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Compute Drivers

OpenStack Compute (Nova) has an abstraction layer for compute drivers. This is what allows you to choose which hypervisor(s) to use for your Nova deployment. The reality is that the support of each of the options is not equal. They are not tested the same amount. They also do not all support the same features. The purpose of this page is to describe the current support state of each compute driver in terms of testing and functionality.

Driver Testing Status

Group A

These drivers are fully supported. Test coverage includes:

  • unit tests that gate commits
  • functional testing that gate commits

Drivers in this group include:

  • libvirt (qemu/KVM on x86)

Group B

These drivers are in a bit of a middle ground. Test coverage includes:

  • unit tests that gate commits
  • functional testing providing by an external system that does not gate commits, but advises patch authors and reviewers of results in gerrit (the code review system).

Drivers in this group include:

Group C

NOTE: Drivers in Group C will be deprecated by the Icehouse release. See HypervisorSupportMatrix/DeprecationPlan for details.

These drivers have minimal testing and may or may not work at any given time. Use them at your own risk. Test coverage includes:

  • (maybe) unit tests that gate commits
  • no public functional testing

Drivers in this group include.

  • baremetal
  • docker
  • LXC via libvirt

Hypervisor feature support matrix

This is an attempt to help new users decide on a hypervisor based on features that can be controlled through compute.

Historically, most OpenStack development is done with the KVM hypervisor with which you are more likely to find community support for issues . All features that are currently supported in KVM are also supported in QEMU.

Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi are gaining much support with Hyper-V now being available with a free license. ESXi can also be used with a free license however API support is limited as READ ONLY without vCenter and an Enterprise license.

As far as the Xen hypervisor is concerned, it is worth noting the following definitions:

  • XenServer: Open Source but commercially supported product from Citrix (Free edition also available)
  • Xen Cloud Platform (XCP): Open-source equivalent of XenServer (and the development project for the toolstack). Everything said about XenServer below applies equally to XCP.
  • XenAPI: The management API exposed by XenServer and XCP.
  • XAPI: The primary daemon on XenServer and Xen Cloud Platform; the one that exposes the XenAPI.
  • Xen via Libvirt: Xen hypervisor management using the libvirt Xen driver.

Nova has support for XenServer and XCP through the XenAPI virt layer. Note that this does not imply support for other Xen-based platforms such as those shipped with RHEL 6 or SUSE, which is provided via the libvirt layer (i.e. Xen via libvirt).

As far as the Baremetal hypervisor is concerned, it is worth noting that Ironic will deprecate the baremetal driver upon its graduation. New features are being added to Ironic.

Please help keep this list up-to-date.

Legend: ✔ indicates support, ✗ indicates the feature is not supported, * indicates there is a caveat to the functionality (caveats need to be documented!), and a blank cell generally indicates more testing is needed to make a judgment.


WARNING This table is no longer considered to be the canonical source of information about driver support status. For Kilo releases onwards, please consult the new Nova Hypervisor Support Matrix. To reduce confusion, the Juno support matrix is at HypervisorSupportMatrix/Juno.

Description of features

Auto configure disk

Automatically reconfigure the size of the partition to match the size of the flavor's root drive before booting.

nova diagnostics

The `nova diagnostics` command will provide some information about resource use associated with an instance. See the OpenStack Cloud Administrator Guide for more details.

Set Admin Pass

This feature is the use of a guest agent to change the administrative (root) password on an instance.

Known bugs, by hypervisor