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Vagrant Libvirt Provider

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This is a Vagrant plugin that adds an Libvirt provider to Vagrant, allowing Vagrant to control and provision machines via Libvirt toolkit.

Note: Actual version is still a development one. Feedback is welcome and can help a lot :-)



  • Control local Libvirt hypervisors.
  • Vagrant up, destroy, suspend, resume, halt, ssh, reload, package and provision commands.
  • Upload box image (qcow2 format) to Libvirt storage pool.
  • Create volume as COW diff image for domains.
  • Create private networks.
  • Create and boot Libvirt domains.
  • SSH into domains.
  • Setup hostname and network interfaces.
  • Provision domains with any built-in Vagrant provisioner.
  • Synced folder support via rsync, nfs or 9p.
  • Snapshots via sahara.
  • Package caching via vagrant-cachier.
  • Use boxes from other Vagrant providers via vagrant-mutate.
  • Support VMs with no box for PXE boot purposes (Vagrant 1.6 and up)

Future work


First, you should have both qemu and libvirt installed if you plan to run VMs on your local system. For instructions, refer to your linux distribution's documentation.

NOTE: Before you start using Vagrant-libvirt, please make sure your libvirt and qemu installation is working correctly and you are able to create qemu or kvm type virtual machines with virsh or virt-manager.

Next, you must have Vagrant installed. Vagrant-libvirt supports Vagrant 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8. We only test with the upstream version! If you decide to install your distros version and you run into problems, as a first step you should switch to upstream.

Now you need to make sure your have all the build dependencies installed for vagrant-libvirt. This depends on your distro. An overview:

  • Ubuntu 12.04/14.04/16.04, Debian:
apt-get build-dep vagrant ruby-libvirt
apt-get install qemu libvirt-bin ebtables dnsmasq
apt-get install libxslt-dev libxml2-dev libvirt-dev zlib1g-dev ruby-dev

(It is possible some users will already have libraries from the third line installed, but this is the way to make it work OOTB.)

  • CentOS 6, 7, Fedora 21:
yum install qemu libvirt libvirt-devel ruby-devel gcc qemu-kvm
  • Fedora 22 and up:
dnf -y install qemu libvirt libvirt-devel ruby-devel gcc
  • Arch linux: please read the related ArchWiki page.
pacman -S vagrant

Now you're ready to install vagrant-libvirt using standard Vagrant plugin installation methods.

$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-libvirt

Possible problems with plugin installation on Linux

In case of problems with building nokogiri and ruby-libvirt gem, install missing development libraries for libxslt, libxml2 and libvirt.

On Ubuntu, Debian, make sure you are running all three of the apt commands above with sudo.

On RedHat, Centos, Fedora, ...

$ sudo dnf install libxslt-devel libxml2-devel libvirt-devel \
  libguestfs-tools-c ruby-devel gcc

On Arch linux it is recommended to follow steps from ArchWiki.

If have problem with installation - check your linker. It should be

sudo alternatives --set ld /usr/bin/
# OR
sudo ln -fs /usr/bin/ /usr/bin/ld

If you have issues building ruby-libvirt, try the following:

CONFIGURE_ARGS='with-ldflags=-L/opt/vagrant/embedded/lib with-libvirt-include=/usr/include/libvirt with-libvirt-lib=/usr/lib' GEM_HOME=~/.vagrant.d/gems GEM_PATH=$GEM_HOME:/opt/vagrant/embedded/gems PATH=/opt/vagrant/embedded/bin:$PATH vagrant plugin install vagrant-libvirt

Vagrant Project Preparation

Add Box

After installing the plugin (instructions above), the quickest way to get started is to add Libvirt box and specify all the details manually within a config.vm.provider block. So first, add Libvirt box using any name you want. You can find more libvirt ready boxes at Atlas. For example:

vagrant init fedora/24-cloud-base

Create Vagrantfile

And then make a Vagrantfile that looks like the following, filling in your information where necessary. For example:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define :test_vm do |test_vm| = "fedora/24-cloud-base"

Start VM

In prepared project directory, run following command:

$ vagrant up --provider=libvirt

Vagrant needs to know that we want to use Libvirt and not default VirtualBox. That's why there is --provider=libvirt option specified. Other way to tell Vagrant to use Libvirt provider is to setup environment variable


How Project Is Created

Vagrant goes through steps below when creating new project:

  1. Connect to Libvirt localy or remotely via SSH.
  2. Check if box image is available in Libvirt storage pool. If not, upload it to remote Libvirt storage pool as new volume.
  3. Create COW diff image of base box image for new Libvirt domain.
  4. Create and start new domain on Libvirt host.
  5. Check for DHCP lease from dnsmasq server.
  6. Wait till SSH is available.
  7. Sync folders and run Vagrant provisioner on new domain if setup in Vagrantfile.

Libvirt Configuration

Provider Options

Although it should work without any configuration for most people, this provider exposes quite a few provider-specific configuration options. The following options allow you to configure how vagrant-libvirt connects to libvirt, and are used to generate the libvirt connection URI:

  • driver - A hypervisor name to access. For now only kvm and qemu are supported
  • host - The name of the server, where libvirtd is running
  • connect_via_ssh - If use ssh tunnel to connect to Libvirt. Absolutely needed to access libvirt on remote host. It will not be able to get the IP address of a started VM otherwise.
  • username - Username and password to access Libvirt
  • password - Password to access Libvirt
  • id_ssh_key_file - If not nil, uses this ssh private key to access Libvirt. Default is $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa. Prepends $HOME/.ssh/ if no directory
  • socket - Path to the libvirt unix socket (e.g. /var/run/libvirt/libvirt-sock)
  • uri - For advanced usage. Directly specifies what libvirt connection URI vagrant-libvirt should use. Overrides all other connection configuration options

Connection-independent options:

  • storage_pool_name - Libvirt storage pool name, where box image and instance snapshots will be stored.

