VIRT-INSTALL(1) Virtual Machine Install Tools VIRT-INSTALL(1)
virt-install - provision new virtual machines
virt-install is a command line tool for provisioning new virtual machines using the "libvirt" hypervisor management library. The tool
supports both text based & graphical installations, using serial console, SDL graphics or a VNC client/server pair. The guest can be
configured to use one or more virtual disks, network interfaces, audio devices, and physical host devices (USB, PCI).
The installation media can be held locally or remotely on NFS, HTTP, FTP servers. In the latter case "virt-install" will fetch the minimal
files necessary to kick off the installation process, allowing the guest to fetch the rest of the OS distribution as needed. PXE booting,
and importing an existing disk image (thus skipping the install phase) are also supported.
Given suitable command line arguments, "virt-install" is capable of running completely unattended, with the guest 'kickstarting' itself
too. This allows for easy automation of guest installs. An interactive mode is also available with the --prompt option, but this will only
ask for the minimum required options.
Most options are not required. Minimum requirements are --name, --ram, guest storage (--disk or --nodisks), and an install option.
Show the help message and exit
Connect to a non-default hypervisor. The default connection is chosen based on the following rules:
xen If running on a host with the Xen kernel (checks against /proc/xen)
If running on a bare metal kernel as root (needed for KVM installs)
If running on a bare metal kernel as non-root
It is only necessary to provide the "--connect" argument if this default prioritization is incorrect, eg if wanting to use QEMU while
on a Xen kernel.
General configuration parameters that apply to all types of guest installs.
-n NAME, --name=NAME
Name of the new guest virtual machine instance. This must be unique amongst all guests known to the hypervisor on the connection,
including those not currently active. To re-define an existing guest, use the virsh(1) tool to shut it down ('virsh shutdown') & delete
('virsh undefine') it prior to running "virt-install".
-r MEMORY, --ram=MEMORY
Memory to allocate for guest instance in megabytes. If the hypervisor does not have enough free memory, it is usual for it to
automatically take memory away from the host operating system to satisfy this allocation.
Request a non-native CPU architecture for the guest virtual machine. If omitted, the host CPU architecture will be used in the guest.
-u UUID, --uuid=UUID
UUID for the guest; if none is given a random UUID will be generated. If you specify UUID, you should use a 32-digit hexadecimal number.
UUID are intended to be unique across the entire data center, and indeed world. Bear this in mind if manually specifying a UUID
Number of virtual cpus to configure for the guest. Not all hypervisors support SMP guests, in which case this argument will be silently
Set which physical cpus the guest can use. "CPUSET" is a comma separated list of numbers, which can also be specified in ranges. Example:
0,2,3,5 : Use processors 0,2,3 and 5
1-3,5,6-8 : Use processors 1,2,3,5,6,7 and 8
If the value 'auto' is passed, virt-install attempts to automatically determine an optimal cpu pinning using NUMA data, if available.
Human readable text description of the virtual machine. This will be stored in the guests XML configuration for access by other
Configure domain security driver settings. Type can be either 'static' or 'dynamic'. 'static' configuration requires a security LABEL.
Specifying LABEL without TYPE implies static configuration.
Installation Method options
-c CDROM, --cdrom=CDROM
File or device use as a virtual CD-ROM device for fully virtualized guests. It can be path to an ISO image, or to a CDROM device. It can
also be a URL from which to fetch/access a minimal boot ISO image. The URLs take the same format as described for the "--location"
argument. If a cdrom has been specified via the "--disk" option, and neither "--cdrom" nor any other install option is specified, the
"--disk" cdrom is used as the install media.
-l LOCATION, --location=LOCATION
Installation source for guest virtual machine kernel+initrd pair. The "LOCATION" can take one of the following forms:
Path to a local directory containing an installable distribution image
nfs:host:/path or nfs://host/path
An NFS server location containing an installable distribution image
An HTTP server location containing an installable distribution image
An FTP server location containing an installable distribution image
Some distro specific url samples:
Fedora/Red Hat Based
Use the PXE boot protocol to load the initial ramdisk and kernel for starting the guest installation process.
Skip the OS installation process, and build a guest around an existing disk image. The device used for booting is the first device
specified via "--disk" or "--file".
Specify that the installation media is a live CD and thus the guest needs to be configured to boot off the CDROM device permanently. It
may be desirable to also use the "--nodisks" flag in combination.
