KVM Overview

KVM is the #3 ranked solution in our list of best Server Virtualization Software. It is most often compared to Oracle VM VirtualBox: KVM vs Oracle VM VirtualBox

What is KVM?
KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko.
KVM Buyer's Guide

Download the KVM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2021

KVM Customers
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Pricing Advice

What users are saying about KVM pricing:
  • "This solution is an open-source, free platform with paid support."
  • "This solution came with the Linux license."

KVM Reviews

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Buddy Parker
Founder at Element Flux
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Dec 23, 2020
Stable, easy to set up, and very easy to use

What is our primary use case?

I've used it a little bit for virtualization. I've been messing with it for the past month and a half, in an actual environment that goes to the outside world, anyway. I have a cloud server running. I also have a web server. I'm using it mostly for hosting websites and basically having a cloud service, such as OneDrive or Google Drive.

Pros and Cons

  • "If you prefer command-line, there are all kinds of command-line options."
  • "One thing that maybe could be improved is making it easier to scale. It needs to be more clear on how to scale the storage space for virtual machines."

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a customer and an end-user. I don't have a business relationship with KVM at this time. I'm using what should be the latest version of the solution right now. I would advise other organizations that this solution is definitely a good choice. It's definitely something that's easy to use, however, you can have it on a fully functioning operating system that you're familiar with. Or, if you have a little less experience, it's something that you can get up and going really quickly. That said, it is still a type 2. That is a great thing. It functions, and it's under two pounds. It's…
MahdiBahmani
Solution Architect, IT Consultant at Merdasco - Rayan Merdas Data Prosseccing
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Oct 23, 2019
Good performance, but better management features and integration are needed

What is our primary use case?

We are a consulting company and I work with a lot of solutions to compare them and find out which ones are good for my customers. The primary use case for this solution is virtualization. I use this solution in on-premises data centers.

Pros and Cons

  • "The GUI interface makes the management of KVM easier than ever before."
  • "Business continuity features need to be added."

What other advice do I have?

I have been using this solution since before it was owned by Red Hat, when it was community-based. It is easier to manage than ever before because you used to have to use the command-line interface, instead of the GUI. I do not recommend this product for those looking for a stable and scalable virtualization solution because they will ultimately have problems in their data center. Just two weeks ago, I helped a friend of mine to migrate from KVM to VMware. I think that if Red Hat worked on some business continuity features and add them to KVM then it would receive a better grade and be a more…
Learn what your peers think about KVM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
456,966 professionals have used our research since 2012.
VascoCampos
System Engineer at NoBoring Lda
Real User
Top 10
Oct 23, 2019
Open Source Virtualization that works with Linux

What is our primary use case?

I am using this solution in my home lab because I don't know this solution well enough to put it into production. I have many clients, and by putting KVM into production it would require several changes, which would require more experience. In the meantime, I will continue to use VMware and ESXi. I use both on-premises and cloud-based deployment models. I typically use this solution on the cloud because I have many dedicated servers. However, I also use it on low-powered hardware machines, like old laptops, to create a firewall, access the router, or use as an access point.

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that this is an open-source solution. It is very powerful, and it's easy."
  • "The virtual manager and the graphical QEMU for KVM need some improvement."

What other advice do I have?

You can virtualize anything now, but in my experience, they are good for Linux and Unix systems. I have also used Windows. Even if you are using another platform hypervisor, as I do with VMware, you may get yourself in a situation where you want to install the KVM or at least the key tools. You can access RAM drives, or broken virtual hard drives, or migrate them to another type of hard drive. KVM is very complete, it is very powerful, but people are used to graphical QEMU and that is an issue. The solution performs well and has many tools. It offers everything that all other paid versions…
Ernesto HernáNdez
Project Leader at Logicalis
MSP
Dec 9, 2019
Easy to manage with a central interface, but the setup process can be improved

What is our primary use case?

We are an integrator and this is one of the solutions that we implement for our clients. I have more than twenty years of experience working with these kinds of technologies. We are using this solution for virtualization on IBM servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "The KVM service is well managed with a central policy interface."
  • "The initial setup of this solution is more difficult than some of the competing products and it could be improved."

What other advice do I have?

The most important thing for people to do when they are researching this kind of solution is to try and understand the main reason and concerns behind virtualization. They should learn the strong points and weakness of this technology, and try to have a base knowledge to understand the concept and how it can be used and managed on a daily basis. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Software512a
Software Architect with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Apr 23, 2019
I find the density of the product most valuable.

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case for KVM is running multiple VMs and containers on the one node.

What is most valuable?

I find the density of the product most valuable. It is because of kernel same page merging technology (KSM) that is integrated into Linux kernel. That high density makes KVM one of the important players of the virtualization market.

What needs improvement?

In the future release of KVM, I would like to have improved support for Windows guests.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is less than other products in the same category. But, it is OK. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the product…
Georges ESSOMBA
Business Engineer and Consultant at All-Tech
Real User
Top 5
Oct 15, 2019
A solution with an easy initial setup that's scalable and stable

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it to write the payroll solution fort Windows Server 2012 and 2018.

Pros and Cons

  • "Scaling the solution is easy. You just have to add more hardware."
  • "The solution should be more user friendly. We are struggling with the command lines."

What other advice do I have?

We're using the on-premises deployment model. We're using the community version of the solution. I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.
reviewer807690
Principal Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Oct 11, 2019
Simple to set up and has good Linux support

What is our primary use case?

We are no longer using this solution. We evaluated it, but I have not used it in a production environment. This solution is used for virtualization. We have an on-premises deployment.

How has it helped my organization?

same features that vmware have concerning disaster recovery, high availibility and live motion of vm

What is most valuable?

simplicity of installation

What needs improvement?

full interoprability with vm format (ova, ovf, ..) for been aable to move forward or backward to another virtualization solution

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not test scalability during our evaluation.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are currently using VMware in our production…
Andre Ruppert
IT-Leiter (IP) at IN-telegence GmbH
Real User
Top 10
Apr 11, 2019
I like the ability to execute live migrations

What is our primary use case?

Running virtualization clusters with more than 300 VMs.

How has it helped my organization?

The platform changes from hardware to virtualized whenever possible.

What is most valuable?

Open source The ability to execute live migrations Linux, a base OS.

What needs improvement?

Management of underlying volumes.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.