For example:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| = ""

Domain Specific Options

  • disk_bus - The type of disk device to emulate. Defaults to virtio if not set. Possible values are documented in libvirt's description for target. NOTE: this option applies only to disks associated with a box image. To set the bus type on additional disks, see the Additional Disks section.

  • disk_device - The disk device to emulate. Defaults to vda if not set, which should be fine for paravirtualized guests, but some fully virtualized guests may require hda. NOTE: this option also applies only to disks associated with a box image.

  • nic_model_type - parameter specifies the model of the network adapter when you create a domain value by default virtio KVM believe possible values, see the documentation for libvirt.

  • memory - Amount of memory in MBytes. Defaults to 512 if not set.

  • cpus - Number of virtual cpus. Defaults to 1 if not set.

  • cputopology - Number of CPU sockets, cores and threads running per core. All fields of :sockets, :cores and :threads are mandatory, cpus domain option must be present and must be equal to total count of sockets * cores * threads. For more details see documentation.

    Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
      config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
        libvirt.cpus = 4
        libvirt.cputopology :sockets => '2', :cores => '2', :threads => '1'
  • nested - Enable nested virtualization. Default is false.

  • cpu_mode - CPU emulation mode. Defaults to 'host-model' if not set. Allowed values: host-model, host-passthrough, custom.

  • cpu_model - CPU Model. Defaults to 'qemu64' if not set and cpu_mode is custom and to '' otherwise. This can really only be used when setting cpu_mode to custom.

  • cpu_fallback - Whether to allow libvirt to fall back to a CPU model close to the specified model if features in the guest CPU are not supported on the host. Defaults to 'allow' if not set. Allowed values: allow, forbid.

  • numa_nodes - Specify an array of NUMA nodes for the guest. The syntax is similar to what would be set in the domain XML. memory must be in MB. Symmetrical and asymmetrical topologies are supported but make sure your total count of defined CPUs adds up to v.cpus.

    The sum of all the memory defined here will act as your total memory for your guest VM. This sum will override what is set in v.memory

    v.cpus = 4
    v.numa_nodes = [
      {:cpus => "0-1", :memory => "1024"},
      {:cpus => "2-3", :memory => "4096"}
  • loader - Sets path to custom UEFI loader.

  • volume_cache - Controls the cache mechanism. Possible values are "default", "none", "writethrough", "writeback", "directsync" and "unsafe". See driver->cache in libvirt documentation.

  • kernel - To launch the guest with a kernel residing on host filesystems. Equivalent to qemu -kernel.

  • initrd - To specify the initramfs/initrd to use for the guest. Equivalent to qemu -initrd.

  • random_hostname - To create a domain name with extra information on the end to prevent hostname conflicts.

  • cmd_line - Arguments passed on to the guest kernel initramfs or initrd to use. Equivalent to qemu -append, only possible to use in combination with initrd and kernel.

  • graphics_type - Sets the protocol used to expose the guest display. Defaults to vnc. Possible values are "sdl", "curses", "none", "gtk", "vnc" or "spice".

  • graphics_port - Sets the port for the display protocol to bind to. Defaults to 5900.

  • graphics_ip - Sets the IP for the display protocol to bind to. Defaults to "".

  • graphics_passwd - Sets the password for the display protocol. Working for vnc and spice. by default working without passsword.

  • graphics_autoport - Sets autoport for graphics, libvirt in this case ignores graphics_port value, Defaults to 'yes'. Possible value are "yes" and "no"

  • keymap - Set keymap for vm. default: en-us

  • kvm_hidden - Hide the hypervisor from the guest. Useful for GPU passthrough on stubborn drivers. Default is false.

  • video_type - Sets the graphics card type exposed to the guest. Defaults to "cirrus". Possible values are "vga", "cirrus", "vmvga", "xen", "vbox", or "qxl".

  • video_vram - Used by some graphics card types to vary the amount of RAM dedicated to video. Defaults to 9216.

  • sound_type - Set the virtual sound card Defaults to "ich6".

  • machine_type - Sets machine type. Equivalent to qemu -machine. Use qemu-system-x86_64 -machine help to get a list of supported machines.

  • machine_arch - Sets machine architecture. This helps libvirt to determine the correct emulator type. Possible values depend on your version of qemu. For possible values, see which emulator executable qemu-system-* your system provides. Common examples are aarch64, alpha, arm, cris, i386, lm32, m68k, microblaze, microblazeel, mips, mips64, mips64el, mipsel, moxie, or32, ppc, ppc64, ppcemb, s390x, sh4, sh4eb, sparc, sparc64, tricore, unicore32, x86_64, xtensa, xtensaeb.

  • machine_virtual_size - Sets the disk size in GB for the machine overriding the default specified in the box. Allows boxes to defined with a minimal size disk by default and to be grown to a larger size at creation time. Will ignore sizes smaller than the size specified by the box metadata. Note that currently there is no support for automatically resizing the filesystem to take advantage of the larger disk.

