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LIBVIRT-GUESTS(8) Virtualization Support LIBVIRT-GUESTS(8)


libvirt-guests - suspend/resume running libvirt guests


libvirt-guests COMMAND


libvirt-guests is a service that can be used to coordinate guest and host lifecycle actions. By default, libvirt-guests will suspend running guests when the host shuts down, and restore them to their pre-shutdown state when the host reboots.

libvirt-guests is typically under control of systemd. When libvirt-guests.service is enabled, systemd will call libvirt-guests with the start COMMAND when the host boots. Conversely, systemd will call libvirt-guests with the stop COMMAND when the host shuts down.

libvirt-guests can be used directly. In addition to the start and stop COMMANDs, it also supports status, restart, condrestart, try-restart, reload, force-reload, gueststatus, and shutdown COMMANDs.


libvirt-guests defines several variables to control service behavior. The default value of these variables can be overridden in:


The following variables are supported:

  • start

    All guests which were running on shutdown are started on boot regardless of their autostart settings

  • ignore

    libvirt-guests won't start any guest on boot, however, guests marked as autostart will still be automatically started by libvirtd


    Number of seconds to wait between each guest start. Set to 0 to allow parallel startup.

  • ON_SHUTDOWN=suspend

    Action taken on host shutdown

  • suspend

    All running guests are suspended using virsh managedsave

  • shutdown

    All running guests are asked to shutdown. Please be careful with this settings since there is no way to distinguish between a guest which is stuck or ignores shutdown requests and a guest which just needs a long time to shutdown. When setting ON_SHUTDOWN=shutdown, you must also set SHUTDOWN_TIMEOUT to a value suitable for your guests.


    Number of guests will be shutdown concurrently, taking effect when "ON_SHUTDOWN" is set to "shutdown". If Set to 0, guests will be shutdown one after another. Number of guests on shutdown at any time will not exceed number set in this variable.


    Number of seconds we're willing to wait for a guest to shut down. If parallel shutdown is enabled, this timeout applies as a timeout for shutting down all guests on a single URI defined in the variable URIS. If this is 0, then there is no time out (use with caution, as guests might not respond to a shutdown request). The default value is 300 seconds (5 minutes).


    If non-zero, try to bypass the file system cache when saving and restoring guests, even though this may give slower operation for some file systems.


    If non-zero, try to sync guest time on domain resume. Be aware, that this requires guest agent with support for time synchronization running in the guest. By default, this functionality is turned off.


    Defines what type of guest virtual machine ON_SHUTDOWN action is applied to

  • default

    This implements the already existing default behavior. If ON_SHUTDOWN action is shutdown, transient and persistent guest virtual machines are asked to shutdown. If ON_SHUTDOWN action is suspend, only persistent guest virtual machines are asked to suspend.

  • true

    ON_SHUTDOWN action is executed only on persistent guest virtual machines. Transient guest virtual machines are not affected.

  • false

    ON_SHUTDOWN action is executed on persistent and transient guest virtual machines.


Please report all bugs you discover. This should be done via either:

the mailing list

the bug tracker

Alternatively, you may report bugs to your software distributor / vendor.


Please refer to the AUTHORS file distributed with libvirt.


libvirt-guests is distributed under the terms of the GNU LGPL v2.1+. This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE