Installing Ubuntu in KVM using only a text console

I recently updated some CentOS machines to version 5.4, which finally comes with KVM in addition to Xen. I wanted to boot up a few Ubuntu VMs using this new tool. There are a handful of resources out there that show how to use virt-install to create a Ubuntu guest on a KVM machine, but they all seem to assume you want to run a VNC session to use a graphical installer.

If you want to fully automate the installation process, the first thing you should do is switch to a text-based console. Here’s how to do it (at least on CentOS 5.4, KVM, using virt-install):

virt-install --connect qemu:///system --name vm01 --ram 512 --vcpus=2 --disk path=/vm/vm01/vm01.qcow2,size=12 --location --os-variant ubuntuhardy --accelerate --network bridge:br0 --nographics --extra-args console=ttyS0

Some notes about my setup:

  • I already set up bridged networking – this varies from distribution to distribution, but should be something similar.
  • I’m specifically pulling Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) installer images from a nearby mirror. You’ll likely want to change the URL to a mirror close to you, and possibly change it to a different release of Ubuntu.
  • I’ve setup the path /vm/vm_name/vm_name.qcow2 as the location for my VM image on disk, you may want to change this to use something like LVM or to match your own preferred path of choice.

Leave a comment