Definition

open virtualization format (OVF)

Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an open-source standard for packaging and distributing software applications for virtual machines (VM). 

An OVF package contains multiple files in a single directory. The directory always contains an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file called the OVF descriptor with the name, hardware requirements, and references to other files in the package. In addition, the OVF package typically contains a network description, a list of virtual hardware, virtual drives, certificate files, information about the operating system (OS) and in some cases, a human-readable description of every information item.

The OVF standard is one of several standards and initiatives supported by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). VMware, a company that provides virtualization software for x86 computers, offers a widely-used OVF package. Numerous other vendors including IBM, Microsoft, JumpBox, VirtualBox, XenServer, AbiCloud, OpenNode Cloud, SUSE Studio, Morfeo Claudia, and OpenStack use OVF in their virtualization products.

This was last updated in May 2012

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