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KVM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

KVM is #3 ranked solution in best Server Virtualization Software. IT Central Station users give KVM an average rating of 8 out of 10. KVM is most commonly compared to Oracle VM VirtualBox:KVM vs Oracle VM VirtualBox. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 37% of all views.
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.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Server Virtualization Software Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

KVM Customers
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Pricing Advice

What users are saying about KVM pricing:
  • "The price is fair compared to others. But in our local market, it's a problem to get budget approval from management. That's why they are trying to get those products so we can give them the price benefit. But if you consider the international market or other products, it's sometimes better than their price."
  • "We had some problems with the licensing."
  • "It is free for everyone."

KVM Reviews

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

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 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.

How has it helped my organization?

The product overall has been useful, however, the solution is still too new to really give a concrete example as to how it's changed how the organization functions.

What is most valuable?

The solution is really easy to use. Basically, it takes just a few command-line statements to install and have it set up and running. From there, you can use the virtual manager, which is command-line. However, there's also a graphical user interface for it. It's just really easy to use. all-around

If you prefer command-line, there are all kinds of command-line options. You can pretty much run and manage all of the virtual machines straight from the command line, or you can use the practical user interface and do the same thing.  

I noticed that there are even other services like Multitask. You can use Multitask on KVM.

What needs improvement?

From my skill set and what I'm capable of, I wouldn't know how to say what could be improved as it works exceptionally well. I know that things can always be improved. 

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. That's one thing that's a little bit confusing. That's more systems administration, in general. If they would make it a little easier to do, then you wouldn't have to have so much systems admin knowledge in order to use one feature.

I tried to follow the information provided, however, then the partitions were added, the logical drive, and it didn't actually end up being initialized correctly. I'm pretty sure it's due to my own error, and not using it correctly. However, if they would have been clear on how to do it, or if they could even build a command that literally executes the necessary commands for you, just by typing, or using the virtual manager, that would have been helpful.

I've only used the solution for a short period of time, so maybe it's there, however, I'd like it if maybe they could combine some network manager type item in there to be able to bridge connections a little easier. Then, you wouldn't have to do it as a separate task. Perhaps their existing network management already includes that. I'm not sure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I haven't used the solution for very long at all. I started using it about a month and a half or so ago, since I've had this server. It's all very new to me right now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution seems to be quite stable. I haven't had any crashing, or any bugs or glitches so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm not sure if the solution can scale well or how easy it can scale as right now I'm having trouble figuring out how to do it correctly. It seems like it is a bit of a confusing process.

Basically, I'm a freelance contractor. Therefore, it's just me using the solution at this time.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used technical support yet. I haven't been on the solution for very long.

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

I didn't previously use a different solution. I just recently got this server.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's not too complex. There are just a few commands from the command line, and then you're good to go. It's very easy and very quick.

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 basically like being on bare metal, which is really nice. 

Overall, I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MahdiBahmani
Solution Architect, IT Consultant at Merdasco - Rayan Merdas Data Prosseccing
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good performance, but better management features and integration are needed

Pros and Cons

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

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.

How has it helped my organization?

Compared to other virtualization solutions KVM is much faster and better at managing resources. For example, we compared XEN, KVM, and Vmware for creating development infrastructure for our programmers, we ended up using KVM.

What is most valuable?

The GUI interface makes the management of KVM easier than ever before.

The performance of this solution is great.

What needs improvement?

This solution is lacking in features such as management and integration.

  • This solution needs better integration with desktop virtualization.
  • Better integration with storage solutions is needed.
  • Business continuity features need to be added.
  • The live migration needs to be improved.
  • You cannot run this application in a data center using only the GUI, so you have to have some knowledge with Linux in order to best manage it.
  • Better network management software is needed.
  • Features like vSAN are not available on KVM.
  • Integration with Kubernetes would be an improvement.

Generally, this solution should be made easier to use. Many customers don't have enough experience with Linux or a deep understanding of operating systems, and they just want to use the product. This together with a lack of features has led customers to choose VMware.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with this solution for more than ten years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is limited in terms of scalability. I think that it is suitable for a mid-range company, but for a larger company, it is not quick. It does not have features for companies that need expandable solutions.

