Virtualization Getting Started Guide

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

An introduction to virtualization concepts

Jiri Herrmann

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Yehuda Zimmerman

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Dayle Parker

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Laura Novich

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Jacquelynn East

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Scott Radvan

Red Hat Customer Content Services

Abstract

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Getting Started Guide describes the basics of virtualization and the virtualization products and technologies that are available with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Chapter 1. General Introduction to Virtualization

1.1. What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is a broad computing term used for running software, usually multiple operating systems, concurrently and in isolation from other programs on a single system. Virtualization is accomplished by using a hypervisor. This is a software layer or subsystem that controls hardware and enables running multiple operating systems, called virtual machines (VMs) or guests, on a single (usually physical) machine. This machine with its operating system is called a host. For more information, see the Red Hat Customer Portal.
There are several virtualization methods:
Full virtualization
Full virtualization uses an unmodified version of the guest operating system. The guest addresses the host’s CPU via a channel created by the hypervisor. Because the guest communicates directly with the CPU, this is the fastest virtualization method.
Paravirtualization
Paravirtualization uses a modified guest operating system. The guest communicates with the hypervisor. The hypervisor passes the unmodified calls from the guest to the CPU and other interfaces, both real and virtual. Because the calls are routed through the hypervisor, this method is slower than full virtualization.
Software virtualization (or emulation)
Software virtualization uses binary translation and other emulation techniques to run unmodified operating systems. The hypervisor translates the guest calls to a format that can be used by the host system. Because all calls are translated, this method is slower than virtualization. Note that Red Hat does not support software virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Containerization
While KVM virtualization creates a separate instance of OS kernel, operating-system-level virtualization, also known as containerization, operates on top of an existing OS kernel and creates isolated instances of the host OS, known as containers. For more information on containers, see the Red Hat Customer Portal.
Containers do not have the versatility of KVM virtualization, but are more lighweight and flexible to handle. For a more detailed comparison, see the Introduction to Linux Containers.
To use containers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, install the docker packages from the Extras channel. Note that Red Hat also offers optimized solutions for using containers, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. For details on container support, see the Red Hat KnowledgeBase.

1.2. Virtualization Solutions

Red Hat offers the following major virtualization solutions, each with a different user focus and features:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
The ability to create, run, and manage virtual machines, as well as a number of virtualization tools and features are included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. This solution supports a limited number of running guests per host, as well as a limited range of guest types. As such, virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux can be useful for example to developers who require testing in multiple environments, or to small businesses running several servers that do not have strict uptime requirements or service-level agreements (SLAs).

Important

This guide provides information about virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and does not go into detail about other virtualization solutions.
Red Hat Virtualization
Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is based on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology like virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux is, but offers an enhanced array of features. Designed for enterprise-class scalability and performance, it enables management of your entire virtual infrastructure, including hosts, virtual machines, networks, storage, and users from a centralized graphical interface.

Note

For more information about the differences between virtualization in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Virtualization, see the Red Hat Customer Portal.
Red Hat Virtualization can be used by enterprises running larger deployments or mission-critical applications. Examples of large deployments suited to Red Hat Virtualization include databases, trading platforms, and messaging systems that must run continuously without any downtime.

Note

For more information about Red Hat Virtualization, or to download a fully supported 60-day evaluation version, see http://www.redhat.com/en/technologies/virtualization/enterprise-virtualization. Alternatively, refer to the Red Hat Virtualization documentation suite.
Red Hat OpenStack Platform
Red Hat OpenStack Platform offers an integrated foundation to create, deploy, and scale a secure and reliable public or private OpenStack cloud.

Note

For more information about Red Hat OpenStack Platform, or to download a 60-day evaluation version, see https://www.redhat.com/en/technologies/linux-platforms/openstack-platform. Alternatively, refer to the Red Hat OpenStack Platform documentation suite.

Chapter 2. Why Use Virtualization?

Virtualization can be useful both for server deployments and individual desktop stations. Desktop virtualization offers cost-efficient centralized management and better disaster recovery. In addition, by using connection tools such as ssh, it is possible to connect to a desktop remotely.
When used for servers, virtualization can benefit not only larger networks, but also deployments with more than a single server. Virtualization provides live migration, high availability, fault tolerance, and streamlined backups.

2.1. Virtualization Costs

Virtualization can be expensive to introduce, but it often saves money in the long term. Consider the following benefits:
Less power
Using virtualization negates much of the need for multiple physical platforms. This equates to less power being drawn for machine operation and cooling, resulting in reduced energy costs. The initial cost of purchasing multiple physical platforms, combined with the machines' power consumption and required cooling, is drastically cut by using virtualization.
Less maintenance
Provided that adequate planning is performed before migrating physical systems to virtualized ones, less time is needed to maintain them. This means less money needs to be spent on parts and labor.
Extended life for installed software
Older versions of software may not be able to run directly on more recent bare-metal machines. By running older software virtually on a larger, faster system, the life of the software may be extended while taking advantage of better performance from a newer system.
Predictable costs
A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription provides support for virtualization at a fixed rate, making it easy to predict costs.
Less space
Consolidating servers onto fewer machines means less physical space is required for computer systems.

2.2. Performance

Older virtualization versions supported only a single CPU. As a result, virtual machines experienced noticeable performance limitations. This created a long-lasting misconception that virtualization solutions are slow.
This is no longer the case. Modern virtualization technology has greatly improved the speed of virtual machines. Benchmarks show that virtual machines can run typical server applications nearly as efficiently as bare-metal systems:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and KVM recorded an industry-leading TPC-C benchmark with an IBM DB2 database running in an entirely virtualized x86 environment and delivering 88% of bare-metal performance. Due to resource demands, databases have previously been reserved for bare-metal deployments only.
  • The industry standard SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) Standard Application Benchmark found that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 and KVM performs at the virtualization efficiency of 85% when compared to a bare-metal system running on identical hardware.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 and KVM achieved record-setting virtualization performance in the SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark recorded by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC), setting the best virtual performance mark of any published SPECvirt result. The SPECvirt_sc2010 metric measures the end-to-end performance of system components in virtualized data center servers.

Note

For more information on performance tuning for virtualization, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Tuning and Optimization Guide.

2.3. Migration

Migration describes the process of moving a guest virtual machine from one host to another. This is possible because the virtual machines are running in a virtualized environment instead of directly on the hardware. There are two ways to migrate a virtual machine: live and offline.

Migration Types

Offline migration
An offline migration suspends the guest virtual machine, and then moves an image of the virtual machine's memory to the destination host. The virtual machine is then resumed on the destination host and the memory used by the virtual machine on the source host is freed.
Live migration
Live migration is the process of migrating an active virtual machine from one physical host to another. Note that this is not possible between all Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases. Consult the Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide for details.

