With various competing virtualization products a problem arose where different every virtualization software vendor had their own standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines. With the ability to share virtual machines over the Internet and between virtualization platforms becoming more and more important, VMware helped to create the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). The OVF is “a platform independent, efficient, extensible, and open packaging and distribution format for virtual machines”.
With OVF, you are able to download VMs directly from the Internet and immediately import & start that VM. Plus, there only needs to be a single file format stored on sites where VMs are downloaded.
To learn more about the OVF, visit VMware’s Open Virtual Machine Format page.