13 Easy Methods to Check If a Server is Physical Or Virtual in Linux or Unix

In this example, I will take you through 13 Easy methods to check if a Server is a Physical or Virtual in Linux or Unix. If you are working on Unix/Linux Based Systems then you might have faced a situation where you needed to find if a particular Server is a Physical or Virtual Server. This information required for various use cases like if someone asked to check the Server Serial number then it won’t be available if the Server is Virtual hence it is very important to first find if the Server is physical or virtual.

There are various Virtualization technologies available like Xen Virtualization, VMware, Hypervisor, KVM, Virtualbox etc. An Organization might be using any of them so it is very much obvious that you need to be aware of all the possible tools which can be used to find if a Server is Physical or Virtual. I have explained all the possible tools that can be used in various Linux or Unix platforms to verify if the Server is physical or virtual. If you Know about any more tool apart from this then please let me know in the Comment Box.

13 Easy Methods to Check If a Server is Physical Or Virtual in Linux or Unix 1

Check If a Unix/Linux Server is Physical or Virtual

Also Read: 5 Easy Examples to Delete Files and Directories Owned by Specific User and Group in Linux

Method 1: How to Check If a Unix/Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using dmesg output

If you want to check that your Unix/Linux server is physical or virtual using dmesg command then you need to simply grep the virtual keyword from dmesg output as shown below. If it is a virtual server then you will see output like below and if it is a Physical machine then you won’t see anything on the output.

[root@localhost ~]# dmesg | grep -i virtual
[ 0.000000] DMI: innotek GmbH VirtualBox/VirtualBox, BIOS VirtualBox 12/01/2006
[ 0.000000] CPU MTRRs all blank - virtualized system.
[ 0.000000] Booting paravirtualized kernel on KVM
[ 0.384527] KVM setup paravirtual spinlock
[ 0.953942] systemd[1]: Detected virtualization kvm.
[ 1.005975] systemd[1]: Starting Setup Virtual Console...

NOTE:

Please note that here I am using root user to run all the below commands.You can use any user with sudo access to run all these commands. For more information Please check Step by Step: How to Add User to Sudoers to provide sudo access to the User.

Method 2: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using dmidecode command

If you want to check your Unix/Linux System is Physical or Virtual using dmidecode command then you need to grep the Line starting with System Information and 3 lines after that as shown below. If it is a Virtual machine then you will see that information in the Product Name as shown in the below output.

[root@localhost ~]# dmidecode | grep -A3 '^System Information'
System Information
Manufacturer: innotek GmbH
Product Name: VirtualBox
Version: 1.2

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install dmidecode -y command as shown below.

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[root@localhost ~]# yum install dmidecode -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
* base: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* epel: mirror.telkomuniversity.ac.id
* extras: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* updates: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package dmidecode.x86_64 1:3.2-3.el7 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can install it by simply using apt install dmidecode command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install dmidecode
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
dmidecode
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 150 not upgraded.
Need to get 50.9 kB of archives.
After this operation, 183 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Method 3: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using lscpu command

You can use another useful command called lscpu(List CPUs) to check if your Linux Server is Physical or Virtual. Here if you check the Hypervisor vendor and Virtualization type then you will come to know if this Server is physical or virtual.

[root@localhost ~]# lscpu
Architecture: x86_64
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
CPU(s): 1
On-line CPU(s) list: 0
Thread(s) per core: 1
Core(s) per socket: 1
Socket(s): 1
NUMA node(s): 1
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 6
Model: 78
Model name: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6500U CPU @ 2.50GHz
Stepping: 3
CPU MHz: 2592.000
BogoMIPS: 5184.00
Hypervisor vendor: KVM
Virtualization type: full
L1d cache: 32K
L1i cache: 32K
L2 cache: 256K
L3 cache: 4096K
NUMA node0 CPU(s): 0
Flags: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc eagerfpu pni pclmulqdq monitor ssse3 cx16 pcid sse4_1 sse4_2 x2apic movbe popcnt aes xsave avx rdrand hypervisor lahf_lm abm 3dnowprefetch invpcid_single fsgsbase avx2 invpcid rdseed clflushopt md_clear flush_l1d

lscpu is the part of util-linux package so most probably it will be available in your Linux Server by default. You don’t have to install it manually.

