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I am trying to understand how "raw disks" work on virtual machines. If I understand correctly, if I want to run Windows off of a raw disk with KVM as my host, I must install NTFS drivers on the host, and that will eliminate the need for two layers of filesystem (one for the volume holding the VM, and one for the partition inside the VM). Is that correct?

Also, I'm not clear on how this is done: is the disk formatted in NTFS and then added as a raw disk, and then Windows installed on it? Or does one add the raw disk and THEN format it?

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A raw disk generally refers to a disk which is passed through to the VM. You need to have that disk/partition available and configure it for the VM. The OS install within the running VM is going to apply the FS.

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