[pve-devel] [PATCH docs 1/1] qm: add section about machine types

Fiona Ebner f.ebner at proxmox.com
Fri Nov 10 14:24:45 CET 2023

expanding from the two currently existing sentences. In the first one, a
typo VMs -> VM's is fixed. In the second one, "one wants to" is changed
to "you want to", because the sentence already starts with "You can" and
it's active voice.

Adds information about the machine version, rationale behind the
defaults for it and what to do for deprecated versions.

Signed-off-by: Fiona Ebner <f.ebner at proxmox.com>
 qm.adoc | 42 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-----
 1 file changed, 37 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)

diff --git a/qm.adoc b/qm.adoc
index b7938d7..2f48969 100644
--- a/qm.adoc
+++ b/qm.adoc
@@ -139,12 +139,44 @@ snapshots) more intelligently.
 {pve} allows to boot VMs with different firmware and machine types, namely
 xref:qm_bios_and_uefi[SeaBIOS and OVMF]. In most cases you want to switch from
 the default SeaBIOS to OVMF only if you plan to use
-xref:qm_pci_passthrough[PCIe passthrough]. A VMs 'Machine Type' defines the
-hardware layout of the VM's virtual motherboard. You can choose between the
-default https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_440FX[Intel 440FX] or the
+xref:qm_pci_passthrough[PCIe passthrough].
+Machine Type
+A VM's 'Machine Type' defines the hardware layout of the VM's virtual
+motherboard. You can choose between the default
+https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_440FX[Intel 440FX] or the
-chipset, which also provides a virtual PCIe bus, and thus may be desired if
-one wants to pass through PCIe hardware.
+chipset, which also provides a virtual PCIe bus, and thus may be
+desired if you want to pass through PCIe hardware.
+Each machine type is versioned in QEMU and a given QEMU binary supports many
+machine versions. New versions might bring support for new features, fixes or
+general improvements. However, they also change properties of the virtual
+hardware. To avoid sudden changes from the guest's perspective and ensure
+compatibility of the VM state, live-migration and snapshots with RAM will keep
+using the same machine version in the new QEMU instance.
+For Windows guests, the machine version is pinned during creation, because
+Windows is sensitive to changes in the virtual hardware - even between cold
+boots. For example, the enumeration of network devices might be different with
+different machine versions. Other OSes like Linux can usually deal with such
+changes just fine. For those, the 'Latest' machine version is used by default.
+This means that after a fresh start, the newest machine version supported by the
+QEMU binary is used (e.g. the newest machine version QEMU 8.1 supports is
+version 8.1 for each machine type).
+Very old machine versions might become deprecated in QEMU. For example, this is
+the case for versions 1.4 to 1.7 for the i440fx machine type. It is expected
+that support for these machine versions will be dropped at some point. If you
+see a deprecation warning, you should change the machine version to a newer one.
+Be sure to have a working backup first and be prepared for changes to how the
+guest sees hardware. In some scenarios, re-installing certain drivers might be
+required. You should also check for snapshots with RAM that were taken with
+these machine versions (i.e. the `runningmachine` configuration entry).
+Unfortunately, there is no way to change the machine version of a snapshot, so
+you'd need to load the snapshot to salvage any data from it.
 Hard Disk

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