Kernel-based Virtual Machine
|Developer(s)||Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA)|
|Stable release||1.2.0 / September 5, 2012|
|License||GNU General Public License or GNU Lesser General Public License|
Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is a virtualization infrastructure for the Linux kernel which turns it into a hypervisor. KVM requires a processor with hardware virtualization extension. KVM has also been ported to FreeBSD and Illumos in the form of loadable kernel modules.
A wide variety of guest operating systems work with KVM, including many flavours of Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows, Haiku, ReactOS, Plan 9, and AROS Research Operating System. In addition Android 2.2, GNU/Hurd (Debian K16), Minix 3.1.2a, Solaris 10 U3, Darwin 8.0.1 and more OSs and some newer versions of these with limitations are known to work. A modified version of QEMU can use KVM to run Mac OS X.
Paravirtualization support for certain devices is available for Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Plan 9 and Windows guests using the VirtIO framework. This supports a paravirtual Ethernet card, a paravirtual disk I/O controller, a balloon device for adjusting guest memory usage, and a VGA graphics interface using SPICE or VMware drivers.
KVM uses SeaBIOS.
Linux 2.6.20 (released February 2007) was the first to include KVM.
By itself, KVM does not perform any emulation. Instead, it simply exposes the /dev/kvm interface, with which a user-space host can then:
- Set up the guest VM's address space. The host must also supply a firmware image (usually a custom BIOS when emulating PCs) with which the guest can bootstrap into its main OS.
- Feed it simulated I/O.
- Map its video display back onto the host.
On Linux, QEMU versions 0.10.1 and later is one such host. It will use KVM when available to virtualize guests at near-native speeds, but otherwise fall back to software-only emulation.
KVM's parts are licensed under various GNU licenses:
- KVM kernel module: GPL v2
- KVM user module: LGPL v2
- QEMU virtual CPU core library (libqemu.a) and QEMU PC system emulator: LGPL
- Linux user mode QEMU emulator: GPL
- BIOS files (bios.bin, vgabios.bin and vgabios-cirrus.bin): LGPL v2 or later
Graphical management tools
- Archipel – An opensource libvirt-based Web UI, which uses XMPP to communicate with its "agents" installed on servers
- Witsbits – Simplified SaaS based centralized management with web UI.
- Virtual Machine Manager – Supports creating, editing, starting, and stopping KVM-based virtual machines, as well as live or cold drag-and-drop migration of VMs between hosts.
- ConVirt – Manages creating, editing, starting, and stopping KVM-based virtual machines, as well as live or cold drag-and-drop migration of VMs between hosts.
- Proxmox Virtual Environment – Free virtualization management package including KVM and OpenVZ. It has a bare-metal installer, a web-based remote management GUI, and optional commercial support.
- OpenNode – RHEL/CentOS-based open-source server virtualization and management solution with a simple bare-metal installer, providing KVM+OpenVZ host and standard libvirt, func management interfaces together with standard CLI tools like virsh and vzctl.
- OpenQRM - Management platform for managing heterogeneous data center infrastructures.
- SolusVM – Supports the management of KVM-based virtual machines as well as Xen and OpenVZ.
- Virtualizor – Supports the management of KVM-based virtual machines as well as Xen and OpenVZ.
|Video card||Cirrus CLGD 5446 PCI VGA card or dummy VGA card with Bochs VESA extensions|
|PCI||i440FX host PCI bridge and PIIX3 PCI to ISA bridge|
|Input device||PS/2 Mouse and Keyboard|
|Sound card||Sound Blaster 16, ENSONIQ AudioPCI ES1370, Gravis Ultrasound GF1, CS4231A compatible|
|Ethernet Network card||AMD Am79C970A (Am7990), E1000 (Intel 82540EM, 82573L, 82544GC), NE2000, and Realtek RTL8139|
|Watchdog timer||Intel 6300ESB or IB700|
|RAM||50 MB – 32 TB|
- Illumos based distributions
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.4 and above
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP1 and above
- Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and above
- Gentoo Linux
- Comparison of platform virtual machines
- Open Virtualization Alliance
- KVM FAQ: What do I need to use KVM?
- "FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report: Porting Linux KVM to FreeBSD".
- "KVM on illumos".
- Gmane - Mail To News And Back Again
- Gmane Loom
- KVM/ARM Open Source Project
- "KVM wiki: Guest support status". Retrieved 2007-05-27.
- "Howto: Mac OS X on KVM".
- "OpenBSD man page virtio(4)". Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "virtio binary packages for FreeBSD". Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- "NetBSD man page virtio(4)". Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "plan9front". Retrieved 2013-02-11.
- "SCSI target for KVM wiki". linux-iscsi.org. 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2012-08-12.
- "Linux: 2.6.20 Kernel Released". KernelTrap.
- Licensing info from Ubuntu 7.04 /usr/share/doc/kvm/copyright
- Interview: Avi Kivity on KernelTrap
- Red Hat press release on Qumranet purchase
- wiki.qemu.org – QEMU Emulator User Documentation, read 2010-05-06
- Official website
- Wikibook QEMU & KVM
- First benchmarks of KVM
- "News, Blogs and Resources on the Linux (KVM) Kernel-Based Virtual Machine"
- Available KVM-Implementation from Collax
- UnifiedSessionsManager – An OpenSource based Service and Sessions Manager for QEMU/KVM