Choosing a hypervisor

A hypervisor provides software to manage virtual machine access to the underlying hardware. The hypervisor creates, manages, and monitors virtual machines. OpenStack Compute (nova) supports many hypervisors to various degrees, including:

An important factor in your choice of hypervisor is your current organization’s hypervisor usage or experience. Also important is the hypervisor’s feature parity, documentation, and the level of community experience.

As per the recent OpenStack user survey, KVM is the most widely adopted hypervisor in the OpenStack community. Besides KVM, there are many deployments that run other hypervisors such as LXC, VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V. However, these hypervisors are either less used, are niche hypervisors, or have limited functionality compared to more commonly used hypervisors.


It is also possible to run multiple hypervisors in a single deployment using host aggregates or cells. However, an individual compute node can run only a single hypervisor at a time.

For more information about feature support for hypervisors as well as ironic and Virtuozzo (formerly Parallels), see Hypervisor Support Matrix and Hypervisors in the Configuration Reference.