standard in September, 2008, and V1.1.0 in January, 2010.[2] In January 2013, DMTF released the second version of the standard, OVF 2.0 which applies to emerging cloud use cases and provides important developments from OVF 1.0 including improved network configuration support and package encryption capabilities for safe delivery.

ANSI has ratified OVF 1.1.0 as ANSI standard INCITS 469-2010.[3]

OVF 1.1 was adopted as an International Standard in August 2011 by the Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) .[4]

OVF 2.0 brings an enhanced set of capabilities to the packaging of virtual machines, making the standard applicable to a broader range of cloud use cases that are emerging as the industry enters the cloud era. The most significant improvements include support for network configuration along with the ability to encrypt the package to ensure safe delivery.[5]


An OVF package consists of several files placed in one directory. An OVF package always contains exactly one OVF descriptor (a file with extension .ovf). The OVF descriptor is an XML file which describes the packaged virtual machine; it contains the metadata for the OVF package, such as name, hardware requirements, references to the other files in the OVF package and human-readable descriptions. In addition to the OVF descriptor, the OVF package will typically contain one or more disk images, and optionally certificate files and other auxiliary files.[6]

The entire directory can be distributed as an Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) package, which is a tar archive file with the OVF directory inside.

Industry support

OVF has generally been positively received.[7] Several virtualization players in the industry have announced support for OVF.[8][9][10][11]

Product OVF Support Since Release Date
VirtualBox 2.2.0[12] April 2009
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2[13] March 2010
VMware ESX 3.5, Workstation 6.5, Player 3.1[14][15] Dec 2007
XenServer 5.6[16] or XenConvert before that May 2010
IBM POWER server AIX, Linux z/VM, IBM Systems Director (via VMControl Enterprise Edition plug-in, a cross-platform VM manager)[17][18][19]
IBM SmartCloud IBM SmartCloud Enterprise 1.4[20] Oct 2011
OpenNode Cloud Platform 1.1[21] Nov 2010
Oracle VM 3.0[22] Aug 2011
rPath 4.0[23] c.2008
SUSE Studio[24] Oct 2010
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012[25] 2012?
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud[26]
Proxmox VE[27] 5.0 [28] Sep 2017

See also


  1. ^ "DMTF Press Release on OVF submission 9/2007". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  2. ^ "DMTF Published Documents page". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  3. ^ "INCITS 469-2010 Information Technology - Open Virtualization Format (OVF) Specification".
  4. ^ "DMTF Gains International Recognition with Two ISO/IEC Standards". Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Open Virtualization Format Specification, V1.10" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  7. ^ " article about OVF, 9/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  8. ^ "DMTF press release on VMAN Initiative, 9/2008". Archived from the original on 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  9. ^ "Fortisphere embraces OVF, 9/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  10. ^ "Citrix Systems Unveils Project Kensho for Easy Creation of Hypervisor-Independent Application Workloads, 7/2008". Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  11. ^ "Microsoft Responds to Citrix OVF Standard, 7/2008". Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  12. ^ "VirtualBox changelog". Retrieved 2009-04-13.
  13. ^ " | red-hat-announces-beta-availability-of-red-hat-enterprise-virtualization-2-2". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  14. ^ "Open Virtualization Format (OVF) -Virtual Machines - Virtualization". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  15. ^ "VMware Workstation 7.1 Release Notes". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  16. ^ "XenServer 5.6 Release Notes". Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
  17. ^ "IBM Redbooks | IBM Systems Director VMControl Implementation Guide on IBM Power Systems". 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  18. ^ 5765-EMP IBM Systems Director VMControl Enterprise Edition for Power Systems, IBM United States Sales Manual Revised: April 13, 2010.
  19. ^ "IBM Director v6.1.x". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  20. ^ Wu C F, Wang Y S, Liu G N, Amies, A, 2012, Create solutions on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise: Transfer image assets between different accounts Archived 2012-06-15 at the Wayback Machine IBM developerWorks, June 6.
  21. ^ "OpenNode". Archived from the original on 2011-04-27.
  22. ^ "What's new in Oracle VM 3.0" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Images". Archived from the original on 2011-12-21.
  24. ^ "SUSE Studio".
  25. ^ "TechNet".
  26. ^ "EC2 VM Import/Export Image Formats".
  27. ^ "Add new qm command 'importovf', to create VMs from an OVF manifest".
  28. ^ "qemu-server package changelog".

