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VIRT-INSTALL(1)     Virtual Machine Install Tools    VIRT-INSTALL(1)

       virt-install - provision new virtual machines

       virt-install [OPTION]...

       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.

       -h, --help
         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 Options

       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 ignored

         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 applications.

       --security type=TYPE[,label=LABEL]
         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

         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:

                 Debian Etch

                 Debian Lenny

                 Debian Squeeze

                 Fedora Core 5

                 Fedora Core 6

                 Fedora 7

                 Fedora 8

                 Fedora 9

                 Fedora 10

                 Fedora 11

                 Fedora 12

                 Fedora 13

                 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 OpenSolaris

                 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)

       Storage Configuration

         Specifies media to use as storage for the guest, with
         various options. The general format of a disk string is

             --disk opt1=val1,opt2=val2,...

         To specify media, the command can either be:

             --disk /some/storage/path,opt1=val1

         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

             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
             <> 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

       -s DISKSIZE, --file-size=DISKSIZE
         This option is deprecated in favor of "--disk

         This option is deprecated in favor of "--disk

       Networking Configuration

       -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 is active.

             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 NAT.

         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', 'virtio', ...

         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

       -m MAC, --mac=MAC
         This parameter is deprecated in favour of "--network

       Graphics Configuration

       If no graphics option is specified, "virt-install" will
       default to --vnc if the DISPLAY environment variable is set,
       otherwise --nographics is used.

         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 (localhost only), but some hypervisors
         allow changing this globally (for example, the qemu driver
         default can be changed in /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf).  Use to allow access from other machines.

       -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.

       -v, --hvm
         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 based

       -p, --paravirt
         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

         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

         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.

       Device Options

         Attach a physical host device to the guest. Some example
         values for HOSTDEV:

         --host-device pci_0000_00_1b_0
           A node device name via libvirt, as shown by 'virsh

         --host-device 001.003
           USB by bus, device (via lsusb).

         --host-device 0x1234:0x5678
           USB by vendor, product (via lsusb).

         --host-device 1f.01.02
           PCI device (via lspci).

       --soundhw MODEL
         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')

       --watchdog MODEL[,action=ACTION]
         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

             Do nothing

             Gracefully shutdown the guest (not recommended, since a
             hung guest probably won't respond to a graceful

         MODEL is the emulated device model: either i6300esb (the
         default) or ib700.  Some examples:

         Use the recommended settings:

         --watchdog default

         Use the i6300esb with the 'poweroff' action

         --watchdog i6300esb,action=poweroff

         Specifies a serial device to attach to the guest, with
         various options. The general format of a serial string is

             --serial type,opt1=val1,opt2=val2,...

         --serial and --parallel devices share all the same options,
         unless otherwise noted. Some of the types of character
         device redirection are:

         --serial pty
             Pseudo TTY. The allocated pty will be listed in the
             running guests XML description.

         --serial dev,path=HOSTPATH
             Host device. For serial devices, this could be
             /dev/ttyS0. For parallel devices, this could be

         --serial file,path=FILENAME
             Write output to FILENAME.

         --serial pipe,path=PIPEPATH
             Named pipe (see pipe(7))

         --serial tcp,host=HOST:PORT,mode=MODE,protocol=PROTOCOL
             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
             '', 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

             Connect to localhost, port 1234:

             --serial tcp,host=:1234

             Wait for connections on any address, port 4567:

             --serial tcp,host=,mode=bind

             Wait for telnet connection on localhost, port 2222. The
             user could then connect interactively to this console
             via 'telnet localhost 2222':

             --serial tcp,host=:2222,mode=bind,protocol=telnet

             UDP net console. HOST:PORT is the destination to send
             output to (default HOST is '', PORT is
             required. BIND_HOST:PORT is the optional local address
             to bind to (default BIND_HOST is, 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):

             --serial udp,host=:514

             Send output to remote host, port 4444
             (this output can be read on the remote host using 'nc
             -u -l 4444':

             --serial udp,host=

         --serial unix,path=UNIXPATH,mode=MODE
             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

       Miscellaneous Options

         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 exit.

         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.

       -d, --debug
         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 server/viewer.

         # virt-install \
              --connect qemu:///system \
              --name demo \
              --ram 500 \
              --disk path=/var/lib/libvirt/images/demo.img,size=5 \
              --network network=default,model=virtio \
              --vnc \
              --cdrom /dev/cdrom

       Install a Fedora 9 plain QEMU guest, using LVM partition,
       virtual networking, booting from PXE, using VNC server/viewer

         # virt-install \
              --connect qemu:///system \
              --name demo \
              --ram 500 \
              --disk path=/dev/HostVG/DemoVM \
              --network network=default \
              --virt-type qemu
              --vnc \
              --os-variant fedora9

       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:

         # virt-install \
              --connect qemu:///system \
              --name demo \
              --ram 500 \
              --disk path=/dev/hdc \
              --network bridge=eth1 \
              --arch ppc64 \
              --sdl \

       Run a Live CD image under Xen fullyvirt, in diskless

         # virt-install \
              --hvm \
              --name demo \
              --ram 500 \
              --nodisks \
              --livecd \
              --vnc \
              --cdrom /root/fedora7live.iso

       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 --file options:

         # virt-install \
              --paravirt \
              --name demo \
              --ram 500 \
              --file /var/lib/xen/images/demo.img \
              --file-size 6 \
              --nographics \

       Create a guest from an existing disk image 'mydisk.img' using
       defaults for the rest of the options.

         # virt-install \
              --name demo
              --ram 512
              --disk /home/user/VMs/mydisk.img

       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

       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 "". There is NO
       WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

       virsh(1), "virt-clone(1)", "virt-manager(1)", the project
       website ""

                             2010-03-24              VIRT-INSTALL(1)
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