2.3.1. Benefits of Migrating Virtual Machines

Migration is useful for:
Load balancing
When a host machine is overloaded, one or more of its virtual machines could be migrated to other hosts using live migration. Similarly, machines that are not running and tend to overload can be migrated using offline migration.
Upgrading or making changes to the host
When the need arises to upgrade, add, or remove hardware devices on a host, virtual machines can be safely relocated to other hosts. This means that guests do not experience any downtime due to changes that are made to hosts.
Energy saving
Virtual machines can be redistributed to other hosts and the unloaded host systems can be powered off to save energy and cut costs in low usage periods.
Geographic migration
Virtual machines can be moved to other physical locations for lower latency or for other reasons.
When the migration process moves a virtual machine's memory, the disk volume associated with the virtual machine is also migrated. This process is performed using live block migration.

Note

2.3.2. Virtualized to Virtualized Migration (V2V)

As a special type of migration, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 provides tools for converting virtual machines from other types of hypervisors to KVM. The virt-v2v tool converts and imports virtual machines from Xen, other versions of KVM, and VMware ESX.

Note

For more information on V2V, refer to the V2V Knowledgebase articles.
In addition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 and later support physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion using the virt-p2v tool. For details, see the P2V Knowledgebase article.

2.4. Security

KVM virtual machines use the following features to improve their security:
SELinux
Security-Enhanced Linux, or SELinux, provides Mandatory Access Control (MAC) for all Linux systems, and thus benefits also Linux guests. Under the control of SELinux, all processes and files are given a type, and their access on the system is limited by fine-grained controls of various types. SELinux limits the abilities of an attacker and works to prevent many common security exploits such as buffer overflow attacks and privilege escalation.
sVirt
sVirt is a technology included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 that integrates SELinux and virtualization. It applies Mandatory Access Control (MAC) to improve security when using virtual machines, and hardens the system against hypervisor bugs that might be used to attack the host or another virtual machine.

Note

For more information on security in virtualization, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Security Guide.

2.5. Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is quicker and easier when the systems are virtualized. On a physical system, if something serious goes wrong, a complete reinstall of the operating system is usually required, resulting in hours of recovery time. However, if the systems are virtualized this is much faster due to the migration ability. If the requirements for live migration are followed, virtual machines can be restarted on another host, and the longest possible delay would be in restoring guest data. Also, because each of the virtualized systems are completely separate from each other, one system's downtime will not affect any others.

Chapter 3. Introduction to Red Hat Virtualization Products and Features

This chapter introduces the main virtualization products and features available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

3.1. KVM and Virtualization in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on a variety of architectures. It is built into the standard Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 kernel and integrated with the Quick Emulator (QEMU), and it can run multiple guest operating systems. The KVM hypervisor in Red Hat Enterprise Linux is managed with the libvirt API, and tools built for libvirt (such as virt-manager and virsh). Virtual machines are executed and run as multi-threaded Linux processes, controlled by these tools.

Warning

QEMU and libvirt also support a dynamic translation mode using the QEMU Tiny Code Generator (TCG), which does not require hardware virtualization support. This configuration is not supported by Red Hat.
For more information about this limitation, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
KVM architecture

Figure 3.1. KVM architecture

Virtualization features supported by KVM on Red Hat Enterprise 7 include the following:
Overcommitting
The KVM hypervisor supports overcommitting of system resources. Overcommitting means allocating more virtualized CPUs or memory than the available resources on the system, so the resources can be dynamically swapped when required by one guest and not used by another. This can improve how efficiently guests use the resources of the host, and can make it possible for the user to require fewer hosts.

Important

Overcommitting involves possible risks to system stability. For more information on overcommitting with KVM, and the precautions that should be taken, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
KSM
Kernel Same-page Merging (KSM), used by the KVM hypervisor, enables KVM guests to share identical memory pages. These shared pages are usually common libraries or other identical, high-use data. KSM allows for greater guest density of identical or similar guest operating systems by avoiding memory duplication.

Note

QEMU guest agent
The QEMU guest agent runs on the guest operating system and makes it possible for the host machine to issue commands to the guest operating system.

Note

For more information on the QEMU guest agent, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Disk I/O throttling
When several virtual machines are running simultaneously, they can interfere with the overall system performance by using excessive disk I/O. Disk I/O throttling in KVM provides the ability to set a limit on disk I/O requests sent from individual virtual machines to the host machine. This can prevent a virtual machine from over-utilizing shared resources, and impacting the performance of other virtual machines.

Note

For instructions on using disk I/O throttling, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Tuning and Optimization Guide.
Automatic NUMA balancing
Automatic non-uniform memory access (NUMA) balancing moves tasks, which can be threads or processes closer to the memory they are accessing. This improves the performance of applications running on non-uniform memory access (NUMA) hardware systems, without any manual tuning required for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 guests.

Note

For more information on automatic NUMA balancing, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Tuning and Optimization Guide.
Virtual CPU hot add
Virtual CPU (vCPU) hot add capability provides the ability to increase processing power on running virtual machines as needed, without shutting down the guests. The vCPUs assigned to a virtual machine can be added to a running guest to either meet the workload's demands, or to maintain the Service Level Agreement (SLA) associated with the workload.

Note

For more information on virtual CPU hot add, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Nested virtualization
As a Technology Preview, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 and later offers hardware-assisted nested virtualization. This feature enables KVM guests to act as hypervisors and create their own guests.
This can for example be used for debugging hypervisors on a virtual machine or testing larger virtual deployments on a limited amount of physical machines.

Note

For further information on setting up and using nested virtualization, see Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
KVM guest virtual machine compatibility
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 servers have certain support limits.
The following URLs explain the processor and memory amount limitations for Red Hat Enterprise Linux:
For a complete chart of supported operating systems and host and guest combinations refer to Red Hat Customer Portal

Note

To verify whether your processor supports virtualization extensions and for information on enabling virtualization extensions if they are disabled, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

3.2. libvirt and libvirt Tools

The libvirt package provides a hypervisor-independent virtualization API that can interact with the virtualization capabilities of a range of operating systems. It includes:
  • A virtualization layer to securely manage virtual machines on a host.
  • An interface for managing local and networked hosts.
  • The APIs required to provision, create, modify, monitor, control, migrate, and stop virtual machines. Although multiple hosts may be accessed with libvirt simultaneously, the APIs are limited to single node operations.