External links

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery focuses on the IT or technology systems supporting critical business functions, as opposed to business continuity, which involves keeping all essential aspects of a business functioning despite significant disruptive events. Disaster recovery can therefore be considered as a subset of business continuity.

Distributed Management Task Force

The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) is a computer software trade group which works to simplify the manageability of network-accessible technologies.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 16000-17999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

List of filename extensions (M–R)

This alphabetical list of filename extensions contains standard extensions associated with computer files.


OVF may refer to:

Open Virtualization Format, an open standard for packaging and distributing virtual appliances

Optical viewfinder

Open Cloud Computing Interface

The Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) is a set of specifications delivered through the Open Grid Forum, for cloud computing service providers. OCCI has a set of implementations that act as proofs of concept. It builds upon World Wide Web fundamentals by using the Representational State Transfer (REST) approach for interacting with services.

Ova (disambiguation)

Ova is the plural form of ovum, the female sex cell or gamete.

Ova or OVA may also refer to:

Ovalbumin (OVA), a protein found in egg whites

Ova, Kaş, a village in the Antalya Province, Turkey

Ova, Kentucky, an unincorporated community in the United States

Ova A. Kelley (1914–1944), United States Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient

OpenVera Assertion Language, a hardware verification Language

Original video animation, anime that are released directly to video

-ova, a feminine surname suffix in Slavic-language countries; see Eastern Slavic naming customs

Open Virtualization Archive (*.ova file), the single-file version of an Open Virtualization Format image

Open Virtualization Alliance consortium committed to fostering the adoption of open virtualization technologies

SUSE Studio

SUSE Studio was an online Linux software creation tool by SUSE. Users could develop their own Linux distro, software appliance, or virtual appliance, mainly choosing which applications and packages they want on their "custom" Linux and how it looks.

Users could choose between openSUSE or SUSE Linux Enterprise as a base and pick from a variety of pre-configured images including jeOS, minimal server, GNOME, and KDE desktops.

The SUSE Studio service was shut down on February 15, 2018.

Software appliance

A software appliance is a software application combined with just enough operating system (JeOS) to run optimally on industry-standard hardware (typically a server) or in a virtual machine. It is a software distribution or firmware that implements a computer appliance.Virtual appliances are a subset of software appliances. The main distinction is the packaging format and the specificity of the target platform. A virtual appliance is a virtual machine image designed to run on a specific virtualization platform, while a software appliance is often packaged in more generally applicable image format (e.g., Live CD) that supports installations to physical machines and multiple types of virtual machines.Installing a software appliance to a virtual machine and packaging that into an image, creates a virtual appliance.


VMDK (short for Virtual Machine Disk) is a file format that describes containers for virtual hard disk drives to be used in virtual machines like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox.

Initially developed by VMware for its virtual appliance products, VMDK 5.0 is now an open format and is one of the disk formats used inside the Open Virtualization Format for virtual appliances.

The maximum VMDK size is generally 2TB for most applications, but in September 2013, VMware vSphere 5.5 introduced 62TB VMDK capacity.


Oracle VM VirtualBox (formerly Sun VirtualBox, Sun xVM VirtualBox and Innotek VirtualBox) is a free and open-source hosted hypervisor for x86 computers and is under development by Oracle Corporation. Developed initially by Innotek GmbH, it was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008, which was, in turn, acquired by Oracle in 2010.

VirtualBox may be installed on a number of host operating systems, including Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris and OpenSolaris. There are also ports to FreeBSD and Genode.It supports the creation and management of guest virtual machines running versions and derivations of Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/2, Solaris, Haiku, OSx86 and others, and limited virtualization of macOS guests on Apple hardware.For some guest operating systems, a "Guest Additions" package of device drivers and system applications is available, which typically improves performance, especially that of graphics.

Virtual appliance

A virtual appliance is a pre-configured virtual machine image, ready to run on a hypervisor; virtual appliances are a subset of the broader class of software appliances. Installation of a software appliance on a virtual machine and packaging that into an image creates a virtual appliance. Like software appliances, virtual appliances are intended to eliminate the installation, configuration and maintenance costs associated with running complex stacks of software.

A virtual appliance is not a complete virtual machine platform, but rather a software image containing a software stack designed to run on a virtual machine platform which may be a Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor. Like a physical computer, a hypervisor is merely a platform for running an operating system environment and does not provide application software itself.

Many virtual appliances provide a Web page user interface to permit their configuration. A virtual appliance is usually built to host a single application; it therefore represents a new way to deploy applications on a network.

Standards of DMTF
DMTF standards
Related standards
ISO standards by standard number

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.