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KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko. KVM also requires a modified QEMU although work is underway to get the required changes upstream.

Using KVM, one can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux or Windows images. Each virtual machine has private virtualized hardware: a network card, disk, graphics adapter, etc.

The kernel component of KVM is included in mainline Linux, as of 2.6.20.

    • The system image for the virtual machine should be on local disk space. Putting a running virtual machine on networked file space will result in poor performance for both the virtual machine, as well as other users of the filespace.**

Getting Started

In order to start using KVM on your machine UMIACS Staff will first need to install the requisite packages, and set a baseline configuration. Please submit your request to staff@umiacs.umd.edu along with a brief explanation of your goals for running a local virtual machine.

Once staff has installed the required packages you can then use the program 'virt-manager' to initialize and manager your virtual machines.

  • In a terminal run:
virt-manager -c qemu:///session
  • This will bring up a graphical interface which can be used to manage various aspects of your virtual manchines.

Creating a virtual machine

Initializing the machine

In virt-manager, highlight 'localhost' and then click the 'New' button. This will bring up a new window that will guide you through configuring your virtual machine. For the most part, you should stick with the default options.