    Note

    Only operations supported by the hypervisor can be performed using libvirt.
libvirt focuses on managing single hosts and provides APIs to enumerate, monitor and use the resources available on the managed node, including CPUs, memory, storage, networking and Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) partitions. The management tools do not need to be on the same physical machine as the machines on which the hosts are running. In such a scenario, the machine on which the management tools run communicates with the machines on which the hosts are running using secure protocols.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 supports libvirt and includes libvirt-based tools as its default method for virtualization management (as in Red Hat Virtualization Management).
The libvirt package is available as free software under the GNU Lesser General Public License. The libvirt project aims to provide a long term stable C API to virtualization management tools, running on top of varying hypervisor technologies. The libvirt package supports Xen on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, and KVM on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
Notably, libvirt also provides the two primary tools for controlling virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7: virsh and virt-manager.

3.3. Domain XML Configuration

All host-based configuration of KVM guest virtual machines (also referred to as domains) is stored in domain XML configuration files (or domain XMLs). This includes the settings for virtual hardware, boot options, resource allocation, network interfaces, and more. Using an application or utility that persistently modifies a guest property, such as virsh setmem, writes this change into the guest's configuration file, which the hypervisor then reads when booting the guest.
To display the XML configuration of a specific guest, use the virsh dumpxml guestname command.
To edit the XML configuration of a guest, use one of the following:
  • The virsh commands - Persistent changes made to a guest virtual machine using virsh commands are recorded in the domain XML.
  • The virt-xml command - This command configures the domain XML file of a specified guest according to the provided options.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager - Changes made to a guest virtual machine in the Virtual Machine Manager are recorded in the domain XML.

Note

For the rare cases in which the domain XML files must be edited directly, use the virsh edit guestname. This command opens the domain XML configuration of the specified guest in the text editor determined by root's bash configuration, by default vi.
To change the editor for virsh edit, set or modify the EDITOR variable in the .bashrc file of the intended user. For example, for the root user, this file is located in the /root/ directory.
For the modifications performed using virsh edit to take effect, save the edited XML configuration and restart the guest.

Warning

Do not edit the XML configuration of a guest by opening it as a file in a text editor, for example by using gedit /etc/libvirt/qemu/guestname.xml. Changes made this way do not take effect and are automatically overwritten.
For detailed information on domain XML configuration files, see the Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

3.4. Virtualized Hardware Devices

Virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 allows virtual machines to use the host's physical hardware as three distinct types of devices:
  • Virtualized and emulated devices
  • Paravirtualized devices
  • Physically shared devices
These hardware devices all appear as being physically attached to the virtual machine but the device drivers work in different ways.

3.4.1. Virtualized and Emulated Devices

KVM implements many core devices for virtual machines as software. These emulated hardware devices are crucial for virtualizing operating systems. Emulated devices are virtual devices which exist entirely in software.
In addition, KVM provides emulated drivers. These form a translation layer between the virtual machine and the Linux kernel (which manages the source device). The device level instructions are completely translated by the KVM hypervisor. Any device of the same type (storage, network, keyboard, or mouse) that is recognized by the Linux kernel can be used as the backing source device for the emulated drivers.
Virtual CPUs (vCPUs)
On Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 and above, the host system can have up to 240 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) that can be presented to guests for use, regardless of the number of host CPUs. This is up from 160 in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0.
Emulated system components
The following core system components are emulated to provide basic system functions:
  • Intel i440FX host PCI bridge
  • PIIX3 PCI to ISA bridge
  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • EvTouch USB graphics tablet
  • PCI UHCI USB controller and a virtualized USB hub
  • Emulated serial ports
  • EHCI controller, virtualized USB storage and a USB mouse
  • USB 3.0 xHCI host controller (Technology Preview in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3)
Emulated storage drivers
Storage devices and storage pools can use emulated drivers to attach storage devices to virtual machines. The guest uses an emulated storage driver to access the storage pool.
Note that like all virtual devices, the storage drivers are not storage devices. The drivers are used to attach a backing storage device, file or storage pool volume to a virtual machine. The backing storage device can be any supported type of storage device, file, or storage pool volume.
The emulated IDE driver
KVM provides two emulated PCI IDE interfaces. An emulated IDE driver can be used to attach any combination of up to four virtualized IDE hard disks or virtualized IDE CD-ROM drives to each virtual machine. The emulated IDE driver is also used for virtualized CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives.
The emulated floppy disk drive driver
The emulated floppy disk drive driver is used for creating virtualized floppy drives.
Emulated sound devices
An emulated (Intel) HDA sound device, intel-hda, is supported in the following guest operating systems:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, for the AMD64 and Intel 64 architecture
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, 5, and 6, for the 32-bit AMD and Intel architecture and the AMD64 and Intel 64 architecture

Note

The following emulated sound device is also available, but is not recommended due to compatibility issues with certain guest operating systems:
  • ac97, an emulated Intel 82801AA AC97 Audio compatible sound card
Emulated graphics cards
The following emulated graphics cards are provided.
  • A Cirrus CLGD 5446 PCI VGA card
  • A standard VGA graphics card with Bochs VESA extensions (hardware level, including all non-standard modes)
Guests can connect to these devices with the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE) protocol or with the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) system.
Emulated network devices
The following two emulated network devices are provided:
  • The e1000 device emulates an Intel E1000 network adapter (Intel 82540EM, 82573L, 82544GC).
  • The rtl8139 device emulates a Realtek 8139 network adapter.
Emulated watchdog devices
A watchdog can be used to automatically reboot a virtual machine when the machine becomes overloaded or unresponsive.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 provides the following emulated watchdog devices:
  • i6300esb, an emulated Intel 6300 ESB PCI watchdog device. It is supported in guest operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 6.0 and above, and is the recommended device to use.
  • ib700, an emulated iBase 700 ISA watchdog device. The ib700 watchdog device is only supported in guests using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 and above.
Both watchdog devices are supported on 32-bit and 64-bit AMD and Intel architectures for guest operating systems Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 and above.

3.4.2. Paravirtualized Devices

Paravirtualization provides a fast and efficient means of communication for guests to use devices on the host machine. KVM provides paravirtualized devices to virtual machines using the virtio API as a layer between the hypervisor and guest.
Some paravirtualized devices decrease I/O latency and increase I/O throughput to near bare-metal levels, while other paravirtualized devices add functionality to virtual machines that is not otherwise available. It is recommended to use paravirtualized devices instead of emulated devices for virtual machines running I/O intensive applications.
All virtio devices have two parts: the host device and the guest driver. Paravirtualized device drivers allow the guest operating system access to physical devices on the host system.
To use this device, the paravirtualized device drivers must be installed on the guest operating system. By default, the paravirtualized device drivers are included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7 and later, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 and later, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 and later.

