OpenVZ Virtualization Guide [Use Cases, Advantages, and How it Works]

Businesses and organizations are under constant pressure to adapt, scale, and innovate in the quick-changing digital ecosystem. The most effective use of computing resources is essential to meeting these demands. A dynamic solution that enables businesses to maximize agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness in their IT infrastructure is offered by OpenVZ virtualization, an open-source operating system-level virtualization technology.

OpenVZ functions at the operating system level, in contrast to conventional virtualization methods, and provides a simple and effective framework for building and maintaining several virtual environments known as containers. These containers allow each to independently run its own apps and services securely while sharing the same host kernel.

With OpenVZ’s capacity to quickly provision and deploy containers, which enables quick application development and deployment cycles, the agility element comes into play. Developers can customize containerized environments to run particular programs, enabling effective testing, debugging, and scaling. With OpenVZ, businesses can speed up product releases, adapt swiftly to market requests, and streamline development.

This post will explore the capabilities, advantages, and practical use cases of OpenVZ virtualization in more detail. We’ll look at how OpenVZ improves agility and scalability in a variety of contexts, including cloud computing, software development, and web hosting. Organizations may unleash new levels of efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness by utilizing the power of OpenVZ, allowing them to stay ahead in today’s competitive business environment.

What is OpenVZ?

A single physical server may host numerous discrete virtual environments, referred to as containers, due to the open-source virtualization technology known as OpenVZ. It offers a compact and effective virtualization solution by functioning at the operating system (OS) level rather than depending on hardware-level virtualization.

In order to achieve its virtualization capabilities, OpenVZ makes use of the Linux kernel’s features, particularly the idea of Linux Containers (LXC). For each container, OpenVZ does not require a separate installation of an operating system, in contrast to full virtualization technologies like VMware or Xen. Instead, it allows for the best resource and performance utilization by sharing the host server’s kernel with the containers.

OpenVZ’s main objective is to offer a reasonably priced and effective solution for workload segregation, resource optimization, and server consolidation. Organizations can lower hardware costs, energy usage, and total data center footprint by merging numerous virtual environments onto a single physical server.

Since each OpenVZ container has its separate file system, processes, and network stack, so it operates like a standalone server. This isolation makes sure that programs and services operating inside a container don’t affect or interfere with programs or services running inside other containers on the same server. Because any problems or compromises within a single container are contained within that particular environment, it adds an additional degree of security and stability.

OpenVZ has strong resource management features that let administrators assign different containers with different amounts of CPU, memory, disc space, and network bandwidth. Due to the efficient use of server resources made possible by this fine-grained control, key applications are given the resources they require, resource contention is avoided, and performance is optimized.

It is widely used across numerous sectors and applications. It is especially well-liked in the web hosting industry since it enables hosting companies to deliver affordable and scalable solutions by hosting numerous websites or applications on a single server. OpenVZ is especially useful in cloud computing environments because it enables cloud providers to effectively distribute resources among virtual machines and offer scalable services to their clients.

Use Cases of OpenVZ

  • Web hosting: OpenVZ is frequently utilized to provide affordable hosting solutions in the web hosting sector. It enables hosting companies to run several websites or programs on a single server, cutting down on hardware and maintenance costs.
  • Server consolidation: OpenVZ effectively supports server consolidation by hosting several containers on a single physical server. Through consolidation, hardware and energy costs are decreased, and resource usage is improved.
  • Environments for application development and testing: OpenVZ gives programmers the opportunity to quickly construct isolating environments for program development, testing, and debugging. It streamlines the development cycle by enabling quick provisioning and deployment of containers.
  • Cloud computing: OpenVZ is helpful in these situations because it enables cloud instance providers to efficiently distribute resources to virtual machines. Scalability, agility, and cost reduction are made possible by providing cloud-based services.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): By offering segregated containers for each client or tenant, OpenVZ makes it easier to implement SaaS applications. It guarantees security, resource isolation, and effective server resource management.
  • High-performance computing (HPC) systems: Several users or programs need access to computing resources can be employed with OpenVZ. It offers effective resource allocation and isolation to ensure the best performance for each user or application.
  • Research and education: It is useful in establishing remote settings for experimentation and learning in research and educational institutions. It enables researchers and students to experiment with various software setups and apps without affecting the host system.
  • Backup and recovery in the event of a disaster: OpenVZ containers may be simply backed up and restored, offering a dependable solution. Containers can be easily restored to a previous state in the case of a system crash or data loss, minimizing downtime.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) deployments: OpenVZ may be used in IoT deployments where it is necessary to manage and isolate a number of IoT devices. It gives users a safe and flexible environment in which to execute IoT software and services.
  • Management of the software development lifecycle: OpenVZ makes it easier to manage the process effectively. For various stages of development, including development, testing, staging, and production, it lets developers to establish containerized environments.

Please be aware that these are only a few instances of how OpenVZ might be used; additional situations may call for the technology to be used, based on the particular needs and goals of the project or organization.

OpenVZ vs. KVM Virtualization

Two well-liked virtualization technologies with diverse uses and unique features are OpenVZ and KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). A comprehensive examination of OpenVZ versus KVM virtualization can be found here:

Use Cases

OpenVZ: It is highly suited for applications where maximizing resource utilization and achieving high container density are crucial, such as web hosting, development and testing environments, and small-scale virtualization deployments.

