Introduction to OpenVZ Virtualization

Virtualization technology has revolutionized the way computing resources are managed and deployed, allowing for improved efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Among the various virtualization technologies available today, OpenVZ holds a unique position. It is known for being one of the most efficient and easy-to-use server virtualization solutions, particularly popular in the hosting industry. This blog aims to demystify OpenVZ virtualization, explaining its features, benefits, and how it compares to other virtualization technologies in a straightforward manner.

What is OpenVZ?

OpenVZ is an open-source container-based virtualization platform for Linux. It allows a physical server to run multiple isolated operating system instances, known as containers or virtual private servers (VPS). Unlike full hardware virtualization solutions like VMware or VirtualBox, which emulate entire hardware environments, OpenVZ focuses on executing multiple Linux instances on a single physical host, sharing the same Linux kernel.

Key Features of OpenVZ

1. Resource Efficiency

OpenVZ is incredibly resource-efficient. Since all containers share the same operating system kernel, there is no need to load a separate OS for each instance. This means that OpenVZ can host more virtual environments on the same hardware compared to other forms of virtualization that require separate OS instances.

2. Rapid Provisioning

Creating and deploying a container in OpenVZ is remarkably fast. Because it doesn’t require booting an entire OS, new virtual environments can be set up in a matter of seconds. This rapid provisioning is particularly advantageous for businesses that need to scale up or down quickly based on demand.

3. Easy Administration

OpenVZ includes a range of tools and utilities that simplify the process of managing virtual servers. These tools allow administrators to monitor performance, allocate resources, and manage network settings easily.

4. Live Migration

Containers can be migrated from one physical server to another with minimal downtime, making it easy to balance loads or upgrade hardware without disrupting services.

How Does OpenVZ Work?

At its core, OpenVZ uses a modified Linux kernel to create a layer that allows multiple isolated user-space instances. Each container behaves much like a standalone server. They have their own:

  • System processes
  • Files
  • Network addresses
  • Memory management system

However, because they share the same kernel, tasks like kernel updates or changes need to be managed carefully to avoid affecting all containers hosted on a single server.

Benefits of Using OpenVZ

1. Cost-Effective

OpenVZ is free to use and requires fewer resources than other virtualization technologies, which translates into direct cost savings in terms of hardware and energy consumption.

2. High Performance

Since OpenVZ containers share the same kernel, they incur very low overhead. This means that applications running in OpenVZ containers can perform nearly as well as they do on dedicated servers.

3. Scalability

Adding or modifying resource allocations in OpenVZ is straightforward, making it an ideal solution for applications that need to scale dynamically.

Use Cases for OpenVZ

OpenVZ is particularly well-suited for web hosting services. Hosting providers can use OpenVZ to efficiently allocate resources among numerous customers on a single server. It is also an excellent choice for developers who need to create and destroy test environments frequently, or for businesses that require isolated environments for different departments or projects.

Comparing OpenVZ with Other Virtualization Technologies

While OpenVZ offers many advantages, it’s important to note that it is less flexible than systems like KVM or Xen, which allow for full virtualization of any operating system, not just Linux. However, for Linux-based applications and services, OpenVZ often provides a more streamlined and resource-efficient option.


OpenVZ is a powerful, efficient, and cost-effective solution for Linux server virtualization, especially when high density and rapid provisioning are required. While it may not have the flexibility of some other virtualization platforms, its advantages make it an excellent choice for many scenarios, particularly in the hosting industry. If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-frills virtualization solution, OpenVZ might be the perfect fit for your needs.