A virtual machine encapsulates an entire server or desktop environment in a file. The virtual machine disk format specification describes and documents the virtual machine environment and how it is stored. The virtual machine disk format specification is critical to how virtual environments are provisioned, manipulated, patched, updated, scanned and backed up.
Developers creating Virtual Disk management applications should consider using the VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit. The VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit includes a C library and command line utilities to easily create and access VMDK files.
Interoperable formats for virtual machine disks across implementations benefit customers in multiple ways:
- Commonality of formats preserve customer's configurations as they move between vendor solutions.
- There are a number of valuable solutions such as backup, system imaging, patch management, replication, virtual machine migration and mobility that require a knowledge of virtual disk formats. Commonality of formats enable solution providers to create software products that work with any virtualization solution. This, in turn, promotes customer choice and increases the number of solutions available in the marketplace.
- Lastly, commonality of formats enable storage systems to optimize, in the long run, for storage and access of virtual disks.