A virtual machine can exist as a standalone machine or it can exist within a vApp.

A virtual machine is a software computer that, like a physical computer, runs an operating system and applications. The virtual machine consists of a set of specification and configuration files, and is backed by the physical resources of a host. Every virtual machine has virtual devices that provide the same functionality as physical hardware but are more portable, more secure, and easier to manage. Virtual machines can be standalone, or they can exist within a vApp. A vApp is a compound object composed of one or more virtual machines, as well as one or more networks.

The following figure shows the different options when creating a virtual machine. You can create a standalone virtual machine or a virtual machine within a vApp. The standalone virtual machine is directly connected to the organization virtual data center. You can also create a virtual machine within a vApp. By creating a virtual machine inside of a vApp, you can group together multiple virtual machines and their associated networks. vApps allow you to build complex applications, and save them to a catalog for future use.

Figure 1. Virtual Machines are Standalone or within a vApp
In this case, the standalone virtual machines are directly connected to the organization virtual data center. Multiple virtual machines can be grouped together with their associated networks within a vApp. vApps allow you to build complex applications and save them to a catalod for future use.