There are many virtualization tools available in the market, at varying prices and supply. However, there are two noteworthy items that have been the cause of great debate amongst virtualization enthusiasts. The first is the performance of the underlying hypervisor, and the other is the support for the preferred hypervisor in a particular flavor of Linux.

Simplicity of use and ease of use are the most important features every software should have. Red Hat Virtualization has been designed to address these two qualities. Red hat virtualization is the simplest and easiest way to create and manage virtual machines and allows you to easily create, deploy and manage virtual machines. It includes the following features:

Virtual machine installation

Red Hat Virtualization lets you create virtual machines (guests) running different operating systems. Several Red Hat and third-party operating systems are certified and supported as guest operating systems.

The following is a list of supported guest operating systems in a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) Red Hat Virtualization environment. This list may be updated from time to time. The current list is available on the Red Hat customer portal at https://access.redhat.com/articles/973163/.

OPERATING SYSTEM VERSIONVERSION
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Microsoft Windows Server 2008, 2008 (R2), 2012, 2012 R2, 2016
Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, 11, 12

Installing a new virtual machine

The new virtual machine can be installed via the administration portal or the user portal. This is a basic description of the steps required to install a new virtual machine:

  1. Create a blank virtual machine for the new operating system, select the necessary hardware to meet the requirements of the new operating system, create a new virtual hard disk for data storage, and create one or more network interfaces to connect the virtual machine to the necessary logical networks.
  2. Boot the virtual machine from the installation CD and install the operating system.
  3. Start the virtual machine and install the agents and guest drivers to extend the functionality of the virtual machine.

Creating a virtual machine

The first step in this process is to create an empty virtual machine. There are several ways to do this, but one way is to log into the administration portal, click on the Virtual Machines tab, and then click on New VM. The New Virtual Machine window opens.

If the advanced options are not displayed, two tabs are available. General contains the basic settings of the virtual machine configuration. Console provides settings that affect the console of the virtual machine (the monitor of the virtualized physical system).

You saw the options on the General tab in Chapter 2, Installing and Configuring Red Hat Virtualization. For example, Cluster is the name of the cluster where the new virtual machine is created, while Name, Description, and How speak for themselves.

The operating system configures a virtual machine with virtualized devices that are likely to be supported by a particular operating system.

Instance Type configures the default hardware configuration, including the number of CPUs and the amount of memory, for the new virtual machine. This can be configured under Configure → Instance Types in the top right corner of the administration portal interface.

By default, five instance types are used:

  • Small: 1 vCPU, 512 MB RAM
  • Small: 1 vCPU, 2048 MB RAM
  • Medium: 2 vCPU, 4096 MB RAM
  • Large: 2 vCPU, 8192 MB RAM
  • XLarge: 4 vCPU, 16384 MB RAM

Optimized to affect some advanced backup and configuration settings. For most virtual machines, you should select Server.

Instance Images is used to configure the local storage of the virtual machine. Click New to create a new player. The New Virtual Disk window opens. This window provides options for selecting the size, alias and data domain of the drive. Two other particularly important options:

– The interface specifies the hardware interface for the virtual machine’s memory. VirtIO-SCSI and VirtIO are faster, but require paravirtualized guest drivers for the virtual machine operating system. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is installed with these drivers by default. The IDE emulates the basic IDE interface supported by most operating systems.

– The allocation policy determines whether the entire disk is immediately allocated in advance, or whether a fine-grained storage allocation is performed, allocating only what the virtual machine needs.

Thin provisioning is generally faster for provisioning, backup, replication and recovery. However, as memory increases, the underlying memory must be allocated on the fly, resulting in longer latency and lower performance. Preallocated memory is faster in terms of performance, but takes up more space.

If the storage array supporting the data domain supports deduplication, you can configure the hardware storage array to enable fine-grain initialization and deduplication at that level and pre-allocate storage for virtual machines in Red Hat Virtualization.

OPINION: It is recommended to equip the virtual machine with a RHV-managed local boot disk that contains the operating system and application binaries. Any additional disks for these applications are probably best managed externally and accessed directly by the virtual machine via iSCSI or NFS.

The advantage of this method is that virtual machines can be managed and backed up separately from application data. The virtual machine can be quickly restored from a snapshot or template, and then the application data can be retrieved from the SAN or NAS. Application performance can also be improved by ensuring that the Red Hat Virtualization host does not redirect memory traffic to the virtual machine.

