OVA, Open Virtual Appliance (.ova)

The OVA Data file format

Files with the OVA extension are commonly used by virtualization applications. They are so-called virtual appliances in the form of a package that contains all kinds of files and information an application like VMware Workstation or Oracle’s Virtualbox need to set-up and run a virtual machine. The files inside the OVA include a descriptor file with an OVF extension, certificate or manifest files (latter usually have the extension MF), and other files needed by the virtualization applications.

Technical details of OVA files

OVA files are actually directories in the OVF format, the standard format for virtual machine software. What distinguishes OVA from OVF files is that OVA files are saved in a single archive. For this, the TAR packaging method is used. It facilitates the distribution of virtual machine information.

More information about the OVA file format

File extension .ova
File category Data
Associated programs Oracle VM Virtualbox (Windows, Mac & Linux)
VMware Fusion (Mac)
VMware OVF Tool (Windows, Mac & Linux)
VMware vCenter Converter (Windows)
VMware Workstation (Windows & Linux)
Useful links More on the difference between OVA and OVF
Developer VMware