  • emulator_path - Explicitly select which device model emulator to use by providing the path, e.g. /usr/bin/qemu-system-x86_64. This is especially useful on systems that fail to select it automatically based on machine_arch which then results in a capability error.

  • boot - Change the boot order and enables the boot menu. Possible options are "hd", "network", "cdrom". Defaults to "hd" with boot menu disabled. When "network" is set without "hd", only all NICs will be tried; see below for more detail.

  • nic_adapter_count - Defaults to '8'. Only use case for increasing this count is for VMs that virtualize switches such as Cumulus Linux. Max value for Cumulus Linux VMs is 33.

  • uuid - Force a domain UUID. Defaults to autogenerated value by libvirt if not set.

  • suspend_mode - What is done on vagrant suspend. Possible values: 'pause', 'managedsave'. Pause mode executes a la virsh suspend, which just pauses execution of a VM, not freeing resources. Managed save mode does a la virsh managedsave which frees resources suspending a domain.

  • tpm_model - The model of the TPM to which you wish to connect.

  • tpm_type - The type of TPM device to which you are connecting.

  • tpm_path - The path to the TPM device on the host system.

  • dtb - The device tree blob file, mostly used for non-x86 platforms. In case the device tree isn't added in-line to the kernel, it can be manually specified here.

  • autostart - Automatically start the domain when the host boots. Defaults to 'false'.

  • channel - libvirt channels. Configure a private communication channel between the host and guest, e.g. for use by the qemu guest agent and the Spice/QXL graphics type.

  • mgmt_attach - Decide if VM has interface in mgmt network. If set to 'false' it is not possible to communicate with VM through vagrant ssh or run provisioning. Setting to 'false' is only possible when VM doesn't use box. Defaults set to 'true'.

Specific domain settings can be set for each domain separately in multi-VM environment. Example below shows a part of Vagrantfile, where specific options are set for dbserver domain.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define :dbserver do |dbserver| = "centos64"
    dbserver.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain|
      domain.memory = 2048
      domain.cpus = 2
      domain.nested = true
      domain.volume_cache = 'none'

  # ...

The following example shows part of a Vagrantfile that enables the VM to boot from a network interface first and a hard disk second. This could be used to run VMs that are meant to be a PXE booted machines. Be aware that if hd is not specified as a boot option, it will never be tried.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define :pxeclient do |pxeclient| = "centos64"
    pxeclient.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain|
      domain.boot 'network'
      domain.boot 'hd'

  # ...

Reload behavior

On vagrant reload the following domain specific attributes are updated in defined domain:

  • disk_bus - Is updated only on disks. It skips CDROMs
  • nic_model_type - Updated
  • memory - Updated
  • cpus - Updated
  • nested - Updated
  • cpu_mode - Updated. Pay attention that custom mode is not supported
  • graphics_type - Updated
  • graphics_port - Updated
  • graphics_ip - Updated
  • graphics_passwd - Updated
  • graphics_autoport - Updated
  • keymap - Updated
  • video_type - Updated
  • video_vram - Updated
  • tpm_model - Updated
  • tpm_type - Updated
  • tpm_path - Updated


Networking features in the form of support private networks concept. It supports both the virtual network switch routing types and the point to point Guest OS to Guest OS setting using UDP/Mcast/TCP tunnel interfaces. (in libvirt v1.2.20 and higher)

Public Network interfaces are currently implemented using the macvtap driver. The macvtap driver is only available with the Linux Kernel version >= 2.6.24. See the following libvirt documentation for the details of the macvtap usage.

An examples of network interface definitions:

  # Private network using virtual network switching
  config.vm.define :test_vm1 do |test_vm1| :private_network, :ip => ""

  # Private network using DHCP and a custom network
  config.vm.define :test_vm1 do |test_vm1| :private_network,
      :type => "dhcp",
      :libvirt__network_address => ''

  # Private network (as above) using a domain name
  config.vm.define :test_vm1 do |test_vm1| :private_network,
      :ip => "",
      :libvirt__domain_name => "test.local"

  # Private network. Point to Point between 2 Guest OS using a TCP tunnel
  # Guest 1
  config.vm.define :test_vm1 do |test_vm1| :private_network,
      :libvirt__tunnel_type => 'server',
      # default is if omitted
      # :libvirt__tunnel_ip => '',
      :libvirt__tunnel_port => '11111'
    # network with ipv6 support :private_network,
      :ip => "",
      :libvirt__guest_ipv6 => "yes",
      :libvirt__ipv6_address => "2001:db8:ca2:6::1",
      :libvirt__ipv6_prefix => "64"

  # Guest 2
  config.vm.define :test_vm2 do |test_vm2| :private_network,
      :libvirt__tunnel_type => 'client',
      # default is if omitted
      # :libvirt__tunnel_ip => '',
      :libvirt__tunnel_port => '11111'
    # network with ipv6 support :private_network,
      :ip => "",
      :libvirt__guest_ipv6 => "yes",
      :libvirt__ipv6_address => "2001:db8:ca2:6::1",
      :libvirt__ipv6_prefix => "64"

  # Public Network
  config.vm.define :test_vm1 do |test_vm1| :public_network,
      :dev => "virbr0",
      :mode => "bridge",
      :type => "bridge"

In example below, one network interface is configured for VM test_vm1. After you run vagrant up, VM will be accessible on IP address So if you install a web server via provisioner, you will be able to access your testing server on URL. But beware that this address is private to libvirt host only. It's not visible outside of the hypervisor box.

