The service life cycle design principle focuses on ease, and the speed at which the NFV platform consumes the VNFs, maintained over their life time, and deployed when needed. The VIM facilitates this approach and enables the CSP to perform common tasks to benefit from virtualizing network functions.

VNF vendors package their VNFs and deliver them to the CSP in various consumable forms. CSPs can then quickly onboard a VNF to the NFV platform to speed up deployment, and to ensure that VNFs are consistently behaving in a predictable fashion in each deployment.

Once the VNF is onboarded, it is placed in a catalog that can be consumed based on the CSP policies. The goal of placing a VNF in the OpenStack Image Library is to enable the NFVO, responsible for creating the service, to quickly and programmatically deploy the service components that are required to run the service. VMware Integrated OpenStack also addresses life cycle activities such as deployment, decommissioning, and restarting service components.

Since many operational activities around VNFs are performed using higher layer components such as the VNFM and VNFO, the vCloud NFV OpenStack Edition platform provides a well-documented northbound API that these components can to complete the service life cycle.