Open Virtualization Format

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 processor 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.

An OVF package consists of several files, placed in one directory. A one-file alternative is the OVA package, which is a TAR file with the OVF directory inside.



In September 2007 Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware 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] As of 2011 this is the most recent publicly-available version. The usual DMTF process for finalizing standards includes working feedback from early implementations of a preliminary version of a standard into the final version of the standard.

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

Industry support

On average, OVF has been received positively.[4] Several virtualization players in the industry have announced support for OVF,[5][6][7][8] and there is at least one open source library for the format.[9]

Product OVF Support Since Release Date
VirtualBox 2.2.0 [10] April 2009
AbiCloud Cloud Computing Platform Appliance Manager 0.7.0 [11] June 2009
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 [12] March 2010
VMware ESX 3.5, Workstation 6.5, Player 3.1 [13] [14] Dec 2007
IBM POWER server AIX, Linux z/VM, IBM Systems Director (via VMControl Enterprise Edition plug-in, a cross-platform VM manager) [15] [16][17]
OpenNode Cloud Platform 1.1 [18] Nov 2010
Oracle VM 3.0 [19] Aug 2011

See also


  1. ^ "DMTF Press Release on OVF submission 9/2007". 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. ^ " article about OVF, 9/2008".,289142,sid94_gci1330372,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  5. ^ "DMTF press release on VMAN Initiative, 9/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  6. ^ "Fortisphere embraces OVF, 9/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  7. ^ "Citrix Systems Unveils Project Kensho for Easy Creation of Hypervisor-Independent Application Workloads, 7/2008". Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Microsoft Responds to Citrix OVF Standard, 7/2008". Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  9. ^ "IBM announces Open-OVF project, 8/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  10. ^ "VirtualBox changelog". Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  11. ^ "AbiCloud - Appliance Manager Technical Info". Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ 5765-EMP IBM Systems Director VMControl Enterprise Edition for Power Systems, IBM United States Sales Manual Revised: April 13, 2010.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "OpenNode". 
  19. ^ "What's new in Oracle VM 3.0". 

External links

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