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I saw a job classified asking for a Linux admin who could administer KVM based vm's. I can do so if I use virt-manager or some form of graphical tool, but I'm not really familiar with all of the command line material. I also cant really find a good tutorial on it, as most sites say to use the graphical stuff. My question is, for a position like this is my understanding satisfactory to apply?


locked by HopelessN00b Jan 21 '15 at 7:24

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closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Jan 21 '15 at 7:23

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The newer versions of virt-manager are pretty decent but it still doesn't expose all the options and control that the underlying system has. At this point it's pretty usable for the most common operations though. In addition to the extra options that are exposed at the command line it also lends itself to better automation and scripting.

If you want to learn about the command line options then read the following man pages.

  • kvm or qemu these normally point to the same manpage.
  • virsh

To explore virsh you can also type virsh to start a shell and then type help.

Also keep in mind that managing KVM is more than just knowing KVM. You also need to have a good bit of networking and storage skills. It could also involve setting up and configuring the virtual machines as well.

If the position is a Junior position I would go for it. Nothing to lose by trying.


For the sake of having a job and also a place to learn through experience, yes apply for the job. If you get to the interview stage you could always tell them that you have knowledge of managing it through virt-manager and you prefer to use that to the command line tools. For all you know, maybe just knowing that libvirt exists is enough to put you ahead of the rest.

However, for the completeness of your knowledge, you should really learn how to do it via the command line interface. For all you know, you may some day need to write an application wrapper or library service to do things that the GUI tools may not be able to handle completely.

Moreover, you will actually learn more about computers and networking in general if you are forced to do things without relying on the magic of GUI tools and wizards. In fact, you may start to understand why virt-manager has those options that it has.


even if you always use a front-end, if you can't handle the tool itself, it doesn't count as 'administer' in my book.


libvirt is just one option. Besides the commercially supported RHEV, there are quite a few additional management platforms, ways of clustering, storage and everything else.

Administering virtualization means you have to know about clustering, load balancing, server and storage hardware management, networking and quite possibly several OS types.

virt-manager only is a drop in the ocean :)


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