For RHEL/CentOS Servers:-

[root@localhost ~]# rpm -qf $(which lscpu)
util-linux-2.23.2-63.el7.x86_64

For Ubuntu/Debian Servers:-

root@localhost:~# dpkg -S $(which lscpu)
util-linux: /usr/bin/lscpu

Method 4: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using lshw command

lshw is commonly known as List Hardware. This command will show all the installed hardware in your System. If you only check the first 10 lines of output using head command then you will be able to see the product information as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# lshw | head
localhost
description: Computer
product: VirtualBox
vendor: innotek GmbH
version: 1.2
serial: 0
width: 64 bits
capabilities: smbios-2.5 dmi-2.5 vsyscall32
configuration: family=Virtual Machine uuid=F1C1E834-65FA-4DD2-B7E3-D295527D29A5
*-core

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install lshw -y command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# yum install lshw -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
* base: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* epel: kartolo.sby.datautama.net.id
* extras: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* updates: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package lshw.x86_64 0:B.02.18-14.el7 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can install it by simply using apt-get install lshw command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt-get install lshw
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
lshw
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 150 not upgraded.
Need to get 231 kB of archives.
After this operation, 708 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Method 5: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using hostnamectl command

In this method, you can use hostnamectl command to check if the Server is Physical or Virtual by checking the chassis and Virtualization parameter as shown below. As you can see Chassis is showing value vm and Virtualization is showing value kvm which tells us that it is a Virtual Server.

[root@localhost ~]# hostnamectl status
Static hostname: localhost.localdomain
Transient hostname: localhost
Icon name: computer-vm
Chassis: vm
Machine ID: f1c1e83465fa4dd2b7e3d295527d29a5
Boot ID: ae6c39f7d89b42b99e11ef940191f216
Virtualization: kvm
Operating System: CentOS Linux 7 (Core)
CPE OS Name: cpe:/o:centos:centos:7
Kernel: Linux 3.10.0-1127.10.1.el7.x86_64
Architecture: x86-64

Method 6: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using systemd-detect-virt command

If you want to check a Unix/Linux Server is Physical or Virtual then you can use another useful tool called systemd-detect-virt command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# systemd-detect-virt
kvm

systemd-detect-virt is the part of systemd package so most probably it will be available in your Linux Server by default. You don’t have to install it manually.

For RHEL/CentOS Servers:-

[root@localhost ~]# rpm -qf $(which systemd-detect-virt)
systemd-219-73.el7_8.9.x86_64

For Ubuntu/Debian Servers:-

root@localhost:~# dpkg -S $(which systemd-detect-virt)
systemd: /usr/bin/systemd-detect-virt

Method 7: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual using virt-what command

If you want to check a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual then you can use another useful tool called virt-what as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# virt-what
virtualbox
kvm

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install virt-what -y command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# yum install virt-what -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
* base: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* epel: download.nus.edu.sg
* extras: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* updates: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package virt-what.x86_64 0:1.18-4.el7 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can install it by simply using apt install virt-what command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install virt-what
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
virt-what
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 152 not upgraded.
Need to get 14.7 kB of archives.
After this operation, 39.9 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Method 8: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual through SYS Files

You can even check the SYS Files in your system to check if the Server is Physical or Virtual. If your system is a Virtual machine then you will see VirtualBox value in /sys/class/dmi/id/product_name file as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# cat /sys/class/dmi/id/product_name
VirtualBox

Method 9: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual Using pr command

You can also use pr command to verify if the Server is Physical or Virtual as shown below. pr command is used to converting text files for printing. Here we are converting /sys/class/dmi/id/sys_vendor and /sys/class/dmi/id/product_name files text for printing to check if the Server is Physical or Virtual.

[root@localhost ~]# pr -t /sys/class/dmi/id/sys_vendor /sys/class/dmi/id/product_name
innotek GmbH
VirtualBox

Method 10: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual Using facter command

Another method is through by using facter command as shown below. If you see kvm in the output after running facter virtual command then it shows it is a virtual server. Similarly if you run facter physical command and you don’t see anything on the output then also it indicates that it is a Virtual Server.

[root@localhost ~]# facter virtual
kvm
[root@localhost ~]# facter physical

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install facter -y command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# yum install facter -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
* base: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* epel: kartolo.sby.datautama.net.id
* extras: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* updates: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package facter.x86_64 0:2.4.1-1.el7 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can install it by simply using apt install facter -y command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install facter -y
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following additional packages will be installed:
libboost-log1.65.1 libboost-program-options1.65.1 libboost-regex1.65.1 libcpp-hocon0.1.6 libfacter3.10.0 libleatherman-data libleatherman1.4.0 libyaml-cpp0.5v5
The following NEW packages will be installed:
facter libboost-log1.65.1 libboost-program-options1.65.1 libboost-regex1.65.1 libcpp-hocon0.1.6 libfacter3.10.0 libleatherman-data libleatherman1.4.0
libyaml-cpp0.5v5
0 upgraded, 9 newly installed, 0 to remove and 152 not upgraded.
Need to get 2,193 kB of archives.

Method 11: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual Using hwinfo command

If you want to check Linux Server is Physical or Virtual then you can use another important tool called hwinfo. You can grep the Product keyword from hwinfo command output as shown below. If it is a virtual machine then it will show under Product section.