Note

For more information on using the paravirtualized devices and drivers, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
The paravirtualized network device (virtio-net)
The paravirtualized network device is a virtual network device that provides network access to virtual machines with increased I/O performance and lower latency.
The paravirtualized block device (virtio-blk)
The paravirtualized block device is a high-performance virtual storage device that provides storage to virtual machines with increased I/O performance and lower latency. The paravirtualized block device is supported by the hypervisor and is attached to the virtual machine (except for floppy disk drives, which must be emulated).
The paravirtualized controller device (virtio-scsi)
The paravirtualized SCSI controller device provides a more flexible and scalable alternative to virtio-blk. A virtio-scsi guest is capable of inheriting the feature set of the target device, and can handle hundreds of devices compared to virtio-blk, which can only handle 28 devices.
virtio-scsi is fully supported for the following guest operating systems:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and above
The paravirtualized clock
Guests using the Time Stamp Counter (TSC) as a clock source may suffer timing issues. KVM works around hosts that do not have a constant Time Stamp Counter by providing guests with a paravirtualized clock. Additionally, the paravirtualized clock assists with time adjustments needed after a guest runs the sleep (S3) or suspend to RAM operations.
The paravirtualized serial device (virtio-serial)
The paravirtualized serial device is a bytestream-oriented, character stream device, and provides a simple communication interface between the host's user space and the guest's user space.
The balloon device (virtio-balloon)
The balloon device can designate part of a virtual machine's RAM as not being used (a process known as inflating the balloon), so that the memory can be freed for the host (or for other virtual machines on that host) to use. When the virtual machine needs the memory again, the balloon can be deflated and the host can distribute the RAM back to the virtual machine.
The paravirtualized random number generator (virtio-rng)
The paravirtualized random number generator enables virtual machines to collect entropy, or randomness, directly from the host to use for encrypted data and security. Virtual machines can often be starved of entropy because typical inputs (such as hardware usage) are unavailable. Sourcing entropy can be time-consuming. virtio-rng makes this process faster by injecting entropy directly into guest virtual machines from the host.
The paravirtualized graphics card (QXL)
The paravirtualized graphics card works with the QXL driver to provide an efficient way to display a virtual machine's graphics from a remote host. The QXL driver is required to use SPICE.

3.4.3. Physical Host Devices

Certain hardware platforms enable virtual machines to directly access various hardware devices and components. This process in virtualization is known as device assignment, or also as passthrough.
VFIO device assignment
Virtual Function I/O (VFIO) is a new kernel driver in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 that provides virtual machines with high performance access to physical hardware.
VFIO attaches PCI devices on the host system directly to virtual machines, providing guests with exclusive access to PCI devices for a range of tasks. This enables PCI devices to appear and behave as if they were physically attached to the guest virtual machine.
VFIO improves on previous PCI device assignment architecture by moving device assignment out of the KVM hypervisor, and enforcing device isolation at the kernel level. VFIO offers better security and is compatible with secure boot. It is the default device assignment mechanism in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
VFIO increases the number of assigned devices to 32 in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, up from a maximum 8 devices in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. VFIO also supports assignment of NVIDIA GPUs.

Note

For more information on VFIO device assignment, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
USB, PCI, and SCSI passthrough
The KVM hypervisor supports attaching USB, PCI, and SCSI devices on the host system to virtual machines. USB, PCI, and SCSI device assignment makes it possible for the devices to appear and behave as if they were physically attached to the virtual machine. Thus, it provides guests with exclusive access to these devices for a variety of tasks.

Note

For more information on USB, PCI, and SCSI passthrough, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
SR-IOV
SR-IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualization) is a PCI Express (PCI-e) standard that extends a single physical PCI function to share its PCI resources as separate, virtual functions (VFs). Each function is capable of being used by a different virtual machine via PCI device assignment.
An SR-IOV-capable PCI-e device provides a Single Root function (for example, a single Ethernet port) and presents multiple, separate virtual devices as unique PCI device functions. Each virtual device may have its own unique PCI configuration space, memory-mapped registers, and individual MSI-based interrupts.

Note

NPIV
N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) is a functionality available with some Fibre Channel devices. NPIV shares a single physical N_Port as multiple N_Port IDs. NPIV provides similar functionality for Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) that SR-IOV provides for PCIe interfaces. With NPIV, virtual machines can be provided with a virtual Fibre Channel initiator to Storage Area Networks (SANs).
NPIV can provide high density virtualized environments with enterprise-level storage solutions.

3.4.4. Guest CPU Models

CPU models define which host CPU features are exposed to the guest operating system. KVM and libvirt contain definitions for a number of processor models, allowing users to enable CPU features that are available only in newer CPU models. The set of CPU features that can be exposed to guests depends on support in the host CPU, the kernel, and KVM code.
To ensure safe migration of virtual machines between hosts with different sets of CPU features, KVM does not expose all features of the host CPU to guest operating system by default. Instead, CPU features are exposed based on the selected CPU model. If a virtual machine has a given CPU feature enabled, it cannot be migrated to a host that does not support exposing that feature to guests.

Note

For more information on guest CPU models, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

3.5. Storage

Storage for virtual machines is abstracted from the physical storage allocated to the virtual machine. It is attached to the virtual machine using the paravirtualized or emulated block device drivers.

3.5.1. Storage Pools

A storage pool is a file, directory, or storage device managed by libvirt for the purpose of providing storage to virtual machines. Storage pools are divided into storage volumes that store virtual machine images or are attached to virtual machines as additional storage. Multiple guests can share the same storage pool, allowing for better allocation of storage resources. For more information, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Local storage pools
Local storage pools are attached directly to the host server. They include local directories, directly attached disks, physical partitions, and Logical Volume Management (LVM) volume groups on local devices. Local storage pools are useful for development, testing and small deployments that do not require migration or large numbers of virtual machines. Local storage pools may not be suitable for many production environment, because they do not support live migration.
Networked (shared) storage pools
Networked storage pools include storage devices shared over a network using standard protocols. Networked storage is required when migrating virtual machines between hosts with virt-manager, but is optional when migrating with virsh. Networked storage pools are managed by libvirt.

3.5.2. Storage Volumes

Storage pools are divided into storage volumes. Storage volumes are an abstraction of physical partitions, LVM logical volumes, file-based disk images and other storage types handled by libvirt. Storage volumes are presented to virtual machines as local storage devices regardless of the underlying hardware.

