OVF Open Virtualization Format

The DMTF’s Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard provides the industry with a standard packaging format for software solutions based on virtual systems, solving critical business needs for software vendors and cloud computing service providers. OVF has been adopted and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO 17203.

The rapid adoption of virtual infrastructure has highlighted the need for a standard, portable metadata format for the distribution of virtual systems onto and between virtualization platforms. In the modern cloud computing era, OVF provides a platform independent, efficient, open and extensible packaging and distribution format that facilitates the mobility of virtual machines and gives customers platform independence.

An OVF package can be used:

  • By an independent software vendor (ISV) to publish a software solution
  • By a data center operator to transport a software solution from one data center to another
  • By a customer to archive a software solution
  • In any other use case that can be met by having a standardized package for a software solution

From the user's point of view, OVF is a packaging format for virtual appliances. Once installed, an OVF package adds to the user’s infrastructure a self-contained, self-consistent, software application that provides a particular service or services.

OVF takes advantage of the DMTF’s Common Information Model (CIM), where appropriate, to allow management software to clearly understand and easily map resource properties by using an open standard.


DMTF Specifications

DSP # Version Title Date Comments Versions
DSP0243 1.0.0 Open Virtualization Format Specification 22 Feb 2009

.pdf file, DMTF Standard

DSP0265 1.0.0 Profile to Enable Automated Deployment of OVF Packages 27 Jun 2013

.pdf file. DMTF Standard


White Papers and Technical Notes

DSP # Version Title Date Comments Versions
DSP2017 1.0.0 Open Virtualization Format White Paper 24 Feb 2009

.pdf file, DMTF Informational



DSP # Version Title Date Comments Versions
DSP8023 2.0.0 OVF Envelope 3 Jan 2013

.xsd file. DMTF Standard

DSP8027 1.0.0 OVF Environment 2 Mar 2009

.xsd file, DMTF Standard