From Scratch to VM: Creating Your First Virtual Machine with virt-install

Virtualization technology has revolutionized the way we deploy and manage servers, enabling us to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical server. Among the various tools available for creating and managing VMs, virt-install stands out as a versatile and powerful command-line tool. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of creating your very first virtual machine using virt-install, starting from scratch.

Prerequisites and Environment Setup

Before diving into the world of virtualization, it’s crucial to set up the right environment. We’ll walk you through the installation of necessary software components, such as libvirt, qemu, and virt-install. We’ll also ensure that hardware virtualization support is enabled in your system’s BIOS settings, which is a key requirement for efficient VM performance.

Choosing the Right Operating System Image

Selecting the appropriate operating system (OS) image for your VM is a critical step. We’ll explore various sources for obtaining OS images, including official distribution websites and cloud providers. You’ll learn how to download and verify the integrity of the chosen image using checksums.

Installation and Configuration of virt-install

With the groundwork in place, we’ll delve into the installation and configuration of the virt-install tool. This section will cover essential parameters you need to consider, such as specifying the VM’s name, resources (CPU, memory, disk space), and networking options. We’ll also guide you through the creation of storage pools to store your VM’s disk images.

Fine-Tuning with Advanced Options

For users seeking more granular control, virt-install offers a range of advanced options. We’ll provide insights into customizing the VM’s boot options, attaching ISO images for OS installation, and configuring virtual network interfaces. You’ll also learn about the different hypervisors (kvm, qemu) and their implications.

OS Installation and Initial Setup

This section will take you through the step-by-step process of installing the chosen operating system on your VM. We’ll cover the console-based installation using VNC or serial connections. Once the OS is installed, we’ll guide you through the initial setup tasks, including user creation, network configuration, and software updates.

Management and Interactions with VM

After successfully creating your VM, you need to understand how to manage and interact with it. We’ll explore various methods to access the VM, such as using SSH or graphical interfaces. Additionally, you’ll learn how to pause, resume, and gracefully shut down your VM. We’ll also cover snapshot creation and restoration, an essential feature for capturing VM states.

Networking and Security Considerations

Networking is a crucial aspect of VM management. In this section, we’ll explain different networking modes, including NAT, bridged, and host-only networking. You’ll learn how to assign static IP addresses to your VMs and configure firewall rules to enhance security. We’ll also discuss best practices for securing your VMs against common threats.

Scaling Up: Clone and Template Creation

As your VM deployment grows, the need for efficient scaling arises. We’ll show you how to create VM clones and templates to streamline the process of provisioning new VM instances. This approach ensures consistency and reduces deployment time.


By the end of this tutorial, you will have gained a solid understanding of how to create a virtual machine from scratch using the virt-install tool. From setting up your environment to fine-tuning VM configurations, installing an OS, managing the VM, and considering networking and security aspects, you’ll be well-equipped to venture into the world of virtualization with confidence. Whether you’re a developer, system administrator, or anyone interested in harnessing the power of virtualization, this tutorial will serve as your comprehensive guide.

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