Components of the KVM
KVM hypervisor is a fully functional virtualization function embedded in the Linux kernel (the core of the operating system itself) since 2.6.20 (way back in the day). Linux KVM operates on AMD 64 and Intel 64 hardware. KVM installation is quite easy. Similar to Windows Hyper-V, it has to be activated from the kernel. You can't run KVM on Windows, however, you can run Windows over KVM.
Key KVM components include:
- VirtIO Drivers that are specialized drivers developed for the hypervisor to work with guest systems and which allow executing para-virtualization.
- KVM Tool concludes a more lean software that's an alternative to QEMU, which is chosen depending on your environment's production requirements.
- QEMU comprises an independent piece of software that emulates hardware components and manages virtual machines. Red Hat KVM utilizes it to emulate hardware and increases its speed thanks to para-virtualization. Most often, Linux KVM and QEMU go together in a single package and are closely connected.
- Kernel Extension is the actual translation layer between your hardware and its virtualized counterpart generated by Linux KVM. It includes the kernel.co extension, kvm-amd and kvm-intel modules, which are used based on your existing processor brand.
- Libvirt is the Linux KVM application programming interface (API) to operate your virtual machines (VMs). Like any other similar piece of software, it enables monitoring and managing your virtualized resources, and Libvirt also includes the VM Manager graphic user interface (GUI).
Like most Red Hat distributions, Linux KVM is quite straightforward and no-nonsense, which are the qualities that are loved by its large open-source community. Now, a brief look at what KVM can do is due.