KVM Cheatsheet

List Running Virtual Machines

virsh list  

List All Virtual Machines

virsh list --all  

Managing Guest State

Shutdown Guest

virsh shutdown $VM_ID_OR_NAME  

Start Guest

virsh start $VM_ID_OR_NAME  

Reboot Guest

virsh reboot $VM_ID_OR_NAME  

Destroy a Guest

This command is an ungraceful shutdown, much like if you were to pull the power out of a computer. You should use this if a guest becomes unresponsive. It does not delete the guest. The disk image will remain and the guest can be restarted.

virsh destroy $VM_ID_OR_NAME

Suspension

Suspension is a way to immediately "pause" a guest so that it no longer uses the CPU, disk, or network. However, it will continue to reside in memory. You may want to save/load a session instead, which would mean it no longer takes up memory, but is not instant. such that it no longer takes up memory and can be restored to its exact state (even after a reboot), it is necessary to save and restore the guest.

A suspended session will be lost if the host system is rebooted. However, a saved guest does persist.

Suspend Guest

virsh suspend $VM_ID_OR_NAME  

Resume Guest

virsh resume $VM_ID_OR_NAME  

Defining

Defining a Guest

Defining a guest allows one to start it from its name, rather than having to find it's XML file and running virsh create $name.xml. This means that guests will also show in virsh list --all when they are shutdown.

sudo virsh define filename.xml

Undefine a Guest

In order to use a name over again for a new guest, you have to undefine the old one. You need to remove it's storage system as well.

sudo virsh undefine $VM_ID  

Guest Configuration

You can manually edit the guest's xml configuration file with:

sudo virsh edit [guest identifier]  

Changes will not take effect until the guest is rebooted

Rename guest

virsh domrename $OLD_NAME $NEW_NAME

You can only do this whilst the guest is not running.

Guest Start on Boot (Autostart)

sudo virsh autostart [VM ID]  

To disable Guest Autostart

sudo virsh autostart --disable $VM_ID  

Resizing Memory

Run the following command to bring up the config for the guest.

sudo virsh edit $VM_ID  

Change the memory and currentMemory fields to be the size you want in KiB.

Now use virsh to shutdown and startup the container for the changes to take effect.

Resizing Memory With Script

VM_ID="my_vm_id"
NEW_AMOUNT="4000"

EDITOR='sed -i "s;[0-9]*</currentMemory>;$NEW_AMOUNT</currentMemory>;"' virsh edit $VM_ID
EDITOR='sed -i "s;[0-9]*</memory>;$NEW_AMOUNT</memory>;"' virsh edit $VM_ID

sudo virsh shutdown $VM_ID
sudo virsh start $VM_ID

Do not use virsh memtune. See here for more details.

CPU Management

Discover CPU Scheduling Parameters

sudo virsh schedinfo [guest ID or name]

Permanently Set CPU Shares For Live Running Instance

sudo virsh schedinfo [guest ID or name] \
--set cpu_shares=[0-262144] \
--live \
--current \
--config

Get the CPU Pinning Settings for a Guest

virsh vcpupin blog.programster.org

Example output:

VCPU: CPU Affinity  
----------------------------------
   0: 0-3
   1: 0-3

I got the output above because I gave the guest access to 2 vCPUs but didn't pin anything.

Pin A CPU

If I wanted to set the cores that a guest can use, I could do the following:

virsh vcpupin blog.programster.org 0 2

That will set the first vCPU (the one with ID 0) to only run on core ID 2. Thus the output of virsh vcpupin blog.programster.org changes to:

VCPU: CPU Affinity  
----------------------------------
   0: 2
   1: 0-3

Pinning could be a great way to limit the effect a certain guest has on others, or to give a guest a dedicated core etc.

Guest Console

Enter Guest's Console

sudo virsh console [VM ID]  

Exit Guest's Console

Use the following keyboard shortcut (not a command):

Cntrl-]  

Saving

Save Guest

virsh save [VM ID] [filename]  

Load Guest

virsh restore $FILENAME  

The filename here is the same file that you saved to in the previous command, not one of the other guest files!

Simple Guest Clone

virt-clone \
--original [VM to Clone] \
--auto-clone \
--name [new name]

Networking

List Running Network Configs

virsh net-list  

List All Network Configs

virsh net-list --all  

You can find network configs stored in /home/stuart/network-configs/

Edit Network Config

sudo virsh net-list [network name here]  

Create Temporary Network Config

sudo virsh net-create --file [full file path here]  

Create Permanent Network Config

sudo virsh net-define --file [full file path here]  

Example Bridge Network Config File

<network>
  <name>examplebridge</name>
  <forward mode='route'/>
  <bridge name='kvmbr0' stp='on' delay='0'/>
  <ip address='192.168.1.1' netmask='255.255.255.0' />
</network>

Start Network Config

sudo virsh net-start [network identifier]  

Enable Network Autostart

net-autostart --network [network identifier]  

Disable Network Autostart

net-autostart \
--network [network identifier] \
--disable

Example Manual Network Config With Bridge

This is an example /etc/network/interfaces file for Ubuntu users.

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto p17p1
iface p17p1 inet manual

auto kvmbr0
iface kvmbr0 inet static
    address 192.168.1.19
    netmask 255.255.255.0
    network 192.168.1.0
    broadcast 192.168.1.255
    gateway 192.168.1.254
    bridge_ports p17p1
    bridge_stp off
    bridge_fd 0
    bridge_maxwait 0

Configure VM To Use Manual Bridge

If you manually set the bridge up with the section above rather than through using the virsh net commands, this is how to configure deployed guests make use of it:

sudo virsh edit [guest identifier]  

Find the following section

    <interface type='network'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:4d:3a:bd'/>
      <source network=''/>
      <model type='virtio'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x02' function='0x0'/>
    </interface>

Change it to be like so:

    <interface type='bridge'>
        <mac address='52:54:00:4d:3a:bd'/>
        <source bridge='[bridge name here]'/>
        <model type='virtio'/>
        <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x02' function='0x0'/>
    </interface>
Now run the following two commands since reboots wont work.
sudo virsh shutdown [guest identifier]
sudo virsh start [guest identifier]

Snapshotting

Create Internal Snapshot

virsh snapshot-create [VM ID]  

Create Internal Snapshot With Name

sudo virsh snapshot-create-as [VM ID] [name]

Create Internal Snapshot With Name and Description

sudo virsh snapshot-create-as [VM ID] [name] [description]

Create External Snapshot

Refer here.

List Snapshots

sudo virsh snapshot-list [VM ID]  

Snapshot-list defaults to being in alphabetical rather than chronological order. If you want to find out what your latest snapshots are, you may wish to add the optional --tree or --leaves parameters.

Restore Snapshot

virsh snapshot-revert [VM ID] [Snapshot Name]  

Delete Snapshot

virsh snapshot-delete [VM ID] [Snapshot Name]  

More snapshot functionality can be found in Qcow2 Conversion and Snapshotting

References

Author

Programster

Stuart is a software developer with a passion for Linux and open source projects.

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