Creating virtual machine network interfaces by selecting the vNIC profile configures the network interfaces. By default, a network interface (nic1) is defined, and the drop-down menu next to it allows you to connect the interface to the virtual machine’s logical network. After you have configured a vNIC, you can click the + button to add more network interfaces to the virtual machine.

The Show Additional Settings button allows you to display some additional settings in the New Virtual Machine window. These can be used to configure the vCPU and memory, adjust the boot order, or enable additional features.

Installing a virtual machine with an ISO domain

To install a virtual machine with an ISO image, right-click on the virtual machine you just defined. In this list, select the option Run once. The Run Virtual Machine(s) dialog box opens, where you can define the startup parameters. A z. For example, to boot a virtual machine from an available ISO using the ISO library, click the + button next to Boot Options. A new section of the dialog opens where you can specify how this virtual machine should be started. Since you used the Run once option, any changes you make here will only be used once.

To link the installation ISO to the virtual machine’s CD-ROM drive, select the check box next to Link CD. This will activate the virtual CD-ROM drive for this download and allow you to choose the appropriate ISO file from a list of all available ISOs in your library.

By selecting and attaching the appropriate ISO file, you set the correct boot order for the virtual machine. In this example, highlight the CD-ROM drive by clicking its name in the list of predefined boot sequences. Selects the virtual CD-ROM drive and activates two other buttons: Up and down. Since you want to boot from the ISO file installed in the virtual CD-ROM drive, use the Move Up key to move the CD-ROM to the top of the list of predefined boot sequences. This is all you need to get the virtual machine to start the installation process. Apply while pressing the OK key.

NOTE: If the Run Once installation is restarted without stopping the virtual machine, the BIOS settings are saved and the virtual machine is restarted from the CD-ROM. After shutting down a virtual machine that has been run once, all custom Run Once settings are no longer used. At this point, the virtual machine can be started with Run from the administration portal interface, using the default settings for starting the virtual machine.

Manual installation of drivers and guest agents

Guest drivers and agents are tools installed in the guest operating system to improve the management and performance of virtual machines. The guest driver provides a paravirtualized device driver that uses the interfaces provided by the hypervisor instead of the standard device drivers to improve performance. The guest agent delivers guest information and guest operating system status messages to the Red Hat Virtualization environment. One of the key features of the guest agent is the ability to monitor resource usage and gradually shut down or restart virtual machines via the user portal or the administration portal.

A good practice is to install Red Hat Virtualization guest agents and virtual machine drivers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows. Agents and guest drivers must be installed on each virtual machine for which this feature is to be available.

The following table describes the different guest drivers available for Red Hat Virtualization guests. Not all drivers are available for all supported operating systems.

DRIVER DESCRIPTION
virtio-net Paravirtualized network driver to improve performance of network interfaces.
virtio block Paravirtualized disk driver for improved I/O performance. Optimizes communication and coordination between the guest and the hypervisor.
virtio-scsi The paravirtualized iSCSI disk driver allows the addition of hundreds of devices and uses the standard SCSI device naming scheme.
virtio series Supports multiple serial ports to improve performance for faster communication between guest and host computers
Virtio balloon Controls how much memory the guest actually uses. Optimizes excessive memory usage.
qxl This paravirtualized display driver reduces CPU usage on the host and provides better performance.

When RHVM starts a virtual machine, it uses the guest agent on the virtual machine to collect information, such as the IP address of the virtual machine. RHVM also tries to communicate with the virtual machine via the guest agent to shut it down properly.

In Red Hat Enterprise Linux, this interaction is performed by the ovirt-guest-agent and qemu-guest-agent services. If you are installing a Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtual machine in RHV, make sure you include the ovirt-guest-agent-common package.

In Windows, install the HVR agent as part of the installation of HVR tools. These are the gaseous means and aids that are available:

NAME DESCRIPTION
ovirt-guest-agent-common Gives Red Hat Virtualization Manager the ability to execute specific commands and retrieve internal events or guest information.
Herbs Supports multiple monitors, reduces WAN bandwidth usage It also allows cut and paste of text and images between the guest and the client.
rhev-sso A desktop agent that allows users to automatically log in to their virtual machines.

