I want to write a simple driver for use inside a QEMU virtual machine, which will be communicating with the host through a respective backend special virtual device.

The said driver and backend device will be using the VirtIO functionality to work. This driver is the objective of a university exercise, which suggests that the QEMU must work with KVM, on a processor with virtualization technology.

However I have a quite old machine, the CPU of which has no such utility. Putting performance aside, I was wondering, will I be able to use the VirtIO functionality or is it something that can only be used alongside KVM?

The documentation found on the internet about VirtIO is virtually non existent, that is the reason I hope someone here knows something.

  • Sorry I cannot help, but note that you might be able to buy a raspberry pi zero for about $5US and some people have managed to run qemu/kvm on a pi (pi 2).
    – meuh
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


Virtio is an API for virtual IO that implements network and block driver logic, and it can be implemented with QEMU and no KVM. See here for a thorough overview of libvirt, including examples without using KVM.

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