3.5.3. Emulated Storage Devices

Virtual machines can be presented with a range of storage devices that are emulated by the host. Each type of storage device is appropriate for specific use cases, allowing for maximum flexibility and compatibility with guest operating systems.
virtio-scsi
virtio-scsi is the recommended paravirtualized device for guests using large numbers of disks or advanced storage features such as TRIM. Guest driver installation may be necessary on guests using operating systems other than Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
virtio-blk
virtio-blk is a paravirtualized storage device suitable for exposing image files to guests. virtio-blk can provide the best disk I/O performance for virtual machines, but has fewer features than virtio-scsi.
IDE
IDE is recommended for legacy guests that do not support virtio drivers. IDE performance is lower than virtio-scsi or virtio-blk, but it is widely compatible with different systems.
CD-ROM
ATAPI CD-ROMs and virtio-scsi CD-ROMs are available and make it possible for guests to use ISO files or the host's CD-ROM drive. virtio-scsi CD-ROMs can be used with guests that have the virtio-scsi driver installed. ATAPI CD-ROMs offer wider compatibility but lower performance.
USB mass storage devices and floppy disks
Emulated USB mass storage devices and floppy disks are available when removable media are required. USB mass storage devices are preferable to floppy disks due to their larger capacity.

3.5.4. Host Storage

Disk images can be stored on a range of local and remote storage technologies connected to the host.
Image files
Image files can only be stored on a host file system. The image files can be stored on a local file system, such as ext4 or xfs, or a network file system, such as NFS.
Tools such as libguestfs can manage, back up, and monitor files. Disk image formats on KVM include:
raw
Raw image files contain the contents of the disk with no additional metadata.
Raw files can either be pre-allocated or sparse, if the host file system allows it. Sparse files allocate host disk space on demand, and are therefore a form of thin provisioning. Pre-allocated files are fully provisioned but have higher performance than sparse files.
Raw files are desirable when disk I/O performance is critical and transferring the image file over a network is rarely necessary.
qcow2
qcow2 image files offer a number of advanced disk image features, including backing files, snapshots, compression, and encryption. They can be used to instantiate virtual machines from template images.
qcow2 files are typically more efficient to transfer over a network, because only sectors written by the virtual machine are allocated in the image.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 supports the qcow2 version 3 image file format.
LVM volumes
Logical volumes (LVs) can be used for disk images and managed using the system's LVM tools. LVM offers higher performance than file systems because of its simpler block storage model.
LVM thin provisioning offers snapshots and efficient space usage for LVM volumes, and can be used as an alternative to migrating to qcow2.
Host devices
Host devices such as physical CD-ROMs, raw disks, and logical unit numbers (LUNs) can be presented to the guest. This enables SAN or iSCSI LUNs as well as local CD-ROM media to be used by the guest with good performance.
Host devices can be used when storage management is done on a SAN instead of on hosts.
Distributed storage systems
Gluster volumes can be used as disk images. This enables high-performance clustered storage over the network.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 includes native support for disk images on GlusterFS. This enables a KVM host to boot virtual machine images from GlusterFS volumes, and to use images from a GlusterFS volume as data disks for virtual machines. When compared to GlusterFS FUSE, the native support in KVM delivers higher performance.

Note

For more information on storage and virtualization, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

3.6. Virtual Networking

A virtual guest's connection to any network uses the software network components of the physical host. These software components can be rearranged and reconfigured by using libvirt's virtual network configuration. The host therefore acts as a virtual network switch, which can be configured in a number of different ways to fit the guest's networking needs.
By default, all guests on a single host are connected to the same libvirt virtual network, named default. Guests on this network can make the following connections:
With each other and with the virtualization host
Both inbound and outbound traffic is possible, but is affected by the firewalls in the guest operating system's network stack and by libvirt network filtering rules attached to the guest interface.
With other hosts on the network beyond the virtualization host
Only outbound traffic is possible, and is affected by Network Address Translation (NAT) rules, as well as the host system's firewall.
However, if needed, guest interfaces can instead be set to one of the following modes:
Isolated mode
The guests are connected to a network that does not allow any traffic beyond the virtualization host.
Routed mode
The guests are connected to a network that routes traffic between the guest and external hosts without performing any NAT. This enables incoming connections but requires extra routing-table entries for systems on the external network.
Bridged mode
The guests are connected to a bridge device that is also connected directly to a physical ethernet device connected to the local ethernet. This makes the guest directly visible on the physical network, and thus enables incoming connections, but does not require any extra routing-table entries.
For basic outbound-only network access from virtual machines, no additional network setup is usually needed, as the default network is installed along with the libvirt package, and automatically started when the libvirtd service is started. If more advanced functionality is needed, additional networks can be created and configured using either virsh or virt-manager, and the guest XML configuration file can be edited to use one of these new networks.

Note

For information on advanced virtual network settings, see the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
From the point of view of the guest operating system, a virtual network connection is the same as a normal physical network connection. For further information on configuring networks in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 guests, see the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Networking Guide.

Chapter 4. Getting Started with Virtualization Command-line Interface

The standard method of operating virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is using the command-line user interface (CLI). Entering CLI commands activates system utilities that create or interact with virtual machines on the host system. This method offers more detailed control than using graphical applications such as virt-manager and provides opportunities for scripting and automation.

4.1. Primary Command-line Utilities for Virtualization

The following sub-sections list the main command-line utilities you can use to set up and manage virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. These commands, as well as numerous other virtualization utilities, are included in packages provided by the Red Hat Enterprise Linux repositories and can be installed using the Yum package manager.
For more information about installing virtualization packages, see the Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

4.1.1. virsh

virsh is a CLI utility for managing hypervisors and guest virtual machines. It is the primary means of controlling virtualization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Its capabilities include:
  • Creating, configuring, pausing, listing, and shutting down virtual machines
  • Managing virtual networks
  • Loading virtual machine disk images
The virsh utility is ideal for creating virtualization administration scripts. Users without root privileges can use virsh as well, but in read-only mode.

Using virsh

The virsh utility can be used in a standard command-line input, but also as an interactive shell. In shell mode, the virsh command prefix is not needed, and the user is always registered as root. The following example uses the virsh hostname command to display the hypervisor's host name - first in standard mode, then in interactive mode.
 $ virsh hostname
 localhost.localdomain

 $ virsh
 Welcome to virsh, the virtualization interactive terminal.

 Type:  'help' for help with commands
        'quit' to quit

 virsh # hostname
 localhost.localdomain

Important

When using virsh as a non-root user, you enter an unprivileged libvirt session, which means you cannot see or interact with guests or any other virtualized elements created by the root.
To gain read-only access to the elements, use virsh with the -c qemu:///system option.

Getting help with virsh

Like with all Linux bash commands, you can obtain help with virsh by using the man virsh command or the --help option. In addition, the virsh help command can be used to view the help text of a specific virsh command, or, by using a keyword, to list all virsh commands that belong to a certain group.
The virsh command groups and their respective keywords are as follows:
  • Guest management - keyword domain
  • Guest monitoring - keyword monitor
  • Host and hypervisor monitoring and management- keyword host
  • Host system network interface management - keyword interface
  • Virtual network management - keyword network
  • Network filter management - keyword filter
  • Node device management - keyword nodedev
  • Management of secrets, such as passphrases or encryption keys - keyword secret
  • Snapshot management - keyword snapshot
  • Storage pool management - keyword pool
  • Storage volume management - keyword volume
  • General virsh usage - keyword virsh
In the following example, you need to learn how to rename a guest virtual machine. By using virsh help, you first find the proper command to use and then learn its syntax. Finally, you use the command to rename a guest called Fontaine to Atlas.