KVM: KVM is frequently used in situations where robust isolation, security, and support for many operating systems are necessary. Large-scale virtualization deployments, cloud infrastructure, and enterprise data centers all use it extensively.

Management and Administration

OpenVZ: OpenVZ’s lightweight design makes management and administration easier with OpenVZ. It offers simple container construction, resource management, and monitoring features.

KVM: Due to its full virtualization capabilities, KVM offers more complicated management. Although it includes sophisticated features like live migration, snapshotting, and virtual disc management, these capabilities might need additional setup and configuration.

Support for the following operating systems

OpenVZ demands that the host and containers run the same kernel. Due to this restriction, only Linux-based containers may be used.

KVM offers compatibility for a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and other well-known OS versions. This adaptability enables the deployment of various workloads and application compatibility.

Live Migration

OpenVZ: Live migration, or the capacity to relocate a running container from one physical host to another without affecting its function, is not natively supported by OpenVZ. Live migration is helpful in situations including load balancing, hardware upkeep, and catastrophe recovery.

KVM allows live migration, making it possible to relocate virtual machines (VMs) seamlessly and quickly between physical hosts. In virtualized systems, this capability improves workload management, high availability, and flexibility.

Hardware Support

OpenVZ is closely connected with the underlying hardware and depends on the host kernel. It requires host servers and CPUs that support container-based virtualization yet still provide good performance.

KVM: To achieve effective virtualization, KVM makes use of hardware-assisted virtualization extensions like Intel VT or AMD-V. It is more adaptable in terms of hardware support because it is compatible with a variety of hardware platforms.

Ecosystem and Community

OpenVZ: OpenVZ has a committed user base and community that actively participates in its growth and upkeep. Support is offered through a number of resources, forums, and documentation.

KVM: As a component of the Linux kernel, KVM gains from the wider Linux ecosystem. It has a devoted following, a wealth of documentation, and the backing of influential business figures. KVM has a developed ecosystem and is frequently utilized.

Scalability and overhead

OpenVZ has low overhead thanks to its lightweight design and shared kernel architecture. It is useful for scaling container-based applications since it can effectively manage a lot of containers on a single physical host.

KVM adds more overhead as a result of full virtualization. When running a lot of VMs on a single host, the need for separate instances of operating systems for each VM results in significantly less scalability than OpenVZ.

Licensing and Openness

OpenVZ is a technology that is licensed and open-source since it is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Transparency and the option to edit and personalize the code to suit particular needs are offered.

KVM: Released under the GPL, KVM is also open-source. The collaborative efforts of the Linux community benefit it by ensuring ongoing development, security updates, and compatibility with the Linux environment.

Is OpenVZ a Container?

Yes, OpenVZ uses a virtualization solution based on containers. It enables the construction and administration of containers, which are compact, isolated environments running inside a host operating system. The host kernel is used by OpenVZ at the operating system level, allowing numerous containers to share the same kernel.

Each container functions as a separate instance for applications or services operating inside an OpenVZ container, offering a degree of isolation and resource allocation.

OpenVZ containers share the host’s kernel while having separate file systems, processes, and network interfaces. As a result, resources are used more effectively, and performance is enhanced. Web hosting, development environments, and small-scale virtualization deployments are just a few of the applications for which OpenVZ is frequently used.

Key Advantages of OpenVZ Virtualization

The following are some major benefits of OpenVZ virtualization:

  • Practical Resource Usage: OpenVZ enables effective resource usage by sharing the host kernel among containers. By doing this, overhead is decreased and CPU, memory, and disc resources are maximized.
  • Fast and Lightweight Provisioning: It provides fast and light virtualization, enabling quick container launch. Containers enable speedy application deployment and scaling since they are easy to provision and deploy.
  • Simple Management and Administration: OpenVZ’s container-based methodology makes management and administration easier. Using simple tools and procedures, containers can be quickly built, started, stopped, and controlled.
  • High Container Density: OpenVZ supports high container density on a single physical server. Performance can be maintained while running a large number of containers on a single host because to its effective resource utilization and low overhead.
  • Migration: Live migration of containers is supported by OpenVZ, allowing for the smooth transfer of containers from one physical host to another. Live migration allows balancing loads, maintaining hardware, and moving workloads without disrupting services.
  • Low Virtualization Overhead and Little Performance Impact: Since containers share the host kernel with OpenVZ, there is little virtualization overhead. Since there is no requirement for hardware emulation or translation layers, the performance is close to native.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: OpenVZ’s excellent resource utilization and high container density make it a cost-effective virtualization solution. Multiple workloads can be combined onto a single physical server, cutting down on hardware costs and data center space requirements.
  • Simple Application Isolation and Deployment: OpenVZ makes it simple to isolate individual apps or services. With its own file system, processes, and network setup, each container runs as an isolated environment.


In conclusion, OpenVZ virtualization has a number of benefits that make it an appealing option in some situations. It is excellent for situations that demand a high container density, quick scaling, and top performance because to its effective resource utilization, lightweight design, and quick deployment. Flexibility and operational efficiency are improved by the simple management and administration of containers as well as the seamless live transfer capability.

System-level virtualization offered by Open ensures that applications are compatible and isolated, and its affordability makes it a desirable choice for businesses aiming to optimize resource utilization and lower infrastructure expenses. When determining whether OpenVZ is the best virtualization option for a specific project or organization, it’s crucial to take into account aspects like security needs, operating system support, and individual workload characteristics.

  • Updated September 2, 2023