Monthly Archives: September 2009

Cloud Xen Project Update

Xen Community:

Since the announcement a few weeks back from on the creation of a new project, Xen Cloud Project or as I call it Cloud Xen, there have been some happenings in the background that I want to make everyone aware of.

  1. Meetings – There are two meetings being worked on for people interested in the Cloud Xen project: telephone conference call in late Sept/early October and a Cloud Xen meeting at Xen Summit Asia in late November.  The telephone conference call will be announced via this blog as well as on the main Cloud Xen page at in the next week or so. This meeting will allow people interested in the project to learn more about the community proposals as well as next steps. There will also be a Cloud Xen meeting at Xen Summit Asia for interested parties to further discuss strategies and next steps.
  2. Proposals – Citrix is currently finalizing a proposal to the community with details on how the newly opened source XAPI management tool-stack can be leveraged by cloud providers and other elements of the overall Cloud Xen solution. This proposal will be announced on this blog and at the main Cloud Xen page by the end of September. I am also awaiting status from other community members on their proposals and will make all information available to the community as I receive it. If you would like to make your thoughts public, please send me your ideas for posting.
  3. Source Code – The Citrix source code of XAPI will be made available before the end of this month; hopefully next week, as the legal review of the source code is almost complete. All source code trees will be properly detailed when the code is released. All other community members interested in releasing source of their solution for Cloud Xen can also contact me for release guidelines.

Building on the success of the Xen hypervisor, this new project will enable to reach further into the enterprise as our overall mission moves beyond the hypervisor to a complete virtualization platform for cloud computing providers. I look forward to joining with the community on this exciting new mission for our community!

Citrix joins Linux Foundation

From the Linux Foundation –

Virtualization Leader Citrix Joins The Linux Foundation

Citrix Uses Linux to Develop Virtualization and SaaS Solutions for Fortune 500 Companies and Small Businesses Worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — (Marketwire) — 09/17/09 — The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Citrix Systems has become its newest member.

Citrix is a leading provider of virtualization; cloud computing, and software as a service (SaaS) offerings for companies worldwide, including 99 percent of Fortune 500 enterprises. Citrix leads the open source Xen® hypervisor project which is based on Linux.

“The Linux Foundation provides a neutral forum for collaborative work on requirements for Linux and complementary projects such as the Xen Project, Xen Client hypervisor Initiative (XCI) and Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) initiative,” said Ian Pratt, founder and chair of and vice president of Advanced Products at Citrix Systems. “Citrix has joined the Linux Foundation both in its role as leader of the Xen Project and because it ships commercial products based on Xen.”

In addition to developing the Xen hypervisor, the Xen community is working on the development of complete client hypervisor and cloud virtualization platform products, which incorporate Linux as an embedded, secure, optimized run time for the Virtual Machine Monitor. The Xen community also develops open source technology to permit Linux to run with optimal performance on other hypervisors, such as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX Server.


Simon Crosby on Virtualization and OS Vendors

Thought you might like to read this thread from Simon Crosby…

Whither the Venerable OS?

Virtualization challenges many established IT “truths” from the heyday of x86 scale-out. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the identity crisis facing the major OS vendors in the context of virtualization.

VMware’s (initial ) success in infrastructure virtualization, and the rapid gains XenServer is making (we added ~25,000 customers in the last quarter) appears to confirm that IT managers view the virtualization of their datacenter infrastructure as a platform property completely independent of the workloads that use it, but most OS vendors believe that adding virtualization to the OS should lead to success both as an OS and as a virtual infrastructure platform.

To be perfectly clear, I don’t for a moment think that Hyper-V in Windows, or Xen or even KVM in Linux are bad hypervisors. They aren’t. Hyper-V R2 is by all accounts excellent, and Xen is of course fabulous. But a great hypervisor is not a great virtual infrastructure platform. The key is the rest of the infrastructure – the abstractions of storage, networking, compute that enable resource pooling, multi-tenancy, high availability, dynamic workload balancing and all of the other benefits that accrue from a virtualized infrastructure.

Virtualization as property of the infrastructure is nowhere more obvious than in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds such as Amazon’s EC2 and Virtual Private Cloud VPC, RackSpace’s Cloud Serversâ„¢ and Softlayer’s CloudLayerâ„¢. Virtualization provided by the user’s OS is of no benefit in the cloud since the cloud platform already includes it. Moreover IaaS clouds offer a richer notion of virtualization than that afforded by a hypervisor – they virtualize, isolate and secure server, storage and networking resources across pools of hardware resources, to deliver a rich set of infrastructural services and SLAs that are necessarily not OS-specific.

Rest of Blog Post

Blogroll Update

I have recently added a new blog to the blogroll and thought I would make everyone aware of the various blogs that are linked from the blog.

Ian Blenke Xen –
John Levon (Sun) on Xen –
Kris Buytaert on Xen  –
Linux Tutorial –
Muli Ben-Yehuda on Xen  –
Raskas’ Xen –
Slicehost VPS –
Xen Support –

Submitting Patches to Community

The community has published an updated Wiki page with all you need to know about creating and submitting patches:

Also, there has been some discussion in xen-devel lately about some patches not being commented on or accepted by the tree maintainer. Here are some thoughts form George Dunlap that clarify the issue:

I believe the accepted protocol is to re-send the patch after 2-4 weeks, with a comment to the effect that you didn’t get a response last time; perhaps with the [RESEND] in the subject line, to alert people that the last mail was dropped?

Obviously it would be nice if everyone got a comment the first time, but that’s not always possible.  This method may seem a little less friendly, but in fact it has several positive attributes:
* It distributes the responsibility of keeping track of patches, rather than having a centralized location
* It naturally filters out low-interest patches.  If neither the submitter nor others on the list find it interesting, they naturally get dropped instead of piling up in a queue somewhere; whereas, if the submitter considers it interesting and important, he will persist until he gets a response.

The main difficulty is letting new people know the policy: don’t take it hard if you don’t get a response, just re-send after a few weeks.

In an effort to promote the policy, I am promoting the Wiki page as well as adding this blog post. If you have any questions on this policy, please contact me directly at

Xen LiveCD 2.0

I recently had a need to run the Xen hypervisor on my laptop but didn’t need a complete installation as I only had a one-off project – So, I tested out the Xen LiveCD 2.0 project currently available at I did the following actions which allowed me to burn a LiveCD and then run the Xen hypervisor without any local installation.

  1. Burn the CD – I downloaded the i386 iso image from the LiveCD site to my local Fedora 11 machine. I then hooked up my CD burner with a blank CD to my laptop and ran the following command as root: wodim -v livecd-xen-3.2-0.8.2-i386.iso
  2. Run the CD – I rebooted my machine and made changes to my BIOS to allow for the CD-ROM to have priority on machine startup as well as ensured that my VT-d was enabled.
  3. Xen Hypervisor – I selected the 32-bit Debian Dom0 option from the grub menu and within a few minutes I had a Dom0 Debian kernel running with 2 DomUs started; 2 other DomUs can be started at a later time.

(NOTE: The LiveCD also works with AMD64 and there is a separate download for that solution)

I highly recommend this product to anyone wanting to try the Xen hypervisor without doing a full installation. Thanks go out to Thiago Martins for his hard work in putting together this great LiveCD tool for the community.