System Administration Guide: Virtualization Using the Solaris Operating System
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virt-install Overview

The virt-install program can be run as a command-line utility, with parameters specified through options, or interactively, in response to a series of prompts.

Supported Machines

x64 and x86 based systems are supported.

To run Windows hardware-assisted virtual machine (HVM) domains, an HVM-capable machine that is running Solaris xVM dom0 is required. A machine is HVM-capable if it is has either an AMD Opteron Revision F or later, or an Intel CPU with VT extensions.

How to Determine Whether a Machine Is HVM-Capable

To determine whether a machine is HVM-capable, run the virt-install program with no arguments.

If the system asks whether you want a fully virtualized guest, you have an HVM-capable system.

If this question is not displayed, then you have a non-HVM capable system.

  1. Become superuser, or assume the Primary Administrator role.
  2. Type virt-install without options.
    # virt-install

    If you see the following display, you have an HVM-capable system:

    Would you like a fully virtualized guest (yes or no)?  
    This will allow you to run unmodified operating systems.

Installation Types

Types of installations that can be performed include the following:

  • Interactive

  • Command line, with options supplied

  • Netinstall

  • ISO image

  • Solaris JumpStart

Required Information

You will need to supply the guest domain information listed below.


Name for the guest domain. Each guest domain must have a unique name. This name serves as the label of the guest operating system. The name must be a real hostname for network installationss to work.

image location

Location of the installation software. Installation must be over a network (which includes an NFS share from the local host operating system) or be an ISO install.

For example:


For HVM, an ISO or CDROM device should be given instead of an image location.

See virt-install Examples.

Installations using http or ftp, as shown in the following examples, are supported for Linux paravirtualized domain installations only:

The number of CPUs for the guest domain. The default is 1. You can assign specific CPUs. If undefined, the hypervisor makes the selection.


Amount of RAM to be allocated to the guest, in megabytes. A running domain should use a minimum of 512 megabytes. However, to install the guest domain, 1 Gbyte (1024 megabytes) is required.


Graphical console. Default is graphics. The nographics option applies to paravirtual guests only. If you intend to enable graphics support, you must decide whether the graphical installer should be used.

(Optional) Virtual network interface MAC address

This is the MAC address of the dom0's network interface that you want the domU to use to send and receive internet traffic. By default, the hypervisor tools uses the first available network interface card (NIC) when creating guest domains.

The default values for the action to be taken on a domU shutdown, reboot, or crash are set by virt-install. You currently cannot change these defaults.


Usage examples are provided in subsequent sections of this chapter.


Use kernel acceleration capabilities.


The CPU architecture to simulate. Acceptable values are x86 and sparc.


JumpStart path, which is nfs:host:/path. The path must point to the directory containing JumpStart information,

-b bridge, --bridge=bridge

Bridge to which to connect the network interface. If you do not specify a bridge, the system attempts to determine the default.

-c cdrom, --cdrom=cdrom

File to use as a virtual CD-ROM device for fully virtualized guests. This option works with HVM domains and is ignored with paravirtualized domains. To install from cdrom, pass the ISO path to --location.


Verify that assigned VCPUs do not exceed physical CPUs and output a warning if this is the case.


Connect to hypervisor at URI.

-d, --debug

Display debugging information.

-f disk_image, --file=disk_image

Virtual Backing Device (VBD), such as the file to use as the disk image location.

The file is created by virt-install if the file does not exist. By default, virt-install creates a sparse image file. To create a non-sparse image, use the --nonsparse option on the virt-install command line. With appropriate permissions, the VBD can be on a remote system and specified with the /net/system construction.

A physical partition or device can be used, such as /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3.


Display list of virt-install options.

-k keymap, --keymap=keymap

Set up keymap for a graphical console.

-l location, --location=location

Installation source for a paravirtualized domU, such as nfs:host:/path.

-m mac_addr, --mac=mac_addr

Fixed MAC address for the domU. If the keywords none or random are specified, a random address will be used.

-n name, --name=name

Name of the domU.


Disables Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) for a fully virtualized domU. Overrides stored configuration setting specified by the --os-type and --os-variant options.


Disables Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) for a fully virtualized domU. Overrides stored configuration setting specified by the --os-type and --os-variant options.


Do not automatically try to connect to the guest console.


Do not use sparse files for disks..Note that the use of this option causes domU creation to be significantly slower.


The OS type for fully virtualized guests. Acceptable values are solaris, unix, linux, and windows.

-p, --paravirt

Indicates that guest is paravirtualized.

-p -nographics

This is a paravirtual installation. Do not set up a graphical console for the guest. The console is serial. These two options are always used together.

When using virt-install to create a paravirtualized guest, --nographics must be used to override the default mode.

By default, consoles for HVM guests are graphics consoles. HVM installs may specify either VNC (--vnc) or Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) (--sdl) for graphics support.


The OS variant for fully virtualized guests. Acceptable values are fedora6, rhel5, solaris10, win2k, and vista.


Sets the number of vcpus for the guest domain.

-r mem_amount, --ram=mem_amount

Memory to allocate for domU instance, in megabytes.

To optimize the current dom0 handling of memory, you should size memory allocated to a domU to be no more than approximately 55 percent of the total physical memory installed in your system, and then divide the allocated memory among the domUs you intend to run concurrently.

For example, if you have 2 Gbytes of RAM installed in your system, you should not allocate more than approximately 1.1 Gbytes of RAM to domUs. Thus, if you only intend to run one domU, you can allocate the entire 1.1 Gbytes to it. If you intend to run two domUs concurrently, you should not allocate more than 550 MB of RAM to either domain, etc.

Use 1 Gbyte or more for installations, and reduce the amount later if necessary.

-s disksize, --file-size=disksize

Size of the disk image (if it does not exist), in Gbytes.


Use Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) for graphics support. This option works with some guest domains, including HVM, but cannot be used with Solaris. For more information on SDL, see Simple DirectMedia Layer.

-u UUID, --uuid=UUID

Specifies the UUID as a 32–digit hexadecimal number, for the domU. If no UUID is specified, the system generates a random UUID.

-v , --hvm

Specifies that the guest is a hardware assisted virtual machine (HVM).


Number of virtual CPUs (VCPUs) to configure for the domU.

Note - From dom0, you can dynamically reset the number of active VCPUs allocated for the domain by using:

# xm vcpu-set domain number_vCPUs


Use Virtual Network Computing (VNC) for graphics support. The graphical output of the guest is redirected over VNC. This option works with HVM domains but it does not work with paravirtualized domains.


Port to use for VNC.

-w network, --network=network

Connect the guest to a virtual network, forwarding to the physical network with Network Address Translation (NAT).

-x extra_args, --extra-args=extra_args

When installing paravirtualized guests, specifies additional arguments to pass to the installer.

After you enter the required information, the installation starts. If you enabled graphics, a VNC window containing the graphical installer opens. If graphics are not enabled, the text installer displays.

For more information, see the virt-install(1M) man page.

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