IsardVDI now works out of the box with docker & docker-compose


You only need to have docker service and docker-compose installed:

  • Install Docker:

  • Note: docker 17.04 or newer needed for docker-compose.yml v3.2

    • bash sudo apt install docker
  • Install docker-compose:

  • Note: docker-compose 1.12 or newer needed for docker-compose.yml v3.5. You can install last version using pip3:

    • bash sudo apt install python3-pip -y sudo pip3 install docker-compose

NOTE: Your hardware needs to have virtualization enabled. You can check that in your BIOS but also from CLI:

egrep ‘(vmx|svm)’ /proc/cpuinfo

​ If you see nothing in the output your CPU has no virtualization capabilites or they are disabled in BIOS.


To bring up IsardVDI you only need to download the docker-compose.yml file (or clone the full repo if you want to build the images yourself) and bring it up:

docker-compose pull
docker-compose up -d

That's all, just connect to https:// of the server and follow wizard.

Note: If you connect with your browser to the wizard through localhost or the viewer hostname in isard-hypervisor will be set to that IP and no one will be able to open viewers from other computers. Refer to troubleshoot incorrect viewer hostname to modify the viewer IP.


Mapped paths

IsardVDI will create following paths on your system and map it inside hypervisor and app containers:

  • /opt/isard: The main folder that will contain:
  • bases: Path where base template images will be stored. The complete path will include /opt/isard/bases/<role>/<category>/<group>/<username>/<base_disk_name.qcow2>
  • templates: Path where user template images will be stored. The complete path will include /opt/isard/templates/<role>/<category>/<group>/<username>/<tmpl_disk_name.qcow2>
  • groups: Path where desktop runnable images will be stored. The complete path will include /opt/isard/group/<role>/<category>/<group>/<username>/<desktop_disk_name.qcow2>
  • media: Path where media (iso and floppy files) will be uploaded. The complete path will include /opt/isard/media/<role>/<category>/<group>/<username>/<media_(iso|floppy).(iso|fd)>
  • backups: Database backups created in web interface using the backup config menu will be stored here.
  • uploads: (work in progress)
  • logs: Here you will have logs for all the containers. Be aware they could grow so they should be rotated/deleted programatically.
  • certs: Certificates for web UI and viewer connections are stored here. Also you can replace initial self-signed certificates with your commercial/letsencrypt ones following the documentation guide about replacing certificates. In the actual version IsardVDI website and viewers make use of the same certificates stored at /opt/isard/certs/default/ path location.

Build your docker images

If you prefer to build your IsardVDI alpine based docker images you have to clone the full repository (git clone and you will find the docker sources under docker folder:

  • alpine-pandas: This image has the pandas and numpy python3 libraries. The compilations of those libraries takes long time and, as they are needed for both hypervisor and app containers, we decided to create this image as the base for those images.
  • hypervisor: It will take alpine-pandas image as base and will bring up a complete KVM/qemu hypervisor with libvirt and a python websockets proxy for browser access to viewers.
  • app: It will add all the libraries needed to run the engine and webapp IsardVDI source code contained in /src folder of the repo.
  • nginx: It has the https web server optimized for socketio and websockets. It has also sources for error pages and websocket vnc and spice viewers.
  • rethinkdb: We use the official rethinkdb image from

We do provide a build script for dockers. You only need to add version parameter:

./ 1.0.1

After building images from source you can start it with docker-compose up -d.

NOTE: Check the version of containers in docker-compose.yml file to build the same version.

Sample installs

Debian 9 Stretch

With a fresh debian 9 install you can install docker and docker-compose with this commands.

Install docker

apt-get remove docker docker-engine containerd runc
apt-get install     apt-transport-https     ca-certificates     curl     gnupg2     software-properties-common
curl -fsSL | apt-key add -
add-apt-repository    "deb [arch=amd64] \
   $(lsb_release -cs) \
apt-get update
apt-get install docker-ce

Install docker-compose

apt install python3-pip
pip3 install docker-compose

Fedora 28-29

With a fresh Fedora 28-29 install you can install docker and docker-compose with this commands.

Install docker

sudo dnf remove docker \
                  docker-client \
                  docker-client-latest \
                  docker-common \
                  docker-latest \
                  docker-latest-logrotate \
                  docker-logrotate \
                  docker-selinux \
                  docker-engine-selinux \

sudo dnf -y install dnf-plugins-core
sudo dnf config-manager \
    --add-repo \
sudo dnf install docker-ce docker-ce-cli -y
sudo systemctl start docker
sudo systemctl enable docker

Install docker-compose

yum install python3-pip
pip3 install docker-compose

Troubleshooting Install

docker-compose up -d refuses to start hypervisor

The may be two possible sources for this problem. One is the use of a service in your host that is on a port in the range of default ports used by hypervisor and viewers. Those ports are:

  • 5900-5949: Spice viewer port range
  • 55900-55949: web browser viewer ports.

You can check your listening ports by issuing the command netstat -tulpn and checking if any of your listening ports overlaps with hypervisor port range.

There is no easy solution to this without shutting down your service before starting IsardVDI. It happens that chromium in Linux starts listening for mDNS service on port 5353. This can be easily solved by using another browser like firefox to access IsardVDI or starting IsardVDI containers before opening chromium browser. Note that this will happen only if your are going to use the same computer to run IsardVDI and access it through a local browser in the server.

After doing the wizard the hypervisor details say there is no virtualization available

Some CPUs (mostly old ones) don't have hardware virtualization, others have it but it is disabled in BIOS. In the first case there is nothing that can be done. If it is disabled in BIOS then you should check for VT-X or Virtualization or SVM and activate it.

More info in admin faqs

Nested installation in KVM

Check for nested virtualization option in your host operating system:

  • Intel processors: cat /sys/module/kvm_intel/parameters/nested
  • AMD processors: cat /sys/module/kvm_amd/parameters/nested

It should show a 1 or Y if it is enabled.

You will need to enable nested virtualization on your host operating system if not active yet.

Nested virt in Intel processors:


With all VMs stopped remove kvm_intel module

modprobe -r kvm_intel

And load it again with nested option:

modprobe kvm_intel nested=1


Create the file /etc/modprobe.d/kvm.conf and add inside:

options kvm_intel nested=1

Nested virt in AMD processors:


With all VMs stopped remove kvm_amd module

modprobe -r kvm_amd

And load it again with nested option:

modprobe kvm_amd nested=1


Create the file /etc/modprobe.d/kvm.conf and add inside:

options kvm_amd nested=1

Installing IsardVDI inside VMWare ESXi guest

Enable host CPU passthrough to the guest. That should be enough.