If network doesn't exist, provider will create it. By default created networks are NATed to outside world, so your VM will be able to connect to the internet (if hypervisor can). And by default, DHCP is offering addresses on newly created networks.

The second interface is created and bridged into the physical device eth0. This mechanism uses the macvtap Kernel driver and therefore does not require an existing bridge device. This configuration assumes that DHCP and DNS services are being provided by the public network. This public interface should be reachable by anyone with access to the public network.

Private Network Options

Note: These options are not applicable to public network interfaces.

There is a way to pass specific options for libvirt provider when using to configure new network interface. Each parameter name starts with libvirt__ string. Here is a list of those options:

  • :libvirt__network_name - Name of libvirt network to connect to. By default, network 'default' is used.
  • :libvirt__netmask - Used only together with :ip option. Default is ''.
  • :libvirt__network_address - Used only when :type is set to dhcp. Only /24 subnet is supported. Default is
  • :libvirt__host_ip - Address to use for the host (not guest). Default is first possible address (after network address).
  • :libvirt__domain_name - DNS domain of the DHCP server. Used only when creating new network.
  • :libvirt__dhcp_enabled - If DHCP will offer addresses, or not. Used only when creating new network. Default is true.
  • :libvirt__dhcp_start - First address given out via DHCP. Default is third address in range (after network name and gateway).
  • :libvirt__dhcp_stop - Last address given out via DHCP. Default is last possible address in range (before broadcast address).
  • :libvirt__dhcp_bootp_file - The file to be used for the boot image. Used only when dhcp is enabled.
  • :libvirt__dhcp_bootp_server - The server that runs the DHCP server. Used only when dhcp is enabled.By default is the same host that runs the DHCP server.
  • :libvirt__adapter - Number specifiyng sequence number of interface.
  • :libvirt__forward_mode - Specify one of veryisolated, none, nat or route options. This option is used only when creating new network. Mode none will create isolated network without NATing or routing outside. You will want to use NATed forwarding typically to reach networks outside of hypervisor. Routed forwarding is typically useful to reach other networks within hypervisor. veryisolated described here. By default, option nat is used.
  • :libvirt__forward_device - Name of interface/device, where network should be forwarded (NATed or routed). Used only when creating new network. By default, all physical interfaces are used.
  • :libvirt__tunnel_type - Set to 'udp' if using UDP unicast tunnel mode (libvirt v1.2.20 or higher). Set this to either "server" or "client" for tcp tunneling. Set this to 'mcast' if using multicast tunneling. This configuration type uses tunnels to generate point to point connections between Guests. Useful for Switch VMs like Cumulus Linux. No virtual switch setting like libvirt__network_name applies with tunnel interfaces and will be ignored if configured.
  • :libvirt__tunnel_ip - Sets the source IP of the libvirt tunnel interface. By default this is for TCP and UDP tunnels and for Multicast tunnels. It populates the address field in the <source address="XXX"> of the interface xml configuration.
  • :libvirt__tunnel_port - Sets the source port the tcp/udp/mcast tunnel with use. This port information is placed in the <source port=XXX/> section of interface xml configuration.
  • :libvirt__tunnel_local_port - Sets the local port used by the udp tunnel interface type. It populates the port field in the <local port=XXX"> section of the interface xml configuration. (This feature only works in libvirt 1.2.20 and higher)
  • :libvirt__tunnel_local_ip - Sets the local IP used by the udp tunnel interface type. It populates the ip entry of the <local address=XXX"> section of the interface xml configuration. (This feature only works in libvirt 1.2.20 and higher)
  • :libvirt__guest_ipv6 - Enable or disable guest-to-guest IPv6 communication. See here, and here for for more information. Note: takes either 'yes' or 'no' for value
  • :libvirt__ipv6_address - Define ipv6 address, require also prefix.
  • :libvirt__ipv6_prefix - Define ipv6 prefix. generate string <ip family="ipv6" address="address" prefix="prefix" >
  • :libvirt__iface_name - Define a name for the private network interface. With this feature one can simulate physical link failures
  • :mac - MAC address for the interface. Note: specify this in lowercase since Vagrant network scripts assume it will be!
  • :libvirt__mtu - MTU size for the libvirt network, if not defined, the created network will use the libvirt default (1500). VMs still need to set the MTU accordingly.
  • :model_type - parameter specifies the model of the network adapter when you create a domain value by default virtio KVM believe possible values, see the documentation for libvirt
  • :libvirt__driver_name - Define which network driver to use. More info
  • :libvirt__driver_queues - Define a number of queues to be used for network interface. Set equal to numer of vCPUs for best performance. More info
  • :autostart - Automatic startup of network by the libvirt daemon. If not specified the default is 'false'.
  • :bus - The bus of the PCI device. Both :bus and :slot have to be defined.
  • :slot - The slot of the PCI device. Both :bus and :slot have to be defined.

When the option :libvirt__dhcp_enabled is to to 'false' it shouldn't matter whether the virtual network contains a DHCP server or not and vagrant-libvirt should not fail on it. The only situation where vagrant-libvirt should fail is when DHCP is requested but isn't configured on a matching already existing virtual network.

