What is an OVF file?

Let’s say we are making a Virtual Machine for a Cisco Call Manager.

In terms of resources for the VM, we could set it to have:

  • 2GB of RAM
  • Use 2 Cores of 1 Processor
  • Take up 300GB of Hard Drive Space
  • Use a specific network adaptor with its settings specially configured

Pretty standard right?, but now imagine you had to do this multiple times.

It certainly seems a bit tedious to set up the same virtual machine configuration again and again, and being in IT, we like to automate the process as much as possible.

Doing the task manually is fine, but there aren’t too many good reasons for it. To solve this, there is something known as an OVA Template.

This is a very small file (usually less than 1MB), which contains all the default settings the virtual machine should have. All we have to do is open this OVA file in our Virtual Machine program of our choice and that’s it! We have a ready made VM specific to our needs.

This is very quick and helps large deployments to be completed easily.


The difference between an OVF/OVA file is simply that an OVA file is a single compressed version of all the files found in an OVF export.



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