This solution is not used directly by the end-users. If KVM is installed in their data center then they just use the virtual machine. Users don't care about infrastructure, they're just looking for stability and use the operating system for their service. It is the administrators who use this product. Typically, there are two or three administrators in each data center. In terms of end-users, I have seen more than one hundred concurrent users.

How are customer service and technical support?

We do not have access to Red Hat support from our country.

For technical support we depend on the internet and the knowledge of our administrators.

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

I have used XenServer and VMware, and the performance of KVM is better than these.

When it comes to management, integration, business continuity, and live migration, KVM is lacking features and VMware is better in this area.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is not hard, but when you want to use this product in your data center, you have to use the command-line interface to better manage it. You cannot run this application using the GUI alone, so if you don't have enough knowledge with Linux then you may have some trouble.

What about the implementation team?

Most of our solutions are implemented in-house as well as this one.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This solution can be used for free but if you have an expert team on Linux OS, select this one. if you don't have them, forget about it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluate options such as XenServer, VMware, and KVM every six months in order to choose the best product for my customers.

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 competitive solution.

I would rate this solution a five out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Find out what your peers are saying about KVM, Oracle, Microsoft and others in Server Virtualization Software. Updated: November 2021.
555,139 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Ernesto HernáNdez
Project Leader at Logicalis
MSP
Top 20
Easy to manage with a central interface, but the setup process can be improved

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 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.

What is most valuable?

KVM is a very good solution for the user ecosystem.

The KVM service is well managed with a central policy interface.

What needs improvement?

The initial setup of this solution is more difficult than some of the competing products and it could be improved.

I would like to be able to see virtual networking integrated with the virtual machine.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using KVM for more than five or six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have experienced some strange problems with instability using KVM. If you install a new driver, HBA, or a new PC network adapter, then you can have problems because of the process of certification for these devices. It happens because KVM is a solution that supports many different kinds of hardware, unlike VMware which is much more restrictive in terms of what it is compatible with. The problem with having such an open solution is that it can also be the cause of issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of KVM is not as good as that of VMware. 

We have approximately twenty people who are using this solution.

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

We were using VMware prior to KVM. It is a very reliable and very strong solution, but it is also very expensive. We are switching to try and reducts cost both in terms of licensing and managing.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is more difficult than some other products, such as Nutanix. However, it is easier and more compact than the VMware setup.

What about the implementation team?

We implement KVM for our clients and we have a technical support team of about fifteen people.

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.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Muhammad Harun-Owr-Roshid
CEO at BRIGHT-i SYSTEMS LIMITED
Real User
An affordable open-source virtualization technology that's easy to manage

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that it's easy to manage. It's also more powerful when it comes to security than others. That point of view is the one consideration. The other consideration is that it's cost-effective."
  • "Technical support could be better. In the next release, I would like to see an improved user interface and dashboard. This type of improvement will make it easy or help our engineers understand the solution from a requirement point of view."

What is our primary use case?

We're a system integrator company, and we implement solutions in these categories based on the requirements and related solutions. Sometimes our logic and security concerns are feature-oriented. Due to that reason, we're working on a case-to-case basis, and we use KVM for some clients.

What is most valuable?

I like that it's easy to manage. It's also more powerful when it comes to security than others. That point of view is the one consideration. The other consideration is that it's cost-effective.

What needs improvement?

Technical support could be better. In the next release, I would like to see an improved user interface and dashboard. This type of improvement will make it easy or help our engineers understand the solution from a requirement point of view.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with KVM for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution. I haven't had any complaints from the customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support could be better. If I compare it to other systems, support services need to be upgraded. For example, VMware provides support instantly. That's our previous experience. If a client asks for support, they give a prompt response. They even try to connect to a remote expert and solve the problems that way.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's quite user-friendly and easy for those who are used to Linux and Oracle environments. But if they're not used to it, then it could be a little complex.

What about the implementation team?

We are an integrator, and we implement this solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is fair compared to others. But in our local market, it's a problem to get budget approval from management. That's why they are trying to get those products so we can give them the price benefit. But if you consider the international market or other products, it's sometimes better than their price.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this solution, especially for the banking sector, hospitals, and NGOs.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give KVM an eight.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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SK
Co-Founder and CTO at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Cost-effective, stable and scalable; support for snapshot and revert could be improved. HA features can be improved.

Pros and Cons

  • "Very cost-effective."
  • "Lacks high availability across clusters as well as support for Apache CloudStack."

