Templates are master copies of virtual machines that you can use to deploy virtual machines that are customized and ready for use. Templates promote consistency throughout your vSphere environment. You can use the content library to store and manage templates of virtual machines and vApps. You can use VM templates and vApp templates to deploy virtual machines and vApps to a destination object, such as a host or a cluster.

Content libraries support two types of templates, the OVF Template type and the VM Template type.

In a content library, you can store and manage virtual machine templates as OVF templates or VM templates. vApps are always converted to OVF templates in the content library.

VM Templates in Content Libraries

A VM template is a template of a virtual machine. You create a VM template by cloning a virtual machine into a template.

A VM template can be either a vCenter Server inventory object, or a content library item.

In previous releases of vSphere, you could manage VM templates only through the vCenter Server inventory list. When you cloned a virtual machine or a VM template to a content library template, the resulting content library item was in an OVF format. Starting with vSphere 6.7 Update 1, local content libraries support both OVF templates and VM templates. You choose the type of template when you clone the virtual machine into the content library.

OVF Templates in Content Libraries

In a content library, an OVF template is either a template of a virtual machine, or a template of a vApp. When you clone a virtual machine into a template in a content library, you choose whether to create an OVF template or a VM template. However, if you clone a vApp into a template in a content library, the resulting content library item is always an OVF template. Because the OVF format is actually a set of files, if you export the template, all the files in the OVF template library item (.ovf, .vmdk, .mf) are saved to your local system.