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Lightweight open source virtualisation with LXD

The comprehensive platform for open source virtualization with a cloud-like experience.

LXD is an open-source solution for managing virtual machines and system containers. It provides a secure and scalable environment with minimal overhead. Manage your workloads with ease and configure them to suit your use case via a user-friendly web interface.

Install now

“With LXD there’s no loss of function like you get with a hypervisor. We benchmarked it against our existing environment and it delivered twice the performance on our database with half the resources.”


Suzie Roseberry

Intelligent Transportation Systems Developer and Database Administrator at WYDOT


Why choose LXD?


Run any type of workload

LXD provides both KVM-based VMs and system containers based on LXC – that can run a full Linux OS – in a single open source virtualisation platform. LXD has numerous built-in management features, including live migration, snapshots, resource restrictions, projects and profiles, and governs the interaction with various storage and networking options.

Cloud-like experience

LXD is image based and supports images for a large number of Linux distributions, as well as Windows VMs. It comes with built-in image stores which enable you to spin up a container or a VM in a matter of seconds. Existing integrations with various deployment and orchestration tools allow you to manage your infrastructure in a cloud-like way. When combined with software-defined storage and networking, LXD becomes a lightweight cloud solution MicroCloud.

Secure and scalable

LXD runs unprivileged containers by default — protecting the host system from potential attacks. For virtual machines, LXD uses modern virtual hardware (VirtIO) exclusively. In addition, it utilises UEFI SecureBoot and provides vTPM support.

Resource restrictions through cgroups and ulimits, as well as fine-grained access control, are also supported.

LXD is also easy to scale — from containers on your laptop to thousands of instances in the data centre.


Alternatives for running workloads

LXD supports a variety of different virtualisation options, so you can always pick the best strategy for each of your workloads.



Virtual machines

  • QEMU/KVM-based VMs
  • For workloads needing a different kernel or OS than the host
  • Legacy free
  • Cloud-like experience


System containers

  • To run a full Linux OS inside a container
  • Utilises Kernel of the host
  • Identical performance to bare metal
  • Run VM-like workloads more efficiently


Clusters for more demanding workloads

  • Up to 50 servers in a unified cluster with 1000s of instances
  • Run containers, VMs, or a combination of the two
  • Same distributed database
  • Managed uniformly

Watch this deep dive into LXD clustering


Key features

  • Flexible resource limits (CPU, memory, network I/O, disk space, and some kernel resources)
  • Advanced snapshot support, including scheduling and automatic expiry
  • Projects for segmenting your LXD server, and easy multi-user setup for enhanced security
  • Hardware passthrough (GPU, USB, NIC, disks, and more)
  • Support for live-migration and stateful snapshotting
  • Advanced networking support (OVN, SR-IOV, hardware acceleration support)
  • High availability clustering when combined with CEPH and OVN for storage and network redundancy
  • LTS releases every two years — supported for five years
  • Commercial support available through Ubuntu Pro

See how LXD features compare to eSXI ›




Enhance your experience with
best-in-class open-source tools


MicroCloud: a LXD based cloud solution

MicroCloud is the newest addition to Canonical’s cloud infrastructure portfolio. It is a low-touch, open-source cloud solution based on LXD, purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises.


Watch the "Introduction to MicroCloud" webinar to learn more.

Easily manage bare metal infrastructure with MAAS and LXD

MAAS can automatically deploy and configure LXD as part of the deployment of a physical machine. Or it can be connected to an existing LXD deployment to dynamically create virtual machines on it.


Access the tutorial about setting up your own MAAS and LXD environment ›

Replace your VMware infrastructure with best-of-breed open source

Open source brings cost savings, increased flexibility and higher quality for your infrastructure. Learn how to build a fully functional cloud infrastructure on Ubuntu while ensuring feature parity with VMware solutions.


Read more about it in the "VMware migration to Ubuntu-based infrastructure" whitepaper.