What is our primary use case?

We integrate KVM as part of our product. I'm the CTO of our company. 

What is most valuable?

The solution is very cost-effective. VMware is exorbitantly priced and compared with other products KVM is much cheaper especially in the public cloud scenario.

What needs improvement?

Their support for snapshot and revert could be improved. I'd also like to see the product achieve high availability across clusters and to have more support for Apache CloudStack.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any issues with stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is fine, no problems at all. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have worked with certain support vendors and they're fine. In particular, we work with one of the Red Hat partners and we're quite happy.

How was the initial setup?

The complexity or otherwise of the initial setup depends on the situation but generally it's not too difficult. We offer our customers maintenance support which generally involves update patching.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

KVM offers both an open source and licensed version. 

What other advice do I have?

Before deployment, it's worth checking whether the solution fits your use case and how it would be used across various large deployments. Test it before implementing. 

I rate the solution seven out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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MK
Senior Linux System Administrator at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very easy to configure, stable and open source

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution is open source and easy to configure."
  • "There are some issues with the graphics and some software that is very complex."

What is our primary use case?

I'm a senior Linux system administrator and we are customers of KVM. 

What is most valuable?

I like that this solution is open source, it was easy for me to configure and I haven't had any problems with it.

What needs improvement?

I think the UI could be developed more in the future because there are some issues with the graphics and some software that is very complex. A GUI for controlling the VMs would be a good additional feature. It's easy for us but it's difficult for others working with CLI.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

KVM is stable, but the product from VMware E6 is not stable and I sometimes have issues with it and then the usage of RAM and CPU is costly in my experience. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We did not initially have support but when I have used it recently it's been good. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite easy for me, I use CentOS. 

What other advice do I have?

KVM is good and I recommend it. In the future, containers will be substituted by virtual machines and KVM need to adapt to be able to support that. 

I rate this product an eight out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MT
Solution Architect at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable functionality, but implementation could be easier

What is our primary use case?

We are using KVM across our company for virtualization.

What needs improvement?

In our setup, we do not have any dashboards or orchestration, and it is hard to manage. We have 25 gig network cards, but the software driver we have only supported 10 gigs.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used KVM within the last 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

KVM is stable.

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

We have used Baremetal.

How was the initial setup?

There are different types of implementations and the current implementation we had, we did not spend enough time to optimize it for a highly demanding production environment. We were not running the most sensitive applications in…

What is our primary use case?

We are using KVM across our company for virtualization.

What needs improvement?

In our setup, we do not have any dashboards or orchestration, and it is hard to manage. We have 25 gig network cards, but the software driver we have only supported 10 gigs.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used KVM within the last 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

KVM is stable.

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

We have used Baremetal.

How was the initial setup?

There are different types of implementations and the current implementation we had, we did not spend enough time to optimize it for a highly demanding production environment. We were not running the most sensitive applications in that environment. Where we needed performance we run Baremetal. In the near future, we are going into cloud-native Kubernetes space as well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We had some problems with the licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated Kubernetes.

What other advice do I have?

We have had a lot of problems with the solution but it is not the fault of KVM. It was our fault for not doing a full suite deployment.

I rate KVM a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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ST
Founder at a retailer with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Free, easy to use, stable, and mature

What is our primary use case?

It is useful for everything for which you would use VirtualBox. It is the kernel virtualization model in Linux. I am using the 5.10 kernel. It comes with the Linux operating system.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to use, stable, and flexible. It is a pretty mature product, and it is faster than VirtualBox.

What needs improvement?

Its resource usage can be improved. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for several years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

There is no support for it except in the community. If you want support, you have to pay a company that provides support for this platform.

How was the initial setup?

What is our primary use case?

It is useful for everything for which you would use VirtualBox. It is the kernel virtualization model in Linux. I am using the 5.10 kernel. It comes with the Linux operating system.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to use, stable, and flexible. It is a pretty mature product, and it is faster than VirtualBox.

What needs improvement?

Its resource usage can be improved. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for several years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

There is no support for it except in the community. If you want support, you have to pay a company that provides support for this platform.

How was the initial setup?

There is no installation as such.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is free for everyone.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others. If they were using Linux, this is a requirement.

I would rate KVM an eight out of ten. If KVM uses less resources, it might improve my score.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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