Public Network Options

  • :dev - Physical device that the public interface should use. Default is 'eth0'.
  • :mode - The mode in which the public interface should operate in. Supported modes are available from the libvirt documentation. Default mode is 'bridge'.
  • :type - is type of interface.(<interface type="#{@type}">)
  • :mac - MAC address for the interface.
  • :network_name - Name of libvirt network to connect to.
  • :portgroup - Name of libvirt portgroup to connect to.
  • :ovs - Support to connect to an Open vSwitch bridge device. Default is 'false'.
  • :trust_guest_rx_filters - Support trustGuestRxFilters attribute. Details are listed here. Default is 'false'.

Management Network

vagrant-libvirt uses a private network to perform some management operations on VMs. All VMs will have an interface connected to this network and an IP address dynamically assigned by libvirt unless you set :mgmt_attach to 'false'. This is in addition to any networks you configure. The name and address used by this network are configurable at the provider level.

  • management_network_name - Name of libvirt network to which all VMs will be connected. If not specified the default is 'vagrant-libvirt'.
  • management_network_address - Address of network to which all VMs will be connected. Must include the address and subnet mask. If not specified the default is ''.
  • management_network_mode - Network mode for the libvirt management network. Specify one of veryisolated, none, nat or route options. Further documentated under Private Networks
  • management_network_guest_ipv6 - Enable or disable guest-to-guest IPv6 communication. See here, and here for for more information.
  • management_network_autostart - Automatic startup of mgmt network, if not specified the default is 'false'.
  • :management_network_pci_bus - The bus of the PCI device.
  • :management_network_pci_slot - The slot of the PCI device.
  • management_network_mac - MAC address of management network interface.

You may wonder how vagrant-libvirt knows the IP address a VM received. Libvirt doesn't provide a standard way to find out the IP address of a running domain. But we do know the MAC address of the virtual machine's interface on the management network. Libvirt is closely connected with dnsmasq, which acts as a DHCP server. dnsmasq writes lease information in the /var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq directory. Vagrant-libvirt looks for the MAC address in this file and extracts the corresponding IP address.

Additional Disks

You can create and attach additional disks to a VM via :file. It has a number of options:

  • path - Location of the disk image. If unspecified, a path is automtically chosen in the same storage pool as the VMs primary disk.
  • device - Name of the device node the disk image will have in the VM, e.g. vdb. If unspecified, the next available device is chosen.
  • size - Size of the disk image. If unspecified, defaults to 10G.
  • type - Type of disk image to create. Defaults to qcow2.
  • bus - Type of bus to connect device to. Defaults to virtio.
  • cache - Cache mode to use, e.g. none, writeback, writethrough (see the libvirt documentation for possible values or here for a fuller explanation). Defaults to default.
  • allow_existing - Set to true if you want to allow the VM to use a pre-existing disk. If the disk doesn't exist it will be created. Disks with this option set to true need to be removed manually.
  • shareable - Set to true if you want to simulate shared SAN storage.
  • serial - Serial number of the disk device.

The following example creates two additional disks.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :file, :size => '20G' :file, :size => '40G', :type => 'raw'

For shared SAN storage to work the following example can be used:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :file, :size => '20G', :path => 'my_shared_disk.img', :allow_existing => true, :shareable => true, :type => 'raw'

Reload behavior

On vagrant reload the following additional disk attributes are updated in defined domain:

  • bus - Updated. Uses device as a search marker. It is not required to define device, but it's recommended. If device is defined then the order of addtitional disk definition becomes irrelevant.


You can attach up to four CDROMs to a VM via :file, :device => :cdrom. Available options are:

  • path - The path to the iso to be used for the CDROM drive.
  • dev - The device to use (hda, hdb, hdc, or hdd). This will be automatically determined if unspecified.
  • bus - The bus to use for the CDROM drive. Defaults to ide

The following example creates three CDROM drives in the VM:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :file, :device => :cdrom, :path => '/path/to/iso1.iso' :file, :device => :cdrom, :path => '/path/to/iso2.iso' :file, :device => :cdrom, :path => '/path/to/iso3.iso'


You can specify multiple inputs to the VM via libvirt.input. Available options are listed below. Note that both options are required:

  • type - The type of the input
  • bus - The bus of the input
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # this is the default
    # libvirt.input :type => "mouse", :bus => "ps2"

    # very useful when having mouse issues when viewing VM via VNC
    libvirt.input :type => "tablet", :bus => "usb"

PCI device passthrough

You can specify multiple PCI devices to passthrough to the VM via libvirt.pci. Available options are listed below. Note that all options are required:

  • bus - The bus of the PCI device
  • slot - The slot of the PCI device
  • function - The function of the PCI device

You can extract that information from output of lspci command. First characters of each line are in format [<bus>]:[<slot>].[<func>]. For example:

$ lspci| grep NVIDIA
03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK110B [GeForce GTX TITAN Black] (rev a1)

In that case bus is 0x03, slot is 0x00 and function is 0x0.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.pci :bus => '0x06', :slot => '0x12', :function => '0x5'

    # Add another one if it is neccessary
    libvirt.pci :bus => '0x03', :slot => '0x00', :function => '0x0'

Note! Above options affect configuration only at domain creation. It won't change VM behaviour on vagrant reload after domain was created.

Don't forget to set kvm_hidden option to true especially if you are passthroughing NVIDIA GPUs. Otherwise GPU is visible from VM but cannot be operated.

