By many the Linux world is regarded as being a scary or challenging place with tons of poorly engineered terminal commands and all sorts of difficulties to install and use a Linux distribution. While this is really not the case with modern day Linux, one of the areas where Linux has rapidly progressed is in the field of virtualization. Among the virtualization options are Xen, QEMU, QEMU with KVM, and VMWare. With Fedora 7 it's so easy to use KVM virtualization that you can start virtualizing your favorite operating system and barely even touch the keyboard! In this guide we will tell you how as we work on virtualizing a battery of operating systems from Microsoft Windows Vista to Mandrake 9.2.
Xen has been around for quite a while now, but in recent months the virtualization option to receive the most attention has been KVM, or the Kernel-based Virtual Machine. KVM development began by Qumranet and is designed to be a full virtualization solution and uses Intel VT or AMD-V technology (depending upon what processor you are using) to assist in the virtualization process. KVM also uses a modified version of QEMU. Premiering in the Linux 2.6.20 kernel was the inclusion of KVM. Our recent comparison of Xen, QEMU, QEMU Accelerator, and KVM can be found here.
While we do not endorse Microsoft Windows, we do condemn pirating. For our testing Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP Home were all obtained legally. All of the Linux distributions were obtained from their respective mirrors.
Fedora 7 is still under heavy development, but premiering with Test 2 were improvements to libvirt and virt-manager. Libvirt and virt-manager originally were introduced with Fedora Core 5 to offer improved management and interaction with Xen. However, additions to libvirt and virt-manager now make it possible to use QEMU or KVM through this toolkit and virtual machine manager. While the steps are now similar to setting up a Xen-virtualized operating system with Fedora, in this article we will be covering the steps needed as well as some of our thoughts and what we ran into when virtualizing a few different operating systems.
For this article we had used Fedora 7 Test 2; these updated virtualization packages are available through Rawhide. The final version of Fedora 7 is anticipated for release in late May of 2007.