Over the past several years OVF (Open Virtualization Format) has been one of the most popular and widely adopted standards in the IaaS space. In fact, it’s the only national and international standard for virtualization and cloud computing.
OVF 2.0 was recently released and just announced by the DMTF. It has many new and improved features and capabilities benefitting both end-users and cloud service providers. This specification is another strong step in improving the interoperability and portability of workloads for virtualization and cloud computing.
Some of the new improvements to OVF 2.0 include:
- Improved support for network configuration
- Package encryption for safe delivery
- Scaling and deployment options
- Support for basic placement policies, including Affinity and availability placement
- Shared disks
- Advanced device boot order
- Advanced mechanisms for passing data to guest
These updates add security with support for a new section – EncryptionSection – which will be the focal point for the encryption functionality. This new section provides a single location for placing the encryption algorithm related markup along with the corresponding reference list that points to the encrypted OVF content.
Now in OVF 2.0, each logical network will contain a set of networking attributes that should be applied when mapping the logical network at deployment time to a physical or virtual network. Networking attributes are specified by embedding or referencing zero or more instances of network port profile. The network port profile is a new and flexible mechanism which allows network configuration information to be embedded within the OVF or it can be represented in an external file that will be referenced by the OVF. Lastly, the network port profile provides a more comprehensive set of configurations and properties which allows for reservation requests of bandwidth for example. (For more information on what’s new in OVF 2.0 also take a look at the OVF 2.0 FAQ.)
Given the newness of this specification, it will take time for vendors to add support for OVF 2.0 and include in their future products. However, as adoption of cloud and the need for interoperability continues to grow, I expect we won’t be waiting too long!