Example 4.1. How to list help for all commands with a keyword

virsh help domain
 Domain Management (help keyword 'domain'):
    attach-device                  attach device from an XML file
    attach-disk                    attach disk device
    [...]
    domname                        convert a domain id or UUID to domain name
    domrename                      rename a domain
    [...]
# virsh help domrename
 NAME
   domrename - rename a domain

 SYNOPSIS
   domrename <domain> <new-name>

 DESCRIPTION
   Rename an inactive domain.

 OPTIONS
   [--domain] <string>  domain name, id or uuid
   [--new-name] <string>  new domain name

# virsh domrename --domain Fontaine --new-name Atlas
Domain successfully renamed

Note

For more information about managing virtual machines using virsh, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

4.1.2. virt-install

virt-install is a CLI utility for creating new virtual machines. It supports both text-based and graphical installations, using serial console, SPICE, or VNC client-server pair graphics. Installation media can be local, or exist remotely on an NFS, HTTP, or FTP server. The tool can also be configured to run unattended and use the kickstart method to prepare the guest, allowing for easy automation of installation. This tool is included in the virt-install package.

Important

When using virt-install as a non-root user, you enter an unprivileged libvirt session. This means that the created guest will only be visible to you, and it will not have access to certain capabilities that guests created by the root have.

Note

For more information about using virt-install, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

4.1.3. virt-xml

virt-xml is a command-line utility for editing domain XML files. For the XML configuration to be modified successfully, the name of the guest, the XML action, and the change to make must be included with the command.
For example, the following lists the suboptions that relate to guest boot configuration, and then turns on the boot menu on the example_domain guest:
# virt-xml boot=?
 --boot options:
   arch
   cdrom
   [...]
   menu
   network
   nvram
   nvram_template
   os_type
   smbios_mode
   uefi
   useserial
# virt-xml example_domain --edit --boot menu=on
Domain 'example_domain' defined successfully.
Note that each invocation of the command can perform one action on one domain XML file.

Note

This tool is included in the virt-install package. For more information about using virt-xml, refer to the virt-xml man pages.

4.1.4. guestfish

guestfish is a command-line utility for examining and modifying virtual machine disk images. It uses the libguestfs library and exposes all functionalities provided by the libguestfs API.

Using guestfish

The guestfish utility can be used in a standard command-line input mode, but also as an interactive shell. In shell mode, the guestfish command prefix is not needed, and the user is always registered as root. The following example uses the guestfish to display the file systems on the testguest virtual machine - first in standard mode, then in interactive mode.
# guestfish domain testguest : run : list-filesystems
/dev/sda1: xfs
/dev/rhel/root: xfs
/dev/rhel/swap: swap
# guestfish

Welcome to guestfish, the guest filesystem shell for
editing virtual machine filesystems and disk images.

Type: 'help' for help on commands
	  'man' to read the manual
	  'quit' to quit the shell

><fs> domain testguest
><fs> run
><fs> list-filesystems
/dev/sda1: xfs
/dev/rhel/root: xfs
/dev/rhel/swap: swap
In addition, guestfish can be used in bash scripts for automation purposes.

Important

When using guestfish as a non-root user, you enter an unprivileged libvirt session. This means you cannot see or interact with disk images on guests created by the root.
To gain read-only access to these disk images, use guestfish with the -ro -c qemu:///system options. In addition, you must have read privileges for the disk image files.

Getting help with guestfish

Like with all Linux bash commands, you can obtain help with guestfish by using the man guestfish command or the --help option. In addition, the guestfish help command can be used to view detailed information about a specific guestfish command. The following example displays information about the guestfish add command:
$ guestfish help add
NAME
    add-drive - add an image to examine or modify

SYNOPSIS
     add-drive filename [readonly:true|false] [format:..] [iface:..] [name:..] [label:..] [protocol:..] [server:..] [username:..] [secret:..] [cachemode:..] [discard:..] [copyonread:true|false]

DESCRIPTION
    This function adds a disk image called filename to the handle. filename
    may be a regular host file or a host device.
    [...]

Note

For more information about guestfish, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

4.2. Demonstration: Creating and Managing a Guest with Command-line Utilities

To show how virtualization tasks are performed in the CLI, this section provides a demonstration where a new guest virtual machine is created, an OS is installed on it, and the guest is afterwards interacted with and managed using CLI commands.

4.2.1. Installation

The following creates a new guest, here named guest1-rhel7, and starts an OS installation from a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Workstation ISO image. This image is obtainable on the Customer Portal and in this example, it is currently located in your ~/Downloads/ folder. The guest is allocated with two virtual CPUs, 2048 MB RAM, and 8 GB of disk space.
# virt-install --name guest1-rhel7 --memory 2048 --vcpus 2 --disk size=8 --cdrom /home/username/Downloads/rhel-workstation-7.4-x86_64-dvd.iso --os-variant rhel7

Starting install...
Allocating 'guest1-rhel7.qcow2'                                                   | 8.0 GB  00:00:00
This launches a graphical Anaconda installer in the virt-viewer application. For more information on the installation, see the Installation Guide.

Note

On host systems without access to a graphical interface, it is possible to install the guest OS using text-based Anaconda, using a virt-install command similar to the following:
# virt-install -name rhel7anaconda-guest -r 1024 --location=/home/jherrman/Downloads/rhel-workstation-7.4-x86_64-dvd.iso --disk size=8 --nographics --extra-args="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200n8"
If the installation completes successfully, the command line displays the following:
Domain creation completed.
Restarting guest.
It is now possible to make any desirable configuration to the guest. However, to manage the guest settings safely, it is advisable to shut down the guest first.
# virsh shutdown guest1-rhel7
Domain guest1-rhel7 is being shutdown

4.2.2. Attaching a Device

To make the guest detect and use a USB device connected to the host, a Samsung mobile phone in this example, start by using the lsusb command on the host to retrieve the device's IDs.
# lsusb

[...]
Bus 003 Device 007: ID 04e8:6860 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd Galaxy (MTP)
Afterwards, use your text editor of choice on the host to create an XML file for the device, samsung_USB_device.xml in this example, where you will input the vendor and product IDs.
# vim samsung_USB_device.xml
<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='usb' managed='yes'>
  <source>
    <vendor id='0x04e8'/>
    <product id='0x6860'/>
  </source>
</hostdev>
Finally, use the virsh attach-device command to attach the device to the guest.
# virsh attach-device guest1-rhel7 --file samsung_USB_device.xml --config
Device attached successfully

Note

It is possible to attach devices to a running guest as well. To do so, use the --live option.