-x EXTRA, --extra-args=EXTRA
Additional kernel command line arguments to pass to the installer when performing a guest install from "--location".
Optimize the guest configuration for a type of operating system (ex. 'linux', 'windows'). This will attempt to pick the most suitable
ACPI & APIC settings, optimally supported mouse drivers, virtio, and generally accommodate other operating system quirks.
By default, virt-install will attempt to auto detect this value from the install media (currently only supported for URL installs).
Autodetection can be disabled with the special value 'none'
See "--os-variant" for valid options.
Further optimize the guest configuration for a specific operating system variant (ex. 'fedora8', 'winxp'). This parameter is optional,
and does not require an "--os-type" to be specified.
By default, virt-install will attempt to auto detect this value from the install media (currently only supported for URL installs).
Autodetection can be disabled with the special value 'none'.
Valid values are:
Fedora Core 5
Fedora Core 6
Generic 2.4.x kernel
Generic 2.6.x kernel
Generic 2.6.25 or later kernel with virtio
Mandriva Linux 2009 and earlier
Mandriva Linux 2010 and later
Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.0
Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1 and later
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 or later
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
Suse Linux Enterprise Server
Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
Novell Netware 4
Novell Netware 5
Novell Netware 6
Sun Solaris 10
Sun Solaris 9
Free BSD 6.x
Free BSD 7.x
Open BSD 4.x
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows 2000
Microsoft Windows 2003
Microsoft Windows 2008
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows XP (x86)
Microsoft Windows XP (x86_64)
No OS version specified (disables autodetect)
Specifies media to use as storage for the guest, with various options. The general format of a disk string is
To specify media, the command can either be:
or explicitly specify one of the following arguments:
A path to some storage media to use, existing or not. Existing media can be a file or block device. If installing on a remote host,
the existing media must be shared as a libvirt storage volume.
Specifying a non-existent path implies attempting to create the new storage, and will require specifyng a 'size' value. If the base
directory of the path is a libvirt storage pool on the host, the new storage will be created as a libvirt storage volume. For remote
hosts, the base directory is required to be a storage pool if using this method.
An existing libvirt storage pool name to create new storage on. Requires specifying a 'size' value.
vol An existing libvirt storage volume to use. This is specified as 'poolname/volname'.
Other available options:
Disk device type. Value can be 'cdrom', 'disk', or 'floppy'. Default is 'disk'. If a 'cdrom' is specified, and no install method is
chosen, the cdrom is used as the install media.
bus Disk bus type. Value can be 'ide', 'scsi', 'usb', 'virtio' or 'xen'. The default is hypervisor dependent since not all hypervisors
support all bus types.
Disk permissions. Value can be 'rw' (Read/Write), 'ro' (Readonly), or 'sh' (Shared Read/Write). Default is 'rw'
size (in GB) to use if creating new storage
whether to skip fully allocating newly created storage. Value is 'true' or 'false'. Default is 'true' (do not fully allocate).
The initial time taken to fully-allocate the guest virtual disk (spare=false) will be usually by balanced by faster install times
inside the guest. Thus use of this option is recommended to ensure consistently high performance and to avoid I/O errors in the guest
should the host filesystem fill up.
The cache mode to be used. The host pagecache provides cache memory. The cache value can be 'none', 'writethrough', or 'writeback'.
'writethrough' provides read caching. 'writeback' provides read and write caching.
Image format to be used if creating managed storage. For file volumes, this can be 'raw', 'qcow2', 'vmdk', etc. See format types in
<http://libvirt.org/storage.html> for possible values.
See the examples section for some uses. This option deprecates "--file", "--file-size", and "--nonsparse".
Request a virtual machine without any local disk storage, typically used for running 'Live CD' images or installing to network storage
(iSCSI or NFS root).
-f DISKFILE, --file=DISKFILE
This option is deprecated in favor of "--disk path=DISKFILE".
-s DISKSIZE, --file-size=DISKSIZE
This option is deprecated in favor of "--disk ...,size=DISKSIZE,..."
This option is deprecated in favor of "--disk ...,sparse=false,..."
-w NETWORK, --network=NETWORK,opt1=val1,opt2=val2
Connect the guest to the host network. The value for "NETWORK" can take one of 3 formats:
Connect to a bridge device in the host called "BRIDGE". Use this option if the host has static networking config & the guest requires
full outbound and inbound connectivity to/from the LAN. Also use this if live migration will be used with this guest.
