Can I Use Multiple Virtualization Technologies Simultaneously under Linux?

Posted on in Categories , , , , , , , , , last updated January 16, 2009

Q. I was reading this article and wanted to try out KVM, XEN, VMWare and VirtualBox simultaneously on my desktop system with 2GB RAM? Why I’m not able to use run multiple virtualization technologies simultaneously under Ubuntu Linux? Can a powerful Linux server run multiple virtualization technologies simultaneously?

A. Short answer – No.

Each virtualization software like XEN or KVM make changes to kernel so it is not possible to use them simultaneously.

Also, virtualization software needs full control over certain hardware resources such as CPU, memory, GPU and other aspects. Two software cannot control and share resources using virtualization technology.

You may experience serious system corruption or reboots when you try to access or share same hardware using various virtualization technologies. My recommendation only install and use one virtualization technology at a time.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

6 comment

  1. the answer to multi desktop front ends is simple. Do multi boot. Granted one must have a reasonable amount of disk space, however, all installs will use the same swap drive. So all you really need is 15-20GB per partition…. It is not perfect but it is close to simultaneous..

  2. I have run VirtualBox on a Linux host system multiple guest systems at once – Windows XP, Linux distro and Solaris. It didn’t go into any sort of corruption.

  3. hello vivek,

    I have tried virtualbox on windows xp with RHEL5 as a guest OS. I had given 25GB HDD space But it stopped and is showing that the HDD space is full after completing 75-80% installlation of RHEL5. Please solve. Thanks in advance.

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