[root@localhost ~]# hwinfo | grep Product
idProduct = 0x0001
I: Bus=0019 Vendor=0000 Product=0001 Version=0000
I: Bus=0019 Vendor=0000 Product=0003 Version=0000
I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0001 Product=0001 Version=ab41
I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0002 Product=0006 Version=0000
I: Bus=0019 Vendor=0000 Product=0006 Version=0000
I: Bus=0010 Vendor=001f Product=0001 Version=0100
Product id: "VirtualBox"
Product: "VirtualBox"
Product: "VirtualBox"

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install hwinfo -y command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# yum install hwinfo -y
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package hwinfo.x86_64 0:21.47-6.el7 will be installed
--> Processing Dependency: perl(XML::Parser) for package: hwinfo-21.47-6.el7.x86_64
--> Processing Dependency: perl(XML::Writer) for package: hwinfo-21.47-6.el7.x86_64
--> Processing Dependency: libx86emu.so.1()(64bit) for package: hwinfo-21.47-6.el7.x86_64
--> Running transaction check
---> Package libx86emu.x86_64 0:1.11-7.el7 will be installed
---> Package perl-XML-Parser.x86_64 0:2.41-10.el7 will be installed
---> Package perl-XML-Writer.noarch 0:0.623-3.el7 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Systems then you can install it by simply using apt install hwinfo -y command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install hwinfo -y
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following additional packages will be installed:
libhd21 libx86emu1
The following NEW packages will be installed:
hwinfo libhd21 libx86emu1
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 152 not upgraded.
Need to get 760 kB of archives.

Method 12: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual Using imvirt command

If you are using Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then there is a tool called imvirt which you can use to detect if a Server is Physical or Virtual. If you see KVM in the output after running imvirt command then it is a Virtual Machine as shown below.

root@localhost:~# imvirt
KVM

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can simply install it by using apt install imvirt command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install imvirt
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
imvirt
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 152 not upgraded.
Need to get 4,764 B of archives.

Method 13: How to Check If a Linux Server is Physical or Virtual Using inxi command

If you are using Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then there is a tool called inxi which you can use to detect if a Server is Physical or Virtual. If you see VirtualBox in the output after running inxi -b command then it is a Virtual Machine as shown below.

root@localhost:~# inxi -b
System: Host: localhost Kernel: 5.4.0-42-generic x86_64 bits: 64 Console: tty 2 Distro: Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS
Machine: Device: oracle System: innotek product: VirtualBox v: 1.2 serial: 0
Mobo: Oracle model: VirtualBox v: 1.2 serial: 0 BIOS: innotek v: VirtualBox date: 12/01/2006
Battery BAT0: charge: 40.0 Wh 80.0% condition: 50.0/50.0 Wh (100%)
CPU: Single core Intel Core i7-6500U (-UP-) speed: 2592 MHz (max)
Graphics: Card: VMware SVGA II Adapter
Display Server: X.org 1.20.4 driver: vmwgfx tty size: 168x44 Advanced Data: N/A for root out of X
Network: Card: Intel 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet Controller driver: e1000
Drives: HDD Total Size: 21.5GB (53.2% used)
Info: Processes: 247 Uptime: 6:01 Memory: 1146.4/1963.8MB Init: systemd runlevel: 5
Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.3.56

If you do not have this tool installed in your RHEL/CentOS based Servers then you can install it by simply using yum install inxi -y command as shown below.

[root@localhost ~]# yum install inxi -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
epel/x86_64/metalink | 5.6 kB 00:00:00
* base: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* epel: mirror.telkomuniversity.ac.id
* extras: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
* updates: centos.mirrors.estointernet.in
base | 3.6 kB 00:00:00
epel | 4.7 kB 00:00:00
extras | 2.9 kB 00:00:00
mysql-connectors-community | 2.5 kB 00:00:00
mysql-tools-community | 2.5 kB 00:00:00
mysql56-community | 2.5 kB 00:00:00
updates | 2.9 kB 00:00:00
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package inxi.noarch 0:3.1.03-1.el7 will be installed
--> Processing Dependency: bind-utils for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: freeipmi for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: hddtemp for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: ipmitool for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: lm_sensors for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: perl(Cpanel::JSON::XS) for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: perl(JSON::XS) for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: perl(XML::Dumper) for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: usbutils for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch
--> Processing Dependency: wmctrl for package: inxi-3.1.03-1.el7.noarch

If you do not have this tool installed in your Ubuntu/Debian based Servers then you can simply install it by using apt install inxi -y command as shown below.

root@localhost:~# apt install inxi -y
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
linux-headers-5.3.0-26
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
The following additional packages will be installed:
gawk hddtemp libsigsegv2 lm-sensors mesa-utils
Suggested packages:
gawk-doc fancontrol read-edid i2c-tools
The following NEW packages will be installed:
gawk hddtemp inxi libsigsegv2 lm-sensors mesa-utils
0 upgraded, 6 newly installed, 0 to remove and 152 not upgraded.
Need to get 726 kB of archives.
After this operation, 2,941 kB of additional disk space will be used.

 

 

 

 

 

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