Connect to a virtual network in the host called "NAME". Virtual networks can be listed, created, deleted using the "virsh" command
line tool. In an unmodified install of "libvirt" there is usually a virtual network with a name of "default". Use a virtual network
if the host has dynamic networking (eg NetworkManager), or using wireless. The guest will be NATed to the LAN by whichever connection
Connect to the LAN using SLIRP. Only use this if running a QEMU guest as an unprivileged user. This provides a very limited form of
If this option is omitted a single NIC will be created in the guest. If there is a bridge device in the host with a physical interface
enslaved, that will be used for connectivity. Failing that, the virtual network called "default" will be used. This option can be
specified multiple times to setup more than one NIC.
Other available options are:
Network device model as seen by the guest. Value can be any nic model supported by the hypervisor, e.g.: 'e1000', 'rtl8139',
mac Fixed MAC address for the guest; If this parameter is omitted, or the value "RANDOM" is specified a suitable address will be randomly
generated. For Xen virtual machines it is required that the first 3 pairs in the MAC address be the sequence '00:16:3e', while for
QEMU or KVM virtual machines it must be '52:54:00'.
Request a virtual machine without any network interfaces.
-b BRIDGE, --bridge=BRIDGE
This parameter is deprecated in favour of "--network bridge=bridge_name".
-m MAC, --mac=MAC
This parameter is deprecated in favour of "--network NETWORK,mac=12:34..."
If no graphics option is specified, "virt-install" will default to --vnc if the DISPLAY environment variable is set, otherwise --nographics
Setup a virtual console in the guest and export it as a VNC server in the host. Unless the "--vncport" parameter is also provided, the
VNC server will run on the first free port number at 5900 or above. The actual VNC display allocated can be obtained using the
"vncdisplay" command to "virsh" (or virt-viewer(1) can be used which handles this detail for the use).
Request a permanent, statically assigned port number for the guest VNC console. Use of this option is discouraged as other guests may
automatically choose to run on this port causing a clash.
Address to listen on for VNC connections. Default is typically 127.0.0.1 (localhost only), but some hypervisors allow changing this
globally (for example, the qemu driver default can be changed in /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf). Use 0.0.0.0 to allow access from other
-k KEYMAP, --keymap=KEYMAP
Request that the virtual VNC console be configured to run with a specific keyboard layout. If the special value 'local' is specified,
virt-install will attempt to configure to use the same keymap as the local system. A value of 'none' specifically defers to the
hypervisor. Default behavior is hypervisor specific, but typically is the same as 'local'.
Setup a virtual console in the guest and display an SDL window in the host to render the output. If the SDL window is closed the guest
may be unconditionally terminated.
No graphical console will be allocated for the guest. Fully virtualized guests (Xen FV or QEmu/KVM) will need to have a text console
configured on the first serial port in the guest (this can be done via the --extra-args option). Xen PV will set this up automatically.
The command 'virsh console NAME' can be used to connect to the serial device.
Don't automatically try to connect to the guest console. The default behaviour is to launch a VNC client to display the graphical
console, or to run the "virsh" "console" command to display the text console. Use of this parameter will disable this behaviour.
Virtualization Type options
Options to override the default virtualization type choices.
Request the use of full virtualization, if both para & full virtualization are available on the host. This parameter may not be available
if connecting to a Xen hypervisor on a machine without hardware virtualization support. This parameter is implied if connecting to a QEMU
This guest should be a paravirtualized guest. If the host supports both para & full virtualization, and neither this parameter nor the
"--hvm" are specified, this will be assumed.
The hypervisor to install on. Example choices are kvm, qemu, xen, or kqemu. Availabile options are listed via 'virsh capabilities' in
the <domain> tags.
Prefer KVM or KQEMU (in that order) if installing a QEMU guest. This behavior is now the default, and this option is deprecated. To
install a plain QEMU guest, use '--virt-type qemu'
Override the OS type / variant to disables the APIC setting for fully virtualized guest.
Override the OS type / variant to disables the ACPI setting for fully virtualized guest.
Attach a physical host device to the guest. Some example values for HOSTDEV:
A node device name via libvirt, as shown by 'virsh nodedev-list'
USB by bus, device (via lsusb).
USB by vendor, product (via lsusb).
PCI device (via lspci).
Attach a virtual audio device to the guest. MODEL specifies the emulated sound card model. Possible values are ac97, es1370, sb16, pcspk,
or default. 'default' willl be AC97 if the hypervisor supports it, otherwise it will be ES1370.
