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KVM is an free and open source virtualization solution in a kernel module. Although it is often simply referred to as KVM, the actual hypervisor is QEMU. QEMU runs from user-space, but can integrate with KVM, providing better performance by leveraging the hardware from kernel-space. QEMU can virtualize x86, PowerPC, and S390 guests, amongst others. Libvirt is a management framework that integrates with QEMU/KVM, LXC, Xen and others.


The following commands provide libvirt as well as QEMU with emulation for x86_64 and qemu-img, a necessary component for using various disk formats such as qcow2. Without qemu-img, only raw disks are available. It can also convert images between several formats like vhdx and vmdk.

# apk add libvirt-daemon qemu-img qemu-system-x86_64 # rc-update add libvirtd


By default, libvirt uses NAT for VM connectivity. If you want to use the default configuration, you need to load the tun module.

# modprobe tun

If you prefer bridging a guest over your Ethernet interface, you need to make a bridge.


For (non-root) management, you will need to add your user to the libvirt group.

# addgroup user libvirt

You can use libvirt's virsh on the CLI. It can execute commands as well as run as an interactive shell. Read its manual page and/or use the "help" command for more info. Some basic commands are:

virsh help virsh list --all virsh start $domain virsh shutdown $domain

The libvirt project provides a GUI for managing hosts, called virt-manager. It handles local systems as well as remote ones via SSH.

# apk add dbus polkit virt-manager # rc-update add dbus

In order to use libvirtd to remotely control KVM over ssh PolicyKit needs a .pkla informing it that this is allowed. Write the following file to /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/50-libvirt-ssh-remote-access-policy.pkla

[Remote libvirt SSH access] Identity=unix-group:libvirt Action=org.libvirt.unix.manage ResultAny=yes ResultInactive=yes ResultActive=yes