Getting started with virtualization
This page has been converted from the Fedora Project Wiki and cleaned up for publishing here on the Fedora Docs Portal, but it has not yet been reviewed for technical accuracy. This means any information on this page may be outdated or inaccurate. Reviews for technical accuracy are greatly appreciated. If you want to help, see the README file in the source repository for instructions.
Fedora uses the libvirt family of tools as its virtualization solution.
This section covers setting up
libvirt on your system. After setting up
libvirt, you can create virtualized guest operating systems, also known as virtual machines.
To run virtualization on Fedora, you need:
At least 600MB of hard disk storage per guest. A minimal command-line Fedora system requires 600MB of storage. Standard Fedora desktop guests require at least 3GB of space.
At least 256MB of RAM per guest, plus 256MB for the base operating system. At least 756MB is recommended for each guest of a modern operating system. A good way to estimate this is to think about how much memory is required for the operating system normally, and allocate that amount to the virtualized guest.
KVM requires a CPU with virtualization extensions, found on most consumer CPUs. These extensions are called Intel VT or AMD-V. To check whether you have CPU support, run the following command:
$ egrep '^flags.*(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo
If this command results in nothing printed, your system does not support the relevant virtualization extensions. You can still use QEMU/KVM, but the emulator will fall back to software virtualization, which is much slower.
When installing Fedora, you can install the virtualization packages by selecting Virtualization in the Base Group in the installer. See Installing Using Anaconda.
For existing Fedora installations, you can install the virtualization tools via the command line using the Virtualization Package Group. To view the packages, run:
$ dnf groupinfo virtualization Group: Virtualization Group-Id: virtualization Description: These packages provide a virtualization environment. Mandatory Packages: =virt-install Default Packages: =libvirt-daemon-config-network =libvirt-daemon-kvm =qemu-kvm =virt-manager =virt-viewer Optional Packages: guestfs-browser libguestfs-tools python-libguestfs virt-top
Run the following command to install the mandatory and default packages in the virtualization group:
# dnf install @virtualization
Alternatively, to install the mandatory, default, and optional packages, run:
# dnf group install --with-optional virtualization
After the packages install, start the
# systemctl start libvirtd
To start the service on boot, run:
# systemctl enable libvirtd
To verify that the KVM kernel modules are properly loaded:
$ lsmod | grep kvm kvm_amd 55563 0 kvm 419458 1 kvm_amd
If this command lists
kvm_amd, KVM is properly configured.
By default, libvirt will create a private network for your guests on the host machine. This private network will use a 192.168.x.x subnet and not be reachable directly from the network the host machine is on. However, virtual guests can use the host machine as a gateway and can connect out via it. If you need to provide services on your guests that are reachable via other machines on your host network you can use iptables DNAT rules to forward in specific ports, or you can set up a bridged environment.
See the libvirt networking setup page for more information on how to setup a bridged network.
The installation of Fedora guests using Anaconda is supported. The installation can be started on the command-line using the
virt-install program or in the user interface program
virt-install is a command-line based tool for creating virtualized guests. Execute
virt-install --help for command line help, or you can find the manual page at
man 1 virt-install.
To use the virt-install command, you should first download an ISO of the Fedora version you wish to install. You can find the latest Fedora images at https://getfedora.org. This ISO is only needed during Fedora installation, and can be deleted to free up storage space afterwards if desired. More information about Fedora installation can be found in the Installation Guide. In this example we’ll use Fedora Workstation.
Adjust the ram, vcpus, and disk size parameters according to the resources you have available.
Storage: An easy way to check your disk size from a bash shell is using the
df(1)`utility from the shell:
# df -h
Memory: You can check your available memory from the shell using free(1):
# free -m
VCPU: You can check your processor information using
When allocating resources to your VM, keep in mind the minimum system requirements for the version of Fedora you are installing as well as your use case requirements. For Fedora 33, you can find this in the Release Notes.
The libvirt default storage pool is located at
`/var/lib/libvirt/images - which is the parent file path we use in this example. For individuals who are lacking enough storage in that path, you can simply mount a new disk or partition to that directory path (from the BASH shell, type
man 1 mount) or select a new path. In the example
virt-install command below, the disk did not exist prior to running virt-install. When the specified disk is not pre-existing, you must specify the size so virt-install can create a disk for you. If your disk already exists, you can safely remove the
,size=20 parameter from the disk argument.
You have several disk storage options for your VM. While it’s outside the scope of this article to discuss these in detail, the following are a few common options. These examples use 20G as the upper limit for disk size, but you can adjust this size to fit your needs.
Again, you do not need to manually allocate storage using the example options shown below if you specify the size parameter in the virt-install example shown below.
To create a fully allocated (non-sparse) raw file:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/lib/libvirt/images/guest.img bs=1M count=20480
you can also use fallocate(1):
fallocate -l 20480M /var/lib/libvirt/images/guest.img
To create a dynamically allocated (sparse) raw file:
rm -f /var/lib/libvirt/images/guest.img truncate --size=20480M /var/lib/libvirt/images/guest.img
To create a new qcow2-formatted disk separately, you can use qemu-img (the example below specifies a disk size of 20G):
# qemu-img create -f qcow2 /var/lib/libvirt/images/guest.qcow2 20480
More information about libvirt storage options can be found at https://libvirt.org/storage.html.
