Before 2 hours from now, I attended TGI episode about Kata containers and I learned that Kata containers requires enabling nested virtualization. In the moment that I wrote this article, I cannot run Kata in AWS EC2 (Ubuntu) instance. Indeed, I am getting this error : failed to initialize KVM: No such file or directory: unknown..

Fortunately, one of attendees posted a link during that episode: Google Cloud - Enabling Nested Virtualization for VM Instances.

Hence, I decided to give GCP a shot and trying it out.


  • Having a Google Cloud account
  • gcloud CLI is available and authenticated

Creating VM with nested Virtualization enabled

1. Create a Disk from Ubuntu image

gcloud compute disks create disk-1 \
    --zone=us-central1-a \
    --type=pd-standard \
    --image=ubuntu-1604-xenial-v20180522 \
    --image-project=ubuntu-os-cloud --size=10GB

Note: The rest of steps are already mentioned in this link

2. Create an Image with nested virtualization enabled

gcloud compute images create ubuntu-1604-nested-virtualization \
  --source-disk disk-1 --source-disk-zone us-central1-a \
  --licenses ""

3. Create new instance from that image

gcloud compute instances create example-nested-virtualization \
  --zone us-central1-b \
  --image ubuntu-1604-nested-virtualization

4. SSH to the new instance

gcloud compute ssh example-nested-virtualization

5. verification of nested virtualization

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep vmx
# It should return something in the stdout

Provision the machine for Kata Container

1. Install Kata dependencies

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep vmx
sudo -E apt-get -y install apt-transport-https ca-certificates wget software-properties-common
curl -sL | sudo apt-key add -
arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture)
sudo -E add-apt-repository "deb [arch=${arch}] $(lsb_release -cs) stable"
sudo -E apt-get update
sudo -E apt-get -y install docker-ce
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb$(lsb_release -rs)/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kata-containers.list"
curl -sL$(lsb_release -rs)/Release.key | sudo apt-key add -
sudo -E apt-get update
sudo -E apt-get -y install kata-runtime kata-proxy kata-shim
sudo mkdir -p /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/
cat <<EOF | sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/kata-containers.conf
ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -D --add-runtime kata-runtime=/usr/bin/kata-runtime --default-runtime=kata-runtime

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart docker

For more details about this script (line by line), check out KATA installation guide

Run a sample

sudo docker run -ti busybox sh

Congratulations! Kata is successfully running.