USB on Virt. Boxes

Dan Egli ddavidegli at
Fri Oct 11 03:57:49 MDT 2013

On October 9, 2013, Michael Torrie Write:

> I brought in a slightly newer version of virt-manager and

> python-virtinst (from source) on my RHEL/CentOS 6 server. And USB 2.0

> devices work just fine even with this conservative version of qemu-kvm

> and libvirt. The virt-manager gui lets you switch the USB bus version

> to 2.0, and then you can add and remove USB devices from the GUI. When

> you add a device, it gets written to the VM's xml file, so it will be

> persistent.

> So as long as you have virt-manager >= 0.9.1, you have easy usb

> 2.0 support in KVM.

Sounds good. I'll have to look into that. Of course, it's actually going to
be a few months before I actually have a chance to sit down and start on
this project (just got handed a ton of stuff to deal with), but I'll make
note of this and can look into it as soon as I have time to actually work
on my own projects. :)

> Anyway give kvm and virtualbox both a try. For my purposes, where I

> want my vms to be long-running, KVM works well. When the host shuts

> down, it automatically suspends and saves the guests. And on boot, it

> brings up all my vms automatically (you can mark which ones to start

> automatically). And the virt-manager GUI, while not quite as slick as

> VirtualBox or VMWare, works quite well. Just don't expect graphics

> performance to be anywhere as good as VirtualBox, because KVM isn't so

> much a desktop app solution.

That's okay. There won't be any graphics on the guest machines. The guests
will all be Linux with no X installed. Just a bare bones Linux install that
has barely enough installed to boot on it's own and run the program(s) that
guest is supposed to run. Of course the HOST will have X, but again, just a
basic X setup. Probably just a bare-bones KDE setup or something (I never
did develop a taste for Gnome). So I have no worry about graphics. Now, I
can likely use VirtualBox on my workstation for running those few windows
programs that don't like Wine (primarily older/smaller non-DirectX games).
But that's the only place where I can see much of a need for the graphical
stuff in my personal setups. :)

--- Dan

On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:27 PM, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:

> On 10/09/2013 02:38 AM, Dan Egli wrote:
> > Heh, yea, "from the host" is the point I meant. When I setup these
> > machines, I'd like each virtual machine to have a unique MAC. My
> experience
> > of VMware server from about three years ago showed that the GUEST eth0
> had
> > the HOST eth0's MAC address unless specifically overridden. That's what I
> > was asking about. I was wondering if a new machine automatically
> generated
> > a new MAC or if it had to be done (or COULD be done) separately.
> They all generate the MAC address, but you can sure change it.
> Additionally, with VirtualBox or KVM, you could generate the xml files
> that define the virtual machine yourself, and use any MAC address you want.
> > Well, USB is very important since much of the work that these boxes will
> be
> > doing will involve heavy IO between the system and a USB device. I can't
> be
> > sure since I haven't actually seen the device yet, but I imagine it's
> > probably USB 2.0, although 3.0 is a distinct possibility. How does KVM
> > handle USB 3.0 (or the new 3.1 for that matter)?
> >
> > Yea, sounds like KVM is good, except for the USB issue above. Any
> > workarounds for USB 2.0 with KVM? If not, what would be your next
> > recommendation?
> So apparently qemu-kvm (the actual virtual machine) has supported
> pass-through USB 2.0 for some time.  It's just that libvirt and
> virt-manager (the GUI) lacked support.  As of virt-manager 0.9.1, this
> is now present in the GUI.
> Sadly Red Hat is still on 0.9.0 on RHEL 6, which is what I'm using.  But
> if you were using something not quite so conservative, I bet it's all
> there.  I might just try building a more recent version of virt-manager
> to see if it's working (I also have a need for USB 2.0 support).
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