Finally, run the virt-install command using the following format (adjusting parameters as needed):
# virt-install --name Fedora33 \ --description 'Fedora 33 Workstation' \ --ram 4096 \ --vcpus 2 \ --disk path=/var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-Workstation-33/Fedora-Workstation-33-20180518.0.x86_64.qcow2,size=20 \ --os-type linux \ --os-variant fedora33 \ --network bridge=virbr0 \ --graphics vnc,listen=127.0.0.1,port=5901 \ --cdrom /var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-Workstation-33/Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86-64-33-1.1.iso \ --noautoconsole
Note: For the graphics parameter, we’re setting the vnc listener to localhost because it’s more secure to tunnel your VNC connection through SSH so that you don’t expose VNC to everyone with access to the network.
virt-install can use kickstart files, for example,
virt-install -x ks=kickstart-file-name.ks.
If graphics were enabled, a VNC window will open and present the graphical installer. If graphics were not enabled, a text installer will appear. Proceed with the Fedora installation.
Start Virtual Machine Manager by navigating to, or by running the following command:
Open a connection to a hypervisor by navigating to.
Choose qemu for KVM, or Xen for Xen.
Choose local or select a method to connect to a remote hypervisor.
After a connection is opened, click the new icon next to the hypervisor, or right-click on the active hypervisor and select New.
Configure the virtual machine following the steps in the New VM wizard.
Click Finish at the end of the wizard to provision the guest operating system. After a few moments a VNC window will appear. Proceed with the Fedora installation.
When the installation of the guest operating system is complete, it can be managed using the
virt-manager program or via command line using
Start the Virtual Machine Manager by navigating to menu:[Applications]System Tools, or run:
If you are not root, you will be prompted to enter the root password. Choose Run unprivileged to operate in read-only non-root mode.
Choose the host you wish to manage and click Connect in the Open Connection dialog window.
The list of virtual machines is displayed in the main window. Guests that are running will display a ">" icon. Guests that are not running will be greyed out.
To manage a particular guest, double click on it, or right click and select Open.
A new window for the guest will open that will allow you to use its console, see information about its virtual hardware and start, stop, and pause it.
For further information about
virt-manager, see http://virt-manager.et.redhat.com/.
Bugs in the
virt-manager tool should be reported in Bugzilla against the
virsh command-line utility allows you to manage virtual machines on the command line. The
virsh utility is built around the libvirt management API:
virshhas a stable set of commands whose syntax and semantics are preserved across updates to the underlying virtualization platform.
virshcan be used as an unprivileged user for read-only operations (e.g. listing domains, listing domain statistics).
virshcan manage domains running under Xen, QEMU/KVM, ESX, or other back-ends with no perceptible difference to the user.
To start a virtual machine:
# virsh create <name of virtual machine>
To list the virtual machines currently running:
# virsh list
To list all virtual machines, running or not:
# virsh list --all
To gracefully power off a guest:
# virsh shutdown <virtual machine (name | id | uuid)>
To non gracefully power off a guest:
# virsh destroy <virtual machine (name | id | uuid)>
To save a snapshot of the machine to a file:
# virsh save <virtual machine (name | id | uuid)> <filename>
To restore a previously saved snapshot:
# virsh restore <filename>
To export the configuration file of a virtual machine:
# virsh dumpxml <virtual machine (name | id | uuid)
For a complete list of commands available for use with
# virsh help
Or consult the manual page:
Bugs in the
virsh tool should be reported in Bugzilla against the libvirt component.
The following remote management options are available:
If using non-root users via SSH, see the setup instructions in http://wiki.libvirt.org/page/SSHSetup
If using root for access via SSH, then create SSH keys for root, and use
To use TLS, set up a local certificate authority and issue x509 certs to all servers and clients. For information on configuring this option, see http://wiki.libvirt.org/page/TLSSetup.
QEMU/KVM can be invoked directly without libvirt, however you cannot to use tools such as
virsh. Plain QEMU (without KVM) can also virtualize other processor architectures like ARM or PowerPC.
Fedora can run as a Xen guest operating system and also be used as a Xen host (with the latter being true from Fedora 16; for using an earlier version of Fedora as a Xen host, check out the experimental repo available at http://myoung.fedorapeople.org/dom0). For a guide on how to install and setup a Fedora Xen host, see Fedora Host Installation page on the Xen Project wiki.
OpenStack consists of a number of services for running infrastructure as a service (IaaS) clouds. They are the Object Store (Swift), Compute (Nova), and Image (Glance) services.
The oVirt project is an open virtualization project providing a end-to-end, server virtualization management system with advanced capabilities for hosts and guests, including high availability, live migration, storage management, system scheduler, and more.
For a list of known unresolved issues, as well as troubleshooting tips, see How to debug virtualization problems