The LXD container hypervisor

25% faster than ESX. 10 times the density with zero latency

Move your Linux VMs straight to containers, easily, without modifying the apps or administration processes. Canonical’s LXD is a pure-container hypervisor that runs unmodified Linux guest operating systems with VM-style operations at incredible speed and density.

Talk to us about your container strategy ›


The no-nonsense way to accelerate your business with containers

This white paper explains why containers are so popular and how to leverage them in your organisation. Learn the benefits of process containers and machine containers. Deep-dive into the two main software tools, Docker and LXD, that are used to manipulate containers.

Download the white paper

Why use LXD?

LXD is a “really fast hypervisor” that lets you operate exactly the way you currently operate, only at container speeds. LXD takes the speed and latency of containers and brings them to the hypervisor world.

A LXD container gives you full ‘machine’ system functionality, not just a single process. You can run Docker and RunC inside LXD to mix container types.

LXD brings you:

  • Bare-metal performance for guests
  • Easy sharing of hardware resources
  • Easy monitoring of guest processes
  • Very precise quality-of-service and quotas
  • Snapshots
  • Support for ARM, POWER, X86 and Z
  • RESTful API and simple CLI
  • Rapid provisioning, instant guest boot
  • Remote image services
  • Secure by default, with AppArmor, user namespaces, SECCOMP
  • Extensible storage and networking
  • Performance and concurrency from Golang

Supported guest operating systems

Your first step to containers is easy

LXD containers are just like traditional physical and virtual machines. You can log in remotely, manage the guest OS the standard way, install applications, secure them, and operate them with the same tools, but gain the raw performance and density of containers.

LXD guests launch in seconds and you can run hundreds on a single server. Connect them separately and securely to networks, copy between hosts and drive all of this through a clean RESTful API.

Like a virtual machine, only faster

LXD is the next‐generation hypervisor for Linux at scale. LXD is designed to “lift and shift” Linux VMs to containers without modifying the app or operations. Nearly all applications can be installed in LXD containers with no need to touch the application to make it run because LXD’s machine containers operate just like VMs.

LXD is in use at

Getting started with LXD

  1. 1 Activate LXD

    You can generally hit Enter to accept the default answers to the questions, and once you’re setup you can start to launch machines.


    LXD is on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Server or greater by default. On other systems it can be installed with snap install lxd.

  2. 2 Create your first container

    This will fetch the base Ubuntu guest OS, then launch an instance of that called ’first-machine’

  3. 3 See your machine running

  4. 4 Jump into that container

    Type ‘exit’ to quit the container and return to your host. Launch more containers and see how quickly they start. Install SSH and log into them remotely, they behave just like real machines.

Is LXD a real Linux hypervisor?

Yes: LXD containers give you the experience of virtual machines with the security of a hypervisor, but much, much faster. Without all the overhead, you get the full performance of your host environment. On bare metal, LXD containers are as fast as the native OS. In the cloud, you get subdivided machines without subpar performance.

You can live-migrate LXD containers from machine to machine. We’re working with silicon companies to ensure hardware-assisted security and isolation for containers, like virtual machines. Additionally, you can bind storage or network interfaces to the containers, just like virtual machines.

Ultra-fast OpenStack with LXD

The combination of LXD and OpenStack makes for a very happy system administrator in a Linux-oriented private cloud. All the agility of OpenStack, all the performance of your metal with no virt overhead.

The nova-lxd driver allows OpenStack instances to be scheduled as Linux containers. Images are booted from OpenStack’s image service, Glance, and instances communicate over Neutron’s networking functionality just like KVM based VMs.

How does our LXD support offering work?

Enterprise support for LXD is provided by Canonical through Ubuntu Advantage.

We also offer consulting services and customisation for larger organisations to integrate LXD with existing infrastructure.

To discuss your requirements connect with a member of the Canonical team.

Learn more about Ubuntu Advantage ›

Contact us ›

How does LXD compare to Docker?

  • Docker and LXD are complementary, use them both, use them together!
  • LXD gives you a classic virtual machine experience with all your administrative processes running, from sshd to syslog, so LXD feels just like a normal system
  • Docker instances typically contain one and only one process or application
  • LXD usage is often driven by operations where it makes any infrastructure-as-a-service cloud instances much faster
  • Docker usage is usually driven by developers and forms the basis for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) clouds, making those PaaS application instances faster and more portable
  • Docker can run alongside LXD with both instances working together. Moreover, Docker can run inside of LXD with zero performance impact

Find out more about our partnership with Docker