Microsoft is cooperating with rivals from Vmware, XenSource and IBM, but also with partners on the server market such as Dell and HP in order to deliver a single standard for portable virtual machines. The companies involved in the standardization of a single file format for virtual machines have already submitted a draft specification to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). The standard is dubbed Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) and will permit virtual machines to become platform agnostic. In this context, interoperability, security and virtual machine lifecycle management in a variety of heterogeneous virtual infrastructures would be streamlined
as much as possible.
"With the increasing demand for virtualization in enterprise management, the new spec developed through this industry-wide collaboration dove-tails nicely into existing virtualization management standardization activity within the DMTF," said Winston Bumpus, DMTF president. "OVF extends the work we have underway to offer IT managers automation of critical, error-prone activities in the deployment of a virtualized infrastructure."
"Microsoft is committed to the interoperability of virtualization infrastructure, and we believe the DMTF is the best place to drive this type of industry standard," said Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization strategy at Microsoft Corp. "OVF complements Microsoft's open Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format and the strong ecosystem of vendors that now support it. Microsoft continues to be an active member of the DMTF virtualization management efforts and we see the OVF as a natural extension of our existing standardization work in this area."
OVF is not a new file format, but instead a package built with the existing standards for virtual machines in a XML wrapper. Essentially, OVF is a way for virtual machines to be switched from Vmware to XenSource and to Microsoft platforms without impacting quality, functionality or the installation and configuration.
"VMware's participation in and contribution to the Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) reinforces our commitment to open, industry standards for virtualization. The OVF specification and its key principles of interoperability and portability are intended to be an enabler to virtual appliances as well as to the evolution of the virtualization market," said Dr. Stephen Herrod, Vice President of Technology Development at VMware, Inc.
"XenSource has found that as virtualization becomes a mainstream component of enterprise IT infrastructure, customers need ways to automate and secure the development, distribution and deployment of their virtual machines and virtual appliances," said Simon Crosby, CTO of XenSource.