Difference Between KVM Vs OpenVZ

Virtualization offers a wide array of possibilities to users. Nearly two decades ago when desktop computers made their way into people’s homes, the hard drive was virtually divided into two segments – C drive and D drive. While there was a single hard disk, it gave the users a feeling of having two smaller disks with several independent features. In recent years, virtualization has allowed technology experts to offer virtual servers for web hosting and other computing needs. In this article, we will talk about two such types of virtualization – KVM and OpenVZ and look at the differences between them.

What are KVM and OpenVZ virtualizations?

KVM or Kernel-based Virtual Machine is a virtualization technology for the Linux kernel. It converts the kernel into a hypervisor and allows the creation of virtual servers. While it operates only with the Linux OS, it supports multiple operating systems as guests.

OpenVZ, on the other hand, is an operating system-level technology based on Linux. This means that all containers on the machine share the same underlying operating system while working in an isolated manner.

Differences between KVM and OpenVZ

There are many similarities, as well as, differences between these two technologies:

KVM is a highly versatile technology and allows the hosting of Windows, Linux, and other modified operating systems as guests. On the other hand, OpenVZ can only host Linux operating systems.

Further, you can set minimum and maximum values for your resources with KVM. This means that you will use only those resources that your applications need. KVM is true hardware virtualization and hence has lower demands from the hypervisor. Further, the virtual servers created using KVM have dedicated resources and an isolated hosting environment with users have their own kernels.

OpenVZ, on the other hand, allows complete resource sharing. It uses a shared kernel on top of a Linux OS. This kernel is shared by all the users over a specified node on the virtual private server. Therefore, the users cannot customize the kernel. This is good for websites running small applications or software and not needing customized hosting environments. However, if your website is resource-intensive, then you will need the performance offered by KVM.

OpenVZ offers scalable and affordable virtual servers while KVM with virtualized hardware that is dedicated to your account, and resources available for reliability and customization, are relatively costlier. While OpenVZ is a good option for smaller websites or those with lighter applications or software, KVM is for the more serious and resource-intensive websites like gaming servers, e-commerce websites, etc.


Both KVM and OpenVZ have their own share of advantages and disadvantages. Before you decide to opt for one, ensure that you spend some time assessing the requirements of your website and the future plans. This will give you a good insight into the kind of virtualization that you should opt for in your VPS Hosting plan. Once you are clear about this, spend some time and take all aspects into consideration before buying a VPS service. Good Luck!

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