4.2.3. Interacting with the Guest

To begin using the guest1-rhel7 guest, start it first.
# virsh start guest1-rhel7
Domain guest1-rhel7 started
Depending on whether your host system has a graphical display, you can either interact with the guest using the virt-viewer application, or using an SSH shell.
  • On systems with a graphical display, use virt-viewer:
    # virt-viewer guest1-rhel7
    Afterwards, you can interact with the screen output in the virt-viewer window like with an OS GUI on a physical machine. For example, you can use the Subscription Manager application to register your Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest OS:
  • If the host or guest has a text-only interface, use SSH. This requires knowing the IP address of the guest. If you do not know the IP address, it can be obtained using the virsh domifaddr command.
    # virsh domifaddr guest1-rhel7
     Name       MAC address          Protocol     Address
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     vnet0      52:54:00:65:29:21    ipv4         10.34.3.125/24
    # ssh root@10.34.3.125
    root@10.34.3.125's password:
    Last login: Wed Jul 19 18:27:10 2017 from 192.168.122.1
    [root@localhost ~]#
    

    Note

    For virsh domifaddr to work, the guest must be running, reachable on a network, and may require the QEMU guest agent to be activated.
    Afterwards, you can interact with the host terminal as if using a terminal on the guest machine. For example, you can use the subscription-manager utility to register your Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest OS:
    [root@localhost ~]# subscription-manager register
    Registering to: subscription.rhsm.redhat.com:443/subscription
    Username: username@sample.com
    Password:
    The system has been registered with ID: 30b5e666-67f9-53bb-4b90-c2a88e5be789
    

4.2.4. Diagnostics

Display general information about the state of the guest:
# virsh dominfo guest1-rhel7
Id:             1
Name:           guest1-rhel7
UUID:           ec0c0122-fb63-4a54-b602-5cf84f5e2dfd
OS Type:        hvm
State:          running
CPU(s):         2
CPU time:       33.4s
Max memory:     2097152 KiB
Used memory:    2097152 KiB
Persistent:     yes
Autostart:      disable
Managed save:   no
Security model: selinux
Security DOI:   0
Security label: unconfined_u:unconfined_r:svirt_t:s0:c102,c792 (enforcing)

4.2.5. Creating Snapshots

To back up the state of the guest, you can use the virsh snapshot-create command.
# virsh snapshot-create guest1-rhel7
Domain snapshot 1500563241 created
You can display your current snapshots and the XML setting of each one.
# virsh snapshot-list guest1-rhel7
Name                 Creation Time             State
------------------------------------------------------------
1500563241           2017-07-20 17:07:21 +0200 shutoff

# virsh snapshot-dumpxml guest1-rhel7 1500563241
<domainsnapshot>
  <name>1500563241</name>
  <state>shutoff</state>
  <creationTime>1500563241</creationTime>
  <memory snapshot='no'/>
  <disks>
    <disk name='vda' snapshot='internal'/>
[...]
This snapshot can later be loaded to revert the guest to the state saved in the snapshot.
# virsh snapshot-revert guest1-rhel7 --snapshotname 150056324

Chapter 5. Getting Started with Virtual Machine Manager

The Virtual Machine Manager, also known as virt-manager, is a graphical tool for creating and managing guest virtual machines. This chapter provides a description of the Virtual Machine Manager and how to run it.

Note

You can only run the Virtual Machine Manager on a system that has a graphical interface.
For more detailed information about using the Virtual Machine Manager, see the other Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization guides.

5.1. Running Virtual Machine Manager

To run the Virtual Machine Manager, select it in the list of applications or run the following command:
# virt-manager
The Virtual Machine Manager opens to the main window.
The Virtual Machine Manager

Figure 5.1. The Virtual Machine Manager

Note

If running virt-manager fails, ensure that the virt-manager package is installed. For information on installing the virt-manager package, see Installing the Virtualization Packages in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

5.2. The Virtual Machine Manager Interface

The following sections provide information about the Virtual Machine Manager user interface. The user interface includes The Virtual Machine Manager main window and The Virtual Machine window.

5.2.1. The Virtual Machine Manager Main Window

This following figure shows the Virtual Machine Manager main window interface.
The Virtual Machine Manager window

Figure 5.2. The Virtual Machine Manager window

The Virtual Machine Manager main window title bar displays Virtual Machine Manager.

5.2.1.1. The main window menu bar

The following table lists the entries in the Virtual Machine Manager main window menus.

Table 5.1. Virtual Machine Manager main window menus

Menu name Menu item Description
File Add Connection Opens the Add Connection dialog to connect to a local or remote hypervisor. For more information, see Adding a Remote Connection in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
New Virtual Machine Opens the New VM wizard to create a new guest virtual machine. For more information, see Creating Guests with virt-manager in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Close Closes the Virtual Machine Manager window without closing any Virtual Machine windows. Running virtual machines are not stopped.
Exit Closes the Virtual Machine Manager and all Virtual Machine windows. Running virtual machines are not stopped.
Edit Connection Details Opens the Connection Details window for the selected connection.
Virtual Machine Details Opens the Virtual Machine window for the selected virtual machine. For more information, see The Virtual Machine pane.
Delete Deletes the selected connection or virtual machine.
Preferences Opens the Preferences dialog box for configuring Virtual Machine Manager options.
View Graph
  • Guest CPU Usage
  • Host CPU Usage
  • Memory Usage
  • Disk I/O
  • Network I/O
Toggles displays of the selected parameter for the virtual machines in the Virtual Machine Manager main window.
Help About Displays the About window with information about the Virtual Machine Manager.

5.2.1.2. The main window toolbar

The following table lists the icons in the Virtual Machine Manager main window.

Table 5.2. Virtual Machine Manager main window toolbar

Icon Description
Opens the New VM wizard to create a new guest virtual machine.
Opens the Virtual Machine window for the selected virtual machine.
Starts the selected virtual machine.
Pauses the selected virtual machine.
Stops the selected virtual machine.
Opens a menu to select one of the following actions to perform on the selected virtual machine:
  • Reboot - Reboots the selected virtual machine.
  • Shut Down - Shuts down the selected virtual machine.
  • Force Reset - Forces the selected virtual machine to shut down and restart.
  • Force Off - Forces the selected virtual machine to shut down.
  • Save - Saves the state of the selected virtual machine to a file. For more information, see Saving a Guest Virtual Machine's Configuration in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

5.2.1.3. The Virtual Machine list

The virtual machine list displays a list of virtual machines to which the Virtual Machine Manager is connected. The virtual machines in the list are grouped by connection. You can sort the list by clicking on the header of a table column.
The Virtual Machine list

Figure 5.3. The Virtual Machine list

The virtual machine list displays graphs with information about the resources being used by each virtual machine. You make resources available for display from the Polling tab of the Preferences dialog in the Edit menu. The following is a list of the resources that can be displayed in the virtual machine list:
  • CPU usage
  • Host CPU usage
  • Memory usage
  • Disk I/O
  • Network I/O
You can select the resources to display using the Graph menu item in the View menu.