USB Controller Configuration

The USB controller can be configured using libvirt.usb_controller, with the following options:

  • model - The USB controller device model to emulate. (mandatory)
  • ports - The number of devices that can be connected to the controller.

See the libvirt documentation for a list of valid models.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Set up a USB3 controller
    libvirt.usb_controller :model => "nec-xhci"

USB Redirector Devices

You can specify multiple redirect devices via libvirt.redirdev. There are two types, tcp and spicevmc supported, for forwarding USB-devices to the guest. Available options are listed below.

  • type - The type of the USB redirector device. (tcp or spicevmc)
  • host - The host where the device is attached to. (mandatory for type tcp)
  • port - The port where the device is listening. (mandatory for type tcp)
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # add two devices using spicevmc channel
    (1..2).each do
      libvirt.redirdev :type => "spicevmc"
    # add device, provided by localhost:4000
    libvirt.redirdev :type => "tcp", :host => "localhost", :port => "4000"

Filter for USB Redirector Devices

You can define filter for redirected devices. These filters can be positiv or negative, by setting the mandatory option allow=yes or allow=no. All available options are listed below. Note the option allow is mandatory.

  • class - The device class of the USB device. A list of device classes is available on Wikipedia.
  • vendor - The vendor of the USB device.
  • product - The product id of the USB device.
  • version - The version of the USB device. Note that this is the version of bcdDevice
  • allow - allow or disallow redirecting this device. (mandatory)

You can extract that information from output of lsusb command. Every line contains the information in format Bus [<bus>] Device [<device>]: ID [<vendor>:[<product>]. The version can be extracted from the detailed output of the device using lsusb -D /dev/usb/[<bus>]/[<device>]. For example:

# get bcdDevice from
$: lsusb
Bus 001 Device 009: ID 08e6:3437 Gemalto (was Gemplus) GemPC Twin SmartCard Reader

$: lsusb -D /dev/bus/usb/001/009 | grep bcdDevice
  bcdDevice            2.00

In this case, the USB device with class 0x0b, vendor 0x08e6, product 0x3437 and bcdDevice version 2.00 is allowed to be redirected to the guest. All other devices will be refused.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.redirdev :type => "spicevmc"
    libvirt.redirfilter :class => "0x0b" :vendor => "0x08e6" :product => "0x3437" :version => "2.00" :allow => "yes"
    libvirt.redirfilter :allow => "no"

Random number generator passthrough

You can pass through /dev/random to your VM by configuring the domain like this:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Pass through /dev/random from the host to the VM
    libvirt.random :model => 'random'

At the moment only the random backend is supported.

Watchdog device

A virtual hardware watchdog device can be added to the guest via the libvirt.watchdog element. The option model is mandatory and could have on of the following values.

  • i6300esb - the recommended device, emulating a PCI Intel 6300ESB
  • 'ib700` - emulating an ISA iBase IB700
  • diag288 - emulating an S390 DIAG288 device

The optional action attribute describes what action to take when the watchdog expires. Valid values are specific to the underlying hypervisor. The default behavior is reset.

  • reset - default, forcefully reset the guest
  • shutdown - gracefully shutdown the guest (not recommended)
  • poweroff - forcefully power off the guest
  • pause - pause the guest
  • none - do nothing
  • dump - automatically dump the guest
  • inject-nmi - inject a non-maskable interrupt into the guest
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Add libvirt watchdog device model i6300esb
    libvirt.watchdog :model => 'i6300esb', :action => 'reset'

Smartcard device

A virtual smartcard device can be supplied to the guest via the libvirt.smartcard element. The option mode is mandatory and currently only value passthrough is supported. The value spicevmc for option type is default value and can be supressed. On using type = tcp, the options source_mode, source_host and source_service are mandatory.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Add smartcard device with type 'spicevmc'
    libvirt.smartcard :mode => 'passthrough', :type => 'spicevmc'
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Add smartcard device with type 'tcp'
    domain.smartcard :mode => 'passthrough', :type => 'tcp', :source_mode => 'bind', :source_host => '', :source_service => '2001'

Hypervisor Features

Hypervisor features can be specified via libvirt.features as a list. The default options that are enabled are acpi, apic and pae. If you define libvirt.features you overwrite the defaults, so keep that in mind.

An example:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Specify the default hypervisor features
    libvirt.features = ['acpi', 'apic', 'pae' ]

A different example for ARM boards:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Specify the default hypervisor features
    libvirt.features = ["apic", "gic version='2'" ]

You can also specify a special set of features that help improve the behavior of guests running Microsoft Windows.

You can specify HyperV features via libvirt.hyperv_feature. Available options are listed below. Note that both options are required:

  • name - The name of the feature Hypervisor feature (see libvirt doc)
  • state - The state for this feature which can be either on or off.
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Relax constraints on timers
    libvirt.hyperv_feature :name => 'relaxed', :state => 'on'
    # Enable virtual APIC
    libvirt.hyperv_feature :name => 'vapic', :state => 'on'

CPU features

You can specify CPU feature policies via libvirt.cpu_feature. Available options are listed below. Note that both options are required:

  • name - The name of the feature for the chosen CPU (see libvirts cpu_map.xml)
  • policy - The policy for this feature (one of force, require, optional, disable and forbid - see libvirt documentation)
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # The feature will not be supported by virtual CPU.
    libvirt.cpu_feature :name => 'hypervisor', :policy => 'disable'
    # Guest creation will fail unless the feature is supported by host CPU.
    libvirt.cpu_feature :name => 'vmx', :policy => 'require'
    # The virtual CPU will claim the feature is supported regardless of it being supported by host CPU.
    libvirt.cpu_feature :name => 'pdpe1gb', :policy => 'force'

Memory Backing

You can specify memoryBacking options via libvirt.memorybacking. Available options are shown below. Full documentation is available at the libvirt memoryBacking section.