Installing guest agents and drivers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

On virtual Red Hat Enterprise Linux machines, the Red Hat guest agents and virtualization drivers are installed using the ovirt-guest-agent-common package.

The following describes how to install guest agents and drivers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 :

1. Connect to the virtual machine.

2. Make sure your virtual machine is registered in Subscription Manager and associated with the correct entitlement (typically the Pool ID for Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Smart Virtualization).

[[email protected] ~]# subscription-manager attach
…output omitted…

[[email protected] ~]# subscription-manager list –available
…output omitted…

[email protected] ~]# subscription-manager attach –pool=pool-id-for-entitlement

3. Activate the repository that contains the Red Hat Virtualization Agent:

[email protected] ~]# subscription-manager repos –enable=rhel-7-server-rh-common-rpms

4. Install the ovirt-guest-agent-common package:

[email protected] ~]# yum install ovirt-guest-agent-common

5. Start and activate the ovirt-guest-agent service:

[[email protected] ~]# systemctl start ovirt-guest-agent
[[email protected] ~]# systemctl enable ovirt-guest-agent

6. Start and ignite the QEMU gas:

[[email protected] ~]# systemctl start qemu-guest-agent
[[email protected] ~]# systemctl enable qemu-guest-agent

Red Hat Virtualization Manager now receives additional usage information from the guest agent running on the virtual machine. You can check this by logging into the administration portal, selecting the virtual machine on the Virtual Machines tab, and then selecting the Guest Information tab at the bottom of the interface.

Installing guest agents and drivers on Windows

One of the best ways to improve the performance of Microsoft Windows guests is to use paravirtualized devices and drivers for KVM. This results in a productivity close to that of blank metal (up to 95%).

On Windows virtual machines, the Red Hat Virtualization guest agents and drivers are installed using the rhev-tools-setup.iso file. The ISO is installed as a dependency of Red Hat Virtualization Manager and is located in /usr/share/rhev-guest-tools-iso/.

rhev-tools-setup.iso can be automatically copied to the default ISO storage during RHVM installation or manually downloaded. New versions of the rhev-toolssetup.iso file must be manually connected to virtual Windows machines to update tools and drivers. The following describes the procedure for installing agents and gas drivers on Windows:

  1. Connect to the virtual machine.
  2. Select the CD-ROM drive that contains the attached ISO file rhev-tools-setup.iso.
  3. Double-click on RHEV-toolsSetup.
  4. Click Next on the next screen.
  5. Follow the instructions in the RHEV Tools installation wizard window. Select all cells in the component list.
  6. When the installation is complete, select Yes, I want to restart the computer now and click Finish to restart the virtual machine and apply the changes.

Cloning a virtual machine

Another way to create a virtual machine is to clone an existing machine. A clone is a copy of a virtual machine created on new virtual hardware. The clone receives an exact copy of the hard disk image of the original virtual machine, which contains configuration settings, logs and other data about this image.

Follow these steps to clone a virtual machine from an existing virtual machine:

  1. In the administration portal, click on the Virtual Machines tab. Select your virtual machine from the list.
  2. Stop the virtual machine while it is running by clicking on the red icon pointing down or by right-clicking on the virtual machine and choosing Stop from the menu.
  3. Click on the Clone VM item or right-click on the virtual machine and select Clone VM from the menu.
  4. A new Clone Virtual Machine window will open. Set the name of the cloned virtual machine and click OK to create it.
  5. Creating a disk image of the cloned virtual machine can take a few minutes. At this point, the disk images of the original virtual machine and the new clone will be locked. You can check this by clicking on the virtual machine in the Virtual Machines resource tab and selecting the Disks subtab at the bottom of the web interface. Check the status of the virtual machine’s hard disk images. You cannot start the virtual machines until their disk image status is changed to OK.
  6. Once the disk image status of the virtual machine is OK, you can start one or both virtual machines normally.

OPINION: The cloned virtual machine contains the data of the original image, including logs, SSH keys, and other unique information. This may not be necessary if you are trying to create a new virtual machine with a similar configuration, rather than an exact copy. You can also use a virtual machine to create a sealed template that does not contain unique data and then create virtual machines based on that template. A template can be created from a virtual machine using the Create Template item instead of Cloning VM. Some preliminary steps may also be required to clean up the data in the model.

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