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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4

Part I Requirements, Limitations, and Support Status

1 KVM Installation and Requirements

KVM is a full virtualization solution for x86 processors supporting hardware virtualization (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of two main components: A set of Kernel modules (kvm.ko, kvm-intel.ko, and kvm-amd.ko) providing the core virtualization infrastructure and processor specific drivers and a userspace program (qemu-kvm) that provides emulation for virtual devices and control mechanisms to manage VM Guests (virtual machines). The term KVM more properly refers to the Kernel level virtualization functionality, but is in practice more commonly used to reference the userspace component.

VM Guests (virtual machines), virtual storage and networks can be managed with libvirt-based and QEMU tools. libvirt is a library that provides an API to manage VM Guests based on different virtualization solutions, among them KVM and Xen. It offers a graphical user interface as well as a command line program. The QEMU tools are KVM/QEMU specific and are only available for the command line.

2 KVM Limitations

Although virtualized machines behave almost like physical machines, some limitations apply. These affect both, the VM Guest as well as the VM Host Server system.

3 KVM Support Status

The following list contains features and tools as supported by SUSE—this does not necessarily reflect the support status of the software itself. For a list of qemu-kvm command switches supported by SUSE, refer to Section A.3, “QEMU Command Line Options”.

4 I/O Virtualization

VM Guests not only share CPU and memory resources of the host system, but also the I/O subsystem. Because software I/O virtualization techniques deliver less performance than bare metal, hardware solutions, that deliver almost "native" performance have been developed recently. SUSE Linux Enterprise …

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