5.2.2. The Virtual Machine Window

This section provides information about the Virtual Machine window interface.
The Virtual Machine window

Figure 5.4. The Virtual Machine window

The title bar displays the name of the virtual machine and the connection that it uses.

5.2.2.1. The Virtual Machine window menu bar

The following table lists the entries in the Virtual Machine window menus.

Table 5.3. Virtual Machine window menus

Menu name Menu item Description
File View Manager Opens the main Virtual Machine Manager window.
Close Closes only the Virtual Machine window without stopping the virtual machine.
Exit Closes the all Virtual Machine Manager windows. Running virtual machines are not stopped.
Virtual Machine Run Runs the virtual machine. This option is only available if the virtual machine is not running.
Pause Pauses the virtual machine. This option is only available if the virtual machine is already running.
Shut Down Opens a menu to select one of the following actions to perform on the virtual machine:
  • Reboot - Reboots the virtual machine.
  • Shut Down - Shuts down the virtual machine.
  • Force Reset - Forces the virtual machine to shut down and restart.
  • Force Off - Forces the virtual machine to shut down.
  • Save - Saves the state of the virtual machine to a file.
Clone Creates a clone of the virtual machine. For more information, see Cloning Guests with virt-manager in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Migrate Opens the Migrate the virtual machine dialog to migrate the virtual machine to a different host. For more information, see Migrating with virt-manager in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
Delete Deletes the virtual machine.
Take Screenshot Takes a screenshot of the virtual machine console.
Redirect USB Device Opens the Select USB devices for redirection dialog to select USB devices to redirect. For more information, see USB Redirection in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.
View Console Opens the Console display in the Virtual Machine pane.
Details Opens the Details display in the Virtual Machine pane. For more information, see The virtual machine details window.
Snapshots Opens the Snapshots display in the Virtual Machine pane. For more information, see The snapshots window.
Fullscreen Displays the virtual machine console in full screen mode.
Resize to VM Resizes the display on the full screen to the size and resolution configured for the virtual machine.
Scale Display Scales the display of the virtual machine based on the selection of the following sub-menu items:
  • Always - The display of the virtual machine is always scaled to the Virtual Machine window.
  • Only when Fullscreen - The display of the virtual machine is only scaled to the Virtual Machine window when the Virtual Machine window is in Full screen mode..
  • Never - The display of the virtual machine is never scaled to the Virtual Machine window.
  • Auto resize VM with window - The display of the virtual machine resizes automatically when the Virtual Machine window is resized.
Text Consoles Displays the virtual machine display selected in the list. Examples of virtual machine displays include Serial 1 and Graphical Console Spice.
Toolbar Toggles the display of the Virtual Machine window toolbar.
Send Key
Ctrl+Alt+Backspace
Ctrl+Alt+Delete
Ctrl+Alt+F1
Ctrl+Alt+F2
Ctrl+Alt+F3
Ctrl+Alt+F4
Ctrl+Alt+F5
Ctrl+Alt+F6
Ctrl+Alt+F7
Ctrl+Alt+F8
Ctrl+Alt+F9
Ctrl+Alt+F10
Ctrl+Alt+F11
Ctrl+Alt+F12
Ctrl+Alt+Printscreen
Sends the selected key to the virtual machine.

5.2.2.2. The Virtual Machine window toolbar

The following table lists the icons in the Virtual Machine window.

Table 5.4. Virtual Machine window toolbar

Icon Description
Displays the graphical console for the virtual machine.
Displays the details pane for the virtual machine.
Starts the selected virtual machine.
Pauses the selected virtual machine.
Stops the selected virtual machine.
Opens a menu to select one of the following actions to perform on the selected virtual machine:
  • Reboot - Reboots the selected virtual machine.
  • Shut Down - Shuts down the selected virtual machine.
  • Force Reset - Forces the selected virtual machine to shut down and restart.
  • Force Off - Forces the selected virtual machine to shut down.
  • Save - Saves the state of the selected virtual machine to a file.
Opens the Snapshots display in the Virtual Machine pane.
Displays the virtual machine console in full screen mode.

5.2.2.3. The Virtual Machine pane

The Virtual Machine pane displays one of the following:

The virtual machine console

The virtual machine console shows the graphical output of the virtual machine.
The Virtual Machine console

Figure 5.5. The Virtual Machine console

You can interact with the virtual machine console using the mouse and keyboard in the same manner you interact with a real machine. The display in the virtual machine console reflects the activities being performed on the virtual machine.

The virtual machine details window

The virtual machine details window provides detailed information about the virtual machine, its hardware and configuration.
The Virtual Machine details window

Figure 5.6. The Virtual Machine details window

The virtual machine details window includes a list of virtual machine parameters. When a parameter in the list is selected, information about the selected parameter appear on the right side of the virtual machine details window. You can also add and configure hardware using the virtual machine details window.
For more information on the virtual machine details window, see The Virtual Hardware Details Window in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

The snapshots window

The virtual machine snapshots window provides a list of snapshots created for the virtual machine.
The Virtual Machine snapshots window

Figure 5.7. The Virtual Machine snapshots window

The virtual machine snapshots window includes a list of snapshots saved for the virtual machine. When a snapshot in the list is selected, details about the selected snapshot, including its state, description, and a screenshot, appear on the right side of the virtual machine snapshots window. You can add, delete, and run snapshots using the virtual machine snapshots window.
For more information about managing snapshots, see Managing Snapshots in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtualization Deployment and Administration Guide.

Appendix A. Revision History

Revision History
Revision 1.0-52Thu Apr 5 2017Jiri Herrmann
Version for 7.5 GA publication
Revision 1.0-49Thu Jul 27 2017Jiri Herrmann
Version for 7.4 GA publication
Revision 1.0-46Mon Oct 17 2016Jiri Herrmann
Version for 7.3 GA publication
Revision 1.0-44Mon Dec 21 2015Laura Novich
Republished the guide for several bug fixes
Revision 1.0-43Thu Oct 08 2015Jiri Herrmann
Cleaned up the Revision History
Revision 1.0-42Sun Jun 28 2015Jiri Herrmann
Updated for the 7.2 beta release

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