Open Virtualization Format

The Open Virtualization Format (OVF; German Open Virtualization Format) is an open standard for packaging virtual appliances or more generally software running in virtual machines, and distribute. It was codified by the Distributed Management Task Force.

The standard describes an "open, secure, portable, efficient and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of software running in virtual machines ." The OVF standard is not limited to specific hypervisors or processor architectures. The unit, which takes place in the packaging and distribution is called OVF Package. An OVF package can contain multiple virtual machines, each of which can be installed in a virtual machine on or off.


A proposal for OVF, then under the name " Open Virtual Machine Format", was at the DMTF in September 2007 submitted by the companies Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware and Citrix ( Xen ).

The DMTF has published in September 2008, the OVF Specification V1.0.0 as so-called " Preliminary Standard". This is the latest version that is currently publicly available. This version has yet to be brought by the usual DMTF process to become a "Final Standard". This process implies that feedback from early implementations of the Preliminary standards are incorporated into the final version.

Support in the industry

Generally OVF has been received. A number of companies have announced their support of OVF. Currently, there is at least an open source project to OVF. Citrix offers and Kensho OVF XenConvert to 2 support for the most popular variant of the free Xen hypervisor XenServer. The virtualization software VirtualBox supports the format since version 2.2.