NOTE: The hugepages <page> element is not yet supported

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.memorybacking :hugepages
    libvirt.memorybacking :nosharepages
    libvirt.memorybacking :locked
    libvirt.memorybacking :source, :type => 'file'
    libvirt.memorybacking :access, :mode => 'shared'
    libvirt.memorybacking :allocation, :mode => 'immediate'

USB device passthrough

You can specify multiple USB devices to passthrough to the VM via libvirt.usb. The device can be specified by the following options:

  • bus - The USB bus ID, e.g. "1"
  • device - The USB device ID, e.g. "2"
  • vendor - The USB devices vendor ID (VID), e.g. "0x1234"
  • product - The USB devices product ID (PID), e.g. "0xabcd"

At least one of these has to be specified, and bus and device may only be used together.

The example values above match the device from the following output of lsusb:

Bus 001 Device 002: ID 1234:abcd Example device

Additionally, the following options can be used:

  • startupPolicy - Is passed through to libvirt and controls if the device has to exist. libvirt currently allows the following values: "mandatory", "requisite", "optional".

No box and PXE boot

There is support for PXE booting VMs with no disks as well as PXE booting VMs with blank disks. There are some limitations:

  • Requires Vagrant 1.6.0 or newer
  • No provisioning scripts are ran
  • No network configuration is being applied to the VM
  • No SSH connection can be made
  • vagrant halt will only work cleanly if the VM handles ACPI shutdown signals

In short, VMs without a box can be created, halted and destroyed but all other functionality cannot be used.

An example for a PXE booted VM with no disks whatsoever:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define :pxeclient do |pxeclient|
    pxeclient.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain|
      domain.boot 'network'

And an example for a PXE booted VM with no box but a blank disk which will boot from this HD if the NICs fail to PXE boot:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define :pxeclient do |pxeclient|
    pxeclient.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain| :file, :size => '100G', :type => 'qcow2'
      domain.boot 'network'
      domain.boot 'hd'

Example for vm with 2 networks and only 1 is bootable and has dhcp server in this subnet, for example foreman with dhcp server Name of network "foreman_managed" is key for define boot order

    config.vm.define :pxeclient do |pxeclient| :private_network,ip: '',
            libvirt__network_name: "foreman_managed",
            libvirt__dhcp_enabled: false,
            libvirt__host_ip: ''

       pxeclient.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain|
          domain.memory = 1000
          boot_network = {'network' => 'foreman_managed'}
 :file, :size => '100G', :type => 'qcow2'
          domain.boot boot_network
          domain.boot 'hd'

SSH Access To VM

vagrant-libvirt supports vagrant's standard ssh settings.

Forwarded Ports

vagrant-libvirt supports Forwarded Ports via ssh port forwarding. Please note that due to a well known limitation only the TCP protocol is supported. For each forwarded_port directive you specify in your Vagrantfile, vagrant-libvirt will maintain an active ssh process for the lifetime of the VM. If your VM should happen to be rebooted, the SSH session will need to be restablished by halting the VM and bringing it back up.

vagrant-libvirt supports an additional forwarded_port option gateway_ports which defaults to false, but can be set to true if you want the forwarded port to be accessible from outside the Vagrant host. In this case you should also set the host_ip option to '*' since it defaults to 'localhost'.

You can also provide a custom adapter to forward from by 'adapter' option. Default is eth0.

Internally Accessible Port Forward :forwarded_port, guest: 80, host: 2000

Externally Accessible Port Forward :forwarded_port, guest: 80, host: 2000, host_ip: ""

Synced Folders

Vagrant automatically syncs the project folder on the host to /vagrant in the guest. You can also configure additional synced folders.

vagrant-libvirt supports bidirectional synced folders via NFS or VirtFS (9p or Plan 9) and unidirectional via rsync. The default is NFS. Difference between NFS and 9p is explained here.

You can change the synced folder type for /vagrant by explicity configuring it an setting the type, e.g.

config.vm.synced_folder './', '/vagrant', type: 'rsync'


config.vm.synced_folder './', '/vagrant', type: '9p', disabled: false, accessmode: "squash", owner: "1000"


config.vm.synced_folder './', '/vagrant', type: '9p', disabled: false, accessmode: "mapped", mount: false

For 9p shares, a mount: false option allows to define synced folders without mounting them at boot.

Further documentation on using 9p can be found in kernel docs and in QEMU wiki. Please do note that 9p depends on support in the guest and not all distros come with the 9p module by default.

SECURITY NOTE: for remote libvirt, nfs synced folders requires a bridged public network interface and you must connect to libvirt via ssh.

QEMU Session Support

vagrant-libvirt supports using the QEMU session connection to maintain Vagrant VMs. As the session connection does not have root access to the system features which require root will not work. Access to networks created by the system QEMU connection can be granted by using the QEMU bridge helper. The bridge helper is enabled by default on some distros but may need to be enabled/installed on others.

