How to Setup and Use KVM: Part 1

Virtualization is one of most important advancements in computing. It allows the user to run one operating system within another, accessing and interacting with the hardware as though it were running natively. Over the past decade, the technology has progressed to the point where you can now run a virtual machine at nearly the same efficiency as the host operating system.

There are a wide variety of virtualization options on the market, from proprietary options like VMware to large open source projects like Xen. Since Linux is one of the most widely adopted server operating systems, all virtualization software supports it and offers ways for users to utilize it as the guest or host OS.

In order to make virtualization more easily accessible and improve performance, the Linux kernel has its own built-in virtualization system called KVM (kernel-based virtual machine). It is free and open source and available in most, if not all Linux distribution software repositories.

Over the next few posts, we will provide a brief setup guide to installing and configuring KVM on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS server. To get a basic overview of KVM and learn about its history first, you can visit the project’s website.