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LXC vs libvirt: What are the differences?


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Key Differences between LXC and libvirt

  1. LXC: LXC (Linux Containers) is an operating-system-level virtualization method that allows multiple isolated Linux systems (containers) to run on a single host. It uses the cgroup and namespace features of the Linux kernel to provide resource isolation and process isolation for the containers. Libvirt: Libvirt, on the other hand, is a toolkit that provides a common API interface for managing various virtualization technologies, including LXC. It abstracts the differences between different virtualization technologies and provides a unified management interface.

  2. LXC: LXC primarily focuses on lightweight container-based virtualization and provides a simple and efficient way to create and manage Linux containers. It allows users to create and manage containers directly on the host system. Libvirt: On the other hand, libvirt provides a more feature-rich management framework for virtualization technologies, including not only LXC but also other options like QEMU, KVM, and Xen. It provides a more comprehensive set of tools and features for managing virtualization environments.

  3. LXC: LXC is more suitable for lightweight container-based virtualization use cases, where the emphasis is on running multiple lightweight, isolated Linux systems on a single host. It provides a "bare-metal" experience, where users have direct control over the host system and can fine-tune the container environments according to their needs. Libvirt: In contrast, libvirt is more suitable for managing complex virtualization environments that involve not only containers but also virtual machines and other virtualization technologies. It provides a higher level of abstraction and management capabilities for more diverse and complex virtualization scenarios.

  4. LXC: LXC allows users to have fine-grained control over various aspects of containers, such as network configuration, resource allocation, and security settings. It provides a low-level interface that allows users to directly manipulate container configurations and settings. Libvirt: On the other hand, libvirt provides a higher-level interface that abstracts the underlying details of container management. It provides a set of APIs and tools that simplify the management of containers and virtualization environments without requiring users to have detailed knowledge of the underlying technologies.

  5. LXC: LXC is primarily a command-line tool that is operated through the command line interface (CLI). It provides a set of CLI commands that allow users to create, start, stop, and manage containers. Libvirt: In contrast, libvirt provides a more flexible and extensible management framework that can be operated using various tools and interfaces, including a CLI, graphical user interface (GUI), and various programming language bindings. It provides a more user-friendly and versatile environment for managing virtualization technologies.

  6. LXC: LXC has a more lightweight and minimalistic design compared to libvirt. It is more focused on providing a simple and efficient container-based virtualization solution without unnecessary overhead. Libvirt: In contrast, libvirt has a more comprehensive and modular design that supports various virtualization technologies and provides a wide range of management features. It is designed to be extensible and flexible, allowing users to customize and adapt it to their specific needs.

In Summary, LXC is a lightweight container-based virtualization method that provides fine-grained control and a "bare-metal" experience, while libvirt is a more comprehensive management framework for various virtualization technologies, including LXC, providing a higher level of abstraction and management capabilities.

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Pros of libvirt
Pros of LXC
  • 2
    Low overhead
  • 2
  • 2
    Built into most Linux distros
  • 2
  • 2
    Native KVM and QEMU
  • 2
    Native hypervisor
  • 2
    Can fully manage via CLI or VirtManager
  • 2
    VirtIO direct hardware access
  • 1
    VirtIO direct hardware support
  • 5
    Easy to use
  • 4
  • 3
    Simple and powerful
  • 3
    Good security
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1

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What is libvirt?

It is an open-source API, daemon and management tool for managing platform virtualization. It can be used to manage KVM, Xen, VMware ESXi, QEMU and other virtualization technologies.

What is LXC?

LXC is a userspace interface for the Linux kernel containment features. Through a powerful API and simple tools, it lets Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers.

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What companies use libvirt?
What companies use LXC?
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What are some alternatives to libvirt and LXC?
KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V).
VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.
When used as a machine emulator, it can run OSes and programs made for one machine (e.g. an ARM board) on a different machine (e.g. your own PC). By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance. When used as a virtualizer, it achieves near native performance by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU. it supports virtualization when executing under the Xen hypervisor or using the KVM kernel module in Linux. When using KVM, it can virtualize x86, server and embedded PowerPC, 64-bit POWER, S390, 32-bit and 64-bit ARM, and MIPS guests.
OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.
The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere
See all alternatives