An example configuration of a machine using the QEMU session connection:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    # Use QEMU session instead of system connection
    libvirt.qemu_use_session = true
    # URI of QEMU session connection, default is as below
    libvirt.uri = 'qemu:///session'
    # URI of QEMU system connection, use to obtain IP address for management
    libvirt.system_uri = 'qemu:///system'
    # Path to store libvirt images for the virtual machine, default is as ~/.local/share/libvirt/images
    libvirt.storage_pool_path = '/home/user/.local/share/libvirt/images'
    # Management network device
    libvirt.management_network_device = 'virbr0'

  # Public network configuration using existing network device
  # Note: Private networks do not work with QEMU session enabled as root access is required to create new network devices :public_network, :dev => "virbr1",
      :mode => "bridge",
      :type => "bridge"

Customized Graphics

vagrant-libvirt supports customizing the display and video settings of the managed guest. This is probably most useful for VNC-type displays with multiple guests. It lets you specify the exact port for each guest to use deterministically.

Here is an example of using custom display options:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.graphics_port = 5901
    libvirt.graphics_ip = ''
    libvirt.video_type = 'qxl'

TPM Devices

Modern versions of Libvirt support connecting to TPM devices on the host system. This allows you to enable Trusted Boot Extensions, among other features, on your guest VMs.

In general, you will only need to modify the tpm_path variable in your guest configuration. However, advanced usage, such as the application of a Software TPM, may require modifying the tpm_model and tpm_type variables.

The TPM options will only be used if you specify a TPM path. Declarations of any TPM options without specifying a path will result in those options being ignored.

Here is an example of using the TPM options:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.tpm_model = 'tpm-tis'
    libvirt.tpm_type = 'passthrough'
    libvirt.tpm_path = '/dev/tpm0'

Libvirt communication channels

For certain functionality to be available within a guest, a private communication channel must be established with the host. Two notable examples of this are the qemu guest agent, and the Spice/QXL graphics type.

Below is a simple example which exposes a virtio serial channel to the guest. Note: in a multi-VM environment, the channel would be created for all VMs.

vagrant.configure(2) do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :type => 'unix', :target_name => 'org.qemu.guest_agent.0', :target_type => 'virtio'

Below is the syntax for creating a spicevmc channel for use by a qxl graphics card.

vagrant.configure(2) do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :type => 'spicevmc', :target_name => 'com.redhat.spice.0', :target_type => 'virtio'

These settings can be specified on a per-VM basis, however the per-guest settings will OVERRIDE any global 'config' setting. In the following example, we create 3 VM with the following configuration:

  • master: No channel settings specified, so we default to the provider setting of a single virtio guest agent channel.
  • node1: Override the channel setting, setting both the guest agent channel, and a spicevmc channel
  • node2: Override the channel setting, setting both the guest agent channel, and a 'guestfwd' channel. TCP traffic sent by the guest to the given IP address and port is forwarded to the host socket /tmp/foo. Note: this device must be unique for each VM.

For example:

Vagrant.configure(2) do |config| = "fedora/24-cloud-base"
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt| :type => 'unix', :target_name => 'org.qemu.guest_agent.0', :target_type => 'virtio'

  config.vm.define "master" do |master|
    master.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain|
        domain.memory = 1024
  config.vm.define "node1" do |node1|
    node1.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain| :type => 'unix', :target_name => 'org.qemu.guest_agent.0', :target_type => 'virtio' :type => 'spicevmc', :target_name => 'com.redhat.spice.0', :target_type => 'virtio'
  config.vm.define "node2" do |node2|
    node2.vm.provider :libvirt do |domain| :type => 'unix', :target_name => 'org.qemu.guest_agent.0', :target_type => 'virtio' :type => 'unix', :target_type => 'guestfwd', :target_address => '', :target_port => '4242',
                     :source_path => '/tmp/foo'

Custom command line arguments

You can also specify multiple qemuargs arguments for qemu-system

  • value - Value
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
    libvirt.qemuargs :value => "-device"
    libvirt.qemuargs :value => "intel-iommu"

Box Format

You can view an example box in the example_box/directory. That directory also contains instructions on how to build a box.

The box is a tarball containing:

  • qcow2 image file named box.img
  • metadata.json file describing box image (provider, virtual_size, format)
  • Vagrantfile that does default settings for the provider-specific configuration for this provider

Create Box

To create a vagrant-libvirt box from a qcow2 image, run (located in the tools directory):

$ ubuntu14.qcow2

You can also create a box by using Packer. Packer templates for use with vagrant-libvirt are available at After cloning that project you can build a vagrant-libvirt box by running:

$ cd packer-qemu-templates
$ packer build ubuntu-14.04-server-amd64-vagrant.json


To work on the vagrant-libvirt plugin, clone this repository out, and use Bundler to get the dependencies:

$ git clone
$ cd vagrant-libvirt
$ bundle install

Once you have the dependencies, verify the unit tests pass with rspec:

$ bundle exec rspec spec/

If those pass, you're ready to start developing the plugin. You can test the plugin without installing it into your Vagrant environment by just creating a Vagrantfile in the top level of this directory (it is gitignored) that uses it. Don't forget to add following line at the beginning of your Vagrantfile while in development mode:

Vagrant.require_plugin "vagrant-libvirt"

Now you can use bundler to execute Vagrant:

$ bundle exec vagrant up --provider=libvirt

IMPORTANT NOTE: bundle is crucial. You need to use bundled Vagrant.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request