This deprecates the old boolean --sound model (which still works the same as a single '--soundhw default')
Attach a virtual hardware watchdog device to the guest. This requires a daemon and device driver in the guest. The watchdog fires a
signal when the virtual machine appears to hung. ACTION specifies what libvirt will do when the watchdog fires. Values are
Forcefully reset the guest (the default)
Forcefully power off the guest
Pause the guest
Gracefully shutdown the guest (not recommended, since a hung guest probably won't respond to a graceful shutdown)
MODEL is the emulated device model: either i6300esb (the default) or ib700. Some examples:
Use the recommended settings:
Use the i6300esb with the 'poweroff' action
Specifies a serial device to attach to the guest, with various options. The general format of a serial string is
--serial and --parallel devices share all the same options, unless otherwise noted. Some of the types of character device redirection
Pseudo TTY. The allocated pty will be listed in the running guests XML description.
Host device. For serial devices, this could be /dev/ttyS0. For parallel devices, this could be /dev/parport0.
Write output to FILENAME.
Named pipe (see pipe(7))
TCP net console. MODE is either 'bind' (wait for connections on HOST:PORT) or 'connect' (send output to HOST:PORT), default is
'connect'. HOST defaults to '127.0.0.1', but PORT is required. PROTOCOL can be either 'raw' or 'telnet' (default 'raw'). If 'telnet',
the port acts like a telnet server or client. Some examples:
Connect to localhost, port 1234:
Wait for connections on any address, port 4567:
Wait for telnet connection on localhost, port 2222. The user could then connect interactively to this console via 'telnet localhost
UDP net console. HOST:PORT is the destination to send output to (default HOST is '127.0.0.1', PORT is required. BIND_HOST:PORT is the
optional local address to bind to (default BIND_HOST is 127.0.0.1, but is only set if BIND_PORT is specified.) Some examples:
Send output to default syslog port (may need to edit /etc/rsyslog.conf accordingly):
Send output to remote host 192.168.10.20, port 4444 (this output can be read on the remote host using 'nc -u -l 4444':
Unix socket (see unix(7). MODE has similar behavior and defaults as 'tcp'.
Specify what video device model will be attached to the guest. Valid values for VIDEO are hypervisor specific, but some options for
recent kvm are cirrus, vga, or vmvga (vmware).
Set the autostart flag for a domain. This causes the domain to be started on host boot up.
Prevent the domain from automatically rebooting after the install has completed.
Amount of time to wait (in minutes) for a VM to complete its install. Without this option, virt-install will wait for the console to
close (not neccessarily indicating the guest has shutdown), or in the case of --noautoconsole, simply kick off the install and exit. Any
negative value will make virt-install wait indefinitely, a value of 0 triggers the same results as noautoconsole. If the time limit is
exceeded, virt-install simply exits, leaving the virtual machine in its current state.
Prevent interactive prompts. If the intended prompt was a yes/no prompt, always say yes. For any other prompts, the application will
Specifically enable prompting for required information. Default prompting is off (as of virtinst 0.400.0)
Check that the number virtual cpus requested does not exceed physical CPUs and warn if they do.
Print debugging information to the terminal when running the install process. The debugging information is also stored in
"$HOME/.virtinst/virt-install.log" even if this parameter is omitted.
Install a KVM guest (assuming proper host support), creating a new storage file, virtual networking, booting from the host CDROM, using VNC
Install a Fedora 9 plain QEMU guest, using LVM partition, virtual networking, booting from PXE, using VNC server/viewer
Install a guest with a real partition, with the default QEMU hypervisor for a different architecture using SDL graphics, using a remote
kernel and initrd pair:
Run a Live CD image under Xen fullyvirt, in diskless environment
Install a paravirtualized Xen guest, 500 MB of RAM, a 5 GB of disk, and Fedora Core 6 from a web server, in text-only mode, with old style
Create a guest from an existing disk image 'mydisk.img' using defaults for the rest of the options.
Written by Daniel P. Berrange, Hugh Brock, Jeremy Katz, Cole Robinson and a team of many other contributors. See the AUTHORS file in the
source distribution for the complete list of credits.
Please see http://virt-manager.org/page/BugReporting
Copyright (C) 2006-2009 Red Hat, Inc, and various contributors. This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms
of the GNU General Public License "http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html". There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
virsh(1), "virt-clone(1)", "virt-manager(1)", the project website "http://virt-manager.org"