singkham - Fotolia

What virtualization management tools are useful in a KVM environment?

In addition to virt-manager, consider using other tools, such as oVirt,, Proxmox VE or Kimchi, to effectively manage VMs in your KVM environment.

It turns out that there are many varied tools to manage a KVM environment -- actually, far too many to adequately list here. But there are a handful of potential candidates worth considering.

First is the open source oVirt tool. Like virt-manager, oVirt relies on Linux libvirt to manage VMs. OVirt supports centralized management or VMs and resources through a web-based portal, and handles enterprise-class storage protocols including Fibre Channel, iSCSI and NFS. OVirt handles features like high availability and live migration. As of release 4.1.1, oVirt officially supports KVM on x86 64-bit systems, but KVM on other processor architectures such as POWER and ARM may be supported in the future. is a both an open source tool and a freemium service designed for full-featured support of an entire infrastructure that includes a KVM environment, VMware hypervisors and containers -- both Docker and Kubernetes -- and bare-metal management. also extends to both public and private clouds for full hybrid environment management. can create, restart and remove VMs, access metadata, tag and search VMs, schedule and run scripts and provide monitoring, alerting and automation.

Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE) is an open source virtualization management tool that supports both LXC for containers and KVM for VMs. Proxmox VE handles high availability, live migration, bridged networking, templates, scheduled backups and supports a variety of storage options. Proxmox VE operates through a command-line interface, a web-based console and an API for access through outside tools.

A fourth option is Kimchi, which supports a KVM environment through a web-based management format. Kimchi 2.3 is lightweight and installs over KVM and Linux, so you don't need a dedicated management server. It then accesses the KVM host to create and manage KVM guests, create storage instances, manage network resources -- such as VLANs and NAT -- and so on. Kimchi uses HTML5, so it can function from any OS or device.

These are only a small sampling of management options for a KVM environment. A more extensive list of management tools -- from basic hypervisor managers to comprehensive cloud management tools -- can be found on the KVM website.

Linux is gaining traction in the enterprise, especially among cloud and service providers that depend on open source platforms. This demands support for virtualization, and has underscored the need for an efficient hypervisor to boost resource utilization for both development and production workloads. KVM provides a hypervisor module for the Linux kernel, but it's vital that IT professionals understand how KVM fits, what its capabilities and limitations are and how it can be effectively managed.


Next Steps

Create a basic KVM cloud with Linux

Configure storage on KVM VMs with Ceph

Add a second software bridge to your KVM environment

Dig Deeper on Virtual machine performance management