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The Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) has some interesting movement around it and in the ecosystem. I’m probably not capturing the subtleties here, but you can think of OVF as a standard packaging format for virtual Machines.

A new draft of the OVF specification was published last week. Citrix and IBM seem to be using OVF as a way to paper over some Xen vs KVM differences:
Link: Citrix will offer OVF tools for free and open source | virtualization.info.
Link: IBM Announced open-OVF | Virtualization.com.
Link: Telematique, water and fire.: Kensho – Will OVF make it to the next rung?.

Dialing the wayback machine to June, Chris Wolf gives some contest around Steve Herrod’s talk at the Burton Group Catalyst conference, and thinks that OVF could evolve into an appliance format into something much more like an vendor-neutral .vmx file. Link: Catalyst Day 2 Virtualization Highlights at ChrisWolf.com.

I think we do a disservice to the OVF standard and the people working on it if we just see OVF as a way for the chess players to move their pieces around the board. I see it as a way to get things done — case in point: importing OVF-based appliances into ESXi via a menu item. 

Link: VMware Communities: Virtual Appliances: Deploying Virtual Appliances Just Got Even Easier – VAM Integration with VI Client and ESXi3.5/ESX3.5.

Virtual appliances represent a streamlined way to develop, deliver,
manage and deploy enterprise software stacks and they have gained a
great deal of traction in the market over the past couple of years.
VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace has grown to 850+ virtual
appliances and VMware’s products are providing greater access to
virtual appliance content with each release. To date, no integration is
more substantial then what has been done in the pairing of VI Client
with ESX/ESXi 3.5.

Today, any user with access to VMware’s free ESXi and VI Client has the
ability to directly import a number of OVF-based virtual appliances
directly into their environment and power on an enterprise workload
within minutes of first boot.