The service life cycle design principle focuses on ease, and the speed at which VNFs can be consumed by the NFV platform, 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 a consumable form. CSPs can then quickly onboard a VNF to vCloud Director 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 vCloud Director catalog is to enable the NFVO, responsible for creating the service, to quickly and programmatically deploy the service components required to run the service. vCloud Director 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 platform provides a well documented northbound API that can be used by these components to complete the service life cycle.