First off, you will want to build images on a KVM capable machine. If not, you will be missing out on the hardware acceleration and your install will take forever!


This is a command line tool written in python that will allow you to specify the layout of a guest, and do an installation of that guest.

Since the man page for this program contains most information you would want to know, I will keep this section short with just an example and a few quick notes.

This example will create a 10GB disk image and start the installation from an iso located at /home/bob/sl52DVD.iso. The guest is given 512MB of memory, and it will use br0 for its network connection.

virt-install --connect qemu:///system
             --name sl52base \
             --ram 512 \
             --file /opt/workspace/images/sl52base \
             --file-size 10 \
             --network BRIDGE:br0 \
             --accelerate \
             --os linux \
             --os-variant rhel5 \
             --cdrom /home/bob/sl52DVD.iso


  • When creating a KVM guest you must always use the --accelerate option. If you do not, it will fall back to QEMU emulation.
  • the --cdrom option can point to an actual drive (ie, /dev/hdc), or a iso file on your local machine, or even a remote file (ftp, http, etc.).
  • ram is specified in MB, disk size is specified in GB.
  • the --disk option may be of more use to you the --file.


One of the features of virt-manager is the ability to create new guests by using a nice GUI. There are some features you will not have access to with this approach, but the majority of features you need will be there.


This is another command line program that will take an existing guest image and create a copy of it. Assignment of new UUIDs and network MACs is easily handeled here.

-- MattVliet - 04 Mar 2009

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Topic revision: r2 - 2009-03-05 - mvliet
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