OVF - Open Virtualization Format

If you're into computer virtualization, you should probably be familiar with OVF.

The "Open Virtualization Format" is a supposed standard for interchanging VMs between vendors (VMware, Microsoft, VirtualBox etc.) Here's a good overview of the format :


Most of my experience with virtualization has been with VMware, Xen, Virtual PC and recently with VirtualBox on the desktop.

I wanted to see how OVF might work, so I found this minimal OVF version of Solaris :

This was presumably created on Sun's VirtualBox, and sure enough, I found I could import the .vmdk and .ovf (XML) files easily into VirtualBox 3.0.4.

However, the OVF format failed miserably when I tried to import into a VMware cluster with VMWare's vSphere 4.0.0 client.

I did File => Deploy OVF Template and pointed the wizard at my OpenSolarisApp.ovf (XML) file. Clicking 'Next' left me with this :

    Line 2: Invalid value '1.0' for attribute 'version' on element 'Envelope'.

So I hand-edited the .ovf file setting the version back to something I thought VMware might support.

    Envelope ovf:version="0.9" ... 

I re-tried my vSphere client and saw progress - sort of. It made it past the Envelope element, but now I was looking at about 50 errors (Unsupported element 'InstanceID', Unsupported element 'ResourceType'...).

I guess that's the nice thing about open standards. Everyone can implement them...differently.

So for the moment it looks like you're better off staying within a given product family if you're looking to use OVF.

Looking at VMware's OVF offering, I found I could export from vSphere in two OVF formats : 'Web' and 'Physical Media / OVA'. Looks like the web format give you three "separate" files, while OVA bundles everything into one file. They seem to be the basically the same size. I'll try to re-import these.

  922,905,088 dkl_x64_WEB_OVF-disk1.vmdk