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Software Emulation

By default KubeVirt uses the /dev/kvm device to enable hardware emulation. This is almost always desirable, however there are a few exceptions where this approach is problematic. For instance, running KubeVirt on a cluster where the nodes do not support hardware emulation. In the same way, by default KubeVirt requires presence of /dev/vhost-net in case that at least one network interface model is virtio (note: if the NIC model is not explicitly specified, by default virtio is chosen).

If useEmulation is enabled,

  • hardware emulation via /dev/kvm will not be attempted. qemu will be used for software emulation instead.
  • in-kernel virtio-net backend emulation via /dev/vhost-net will not be attempted. QEMU userland virtio NIC emulation will be used for virtio-net interface instead.


Enabling software emulation is a cluster-wide setting, and is activated by editing the kubevirt-config as follows:

cluster-up/ --namespace kubevirt edit kubevirt kubevirt

Add the following snippet to the spec:

      useEmulation: true