I have a CentOS 5.5 x64 server with KVM installed (yum groupinstall KVM). I have a Windows-XP PC on the same LAN. The server doesn't have an X-server installed, it is administered from the WIndows-XP PC using SSH (Putty) to emulate a character-mode terminal. I'd prefer not to install any sophisticated cloud-admin/management GUI tools as my needs are minimal.

Q1. Specifying model of virtual NIC?

I want to use KVM/QEMU to run an old legacy operating system for which there are no drivers for modern hardware. Apart from IDE disk emulation, this means I need the Guest VM to emulate a specific older ethernet-adapter (e.g. AMD pcnet) for which the legacy OS has a driver. Does this mean I must use virt-install instead of virt-manager? Do I need to post-edit any XML created by virt-install?

Q2. GUI KVM administration without X11?

Is virt-manager a VNC server? Can I just install a VNC viewer on my Win-XP PC and connect to some port on the KVM host in order to run virt-manager? If so, how do I start virt-manager first?

Q3. SSH to guest VM console?

If the guest is connected to a bridged network and I only need to run character-mode apps on the legacy O/S can I somehow use SSH (well Putty) to connect to the guest O/S console for guest installation and subsequent access? If direct access isn't possible, can I SSH to the host and then connect and disconnect from the guest-console without involving GUI/X11/VNC?


Neither virt-manager nor virt-install will let you specify the NIC type. Instead, you must create the VM first, then user virsh edit to edit the configuration. From there you can specify the NIC model. pcnet is supported.

virt-manager is an X11 application. The most straightforward to use it would be to install an X server on your Windows computer using cygwin.

If your VM is using bridged networking, you can access it similarly to any other host on your network. If it is running an ssh daemon, you could connect directly to it. If you want to connect to the console, that's not something you'd normally be able do over a network. It may be possible to have libvirt emulate a serial device for your guest and make that serial console accessible in some way over the network. You would have to configure your guest to use it, of course. Accessing the emulated display that virt-manager makes available would be simpler.

  • re specifying NIC type: Newer versions of virt-install allow you to choose the type of NIC by specifying the "--network NETWORK,model=sometype" option when installing a new VM. As specified, a list of supported cards can be found with the command "qemu -net nic,model=? /dev/null". My PC shows: qemu: Supported NIC models: ne2k_pci,i82551,i82557b,i82559er,rtl8139,e1000,pcnet,virtio – katriel Mar 27 '11 at 23:01

re Q1. Specifying model of virtual NIC? qemu provides e1000, rtl8139 and virtio NICs. pick the most appropriate one.

re Q2. GUI KVM administration without X11? quite possible. When you start the VM with the install CD image attached and -boot dc specified, you can also specify the vnc port to listen on. From there on, you can remotely connect to the HOST (not the VM), on that port - and you'll see the VM console

virt-manager has a VNC and SDL consoles built in, but it's just a GUI wrapper for virsh basically. If you can't run virt-manager on the remote host, you can simply install it on your machine, and connect to the remote host using virt-manager.

re Q3 if your guest OS has SSH running, you can connect to it, as if the VM is a physical machine. Nothing to do with virtualization

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