Monthly Archives: February 2012

Announcing Project Zeus: XenAPI in Fedora, CentOS and the EPEL

The XCP team would like to announce Project Zeus, our port of the XCP toolstack to Fedora and CentOS (through the EPEL). This is a follow-on to Project Kronos, which brought the XCP toolstack to Debian-based systems. This will give users the ability to do ‘yum install xcp-xapi’ to build a system that is functionally equivalent to the normal XCP. Our target for this project is Fedora 17, which will be released in May.

We don’t have any code to share yet, but packaging is currently underway. We will be able to reuse most of the work that we did in Project Kronos to port xapi to Debian, so Zeus should take significantly less effort to accomplish. I’d like to thank Pasi Kärkkäinen, M A Young, David Nalley and Eric Christensen for volunteering to lead the packaging effort. Here are some useful links:

Xen @ Virtual Build a Cloud Day

Virtual Build a Cloud Day will be dedicated to teaching users how to build and manage a cloud computing environment using free and open source software. The program is designed to expose attendees to the concepts and best practices around deploying cloud computing infrastructure.

I’ll be presenting the XCP talk tomorrow:

For more details of the event see:

Even if you can’t attend all the sessions feel free to sign-up and we’ll make our best effort to get you links to recordings and slide decks after the event.

Next Xen Document Day : Feb 27

Just a quick reminder that the next Xen Document Day is coming up. Xen Document Days are always on the last Monday of each month (unless they clash with another Xen event). Document Days are all-day on-line IRC event with the aim to

  • Improve user documentation
  • Improve developer documentation, including the creation of man pages, etc.

There is no hard start and end to the event, but volunteers in the UK will be on-line on Feb 27th from around 9:00 UTC+1 until around 18:00 UTC+1, and then volunteers from the US will take over. We are still looking for volunteers in Asia to kick the event off. The event will be take place on freenode channel #xendocday

You can find more information on the Document Day Wiki. We also have a An intial work item lists and what we agreed on can be found on the Documentation Day Etherpad.

See you on IRC!

Initial patches for Xen ARMv7 with Virtualization Extensions applied to xen-unstable.

Back in november we announced our effort to port Xen to the ARM Cortex-A15 / ARMv7 with virt extensions. I am very pleased to say that as of xen-unstable.hg changeset 24741:fb71a97fe339 the initial patches for this port are now part of the mainline Xen code base and will be release (albeit in highly experimental form) in the Xen 4.2 release.

The main archtectural decision which underlies this port is that it requires the ARM virtualisation extensions and has been built from the ground up to follow a hyrbid model which both makes maximum use of the hardware’s capabilities and exploits paravirtualisation where appropriate. We’ve found the virtualisation extensions to be very well thought out and easy to use which has contributed massively to our ability to get something up and running so quickly with so little effort. For example the extensions include instructions for walking each of the various page tables which you might be using as well as proving a decode of the faulting instruction when trapping to the hypervisor. These allow us to skip writing both our own page table walkers and instruction decoders — both of which are often large chunks of code which are subtle to get right.

The current state of the port is that it will boot a Linux domain 0 kernel to a command line prompt in a Cortex-A15 simulator (no actual hardware is available yet). Next on our list is to get basic Xen tools support working so that we can start work on bringing up our first proper guest.

For more information on this port of Xen please see the Xen ARMv7 with Virtualization Extensions wiki page. We also have a DevFAQ and a guide to obtaining and building the FastModels simulator platform.

XCP 1.5 Beta now available

I’m happy to announce that XCP 1.5 Beta is available! This release comes with a number of new features, most notably the Xen 4.1 hypervisor. Please go to the downloads page to download and test the beta release. If you would like to report a possible bug, please email the xen-api mailing list with the subject “XCP 1.5 BETA BUG: <subject>” (and see this for a list of bug reporting guidelines for the Xen community).

  • Host Architectural Improvements. XCP 1.5 now runs on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, provides GPT support and a smaller, more scalable Dom0.
  • GPU Pass-Through. Enables a physical GPU to be assigned to a VM providing high-end graphics.
  • Increased Performance and Scale. Supported limits have been increased to 1 TB memory for XCP hosts, and up to 16 virtual processors and 128 GB virtual memory for VMs. Improved XCP Tools with smaller footprint.
  • Networking Improvements. Open vSwitch is now the default networking stack in XCP 1.5 and now provides formal support for Active-Backup NIC bonding.
  • SR-IOV Improvements. Improved scalability and certification with the SR-IOV Test Kit. Experimental SR-IOV with XenMotion support with Solarflare SR-IOV adapters.
  • Integrated Site Recovery (Disaster Recovery). Remote data replication between storage arrays with fast recovery and failback capabilities. Integrated Site Recovery works with any iSCSI or Hardware HBA storage repository.
  • Virtual Appliance Support (vApp). Ability to create multi-VM and boot sequenced virtual appliances (vApps) that integrate with Integrated Site Recovery and High Availability. vApps can be easily imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard.
  • VM Import & Export Improvements. Full support for VM disk and OVF appliance imports directly from XenCenter with the ability to change VM parameters (virtual processor, virtual memory, virtual interfaces, and target storage repository) with the Import wizard. Full OVF import support for XCP, XenConvert and VMware.
  • Enhanced Guest OS Support. Support for Ubuntu 10.04 (32/64-bit). Updated support for Debian Squeeze 6.0 64-bit, Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.0 (32/64-bit) and SLES 10 SP4 (32/64-bit). Experimental VM templates for CentOS 6.0 (32/64-bit), Ubuntu 10.10 (32/64-bit) and Solaris 10.

Note that XCP 1.5 is the open source edition of Citrix XenServer 6.0.

4 weeks to Xen Hackathon in Santa Clara, CA, USA

Just a quick reminder that it is only 4 weeks to the Oracle hosted Xen Hackathon in Santa Clara, CA, USA (March 6-8). More than half of the available spaces have gone.

What is a Xen Hackathon

The aim of the Hackathon is to give developers the opportunity to meet face to face to discuss development, coordinate, write code and collaborate with other developers as well as allowing everyone to put names with faces. People working on documentation and other aspects of Xen, XCP, XenARM and related projects are also welcome.

There is no registration fee. However as an attendee you will need to cover your own travel, accommodation and other costs such as evening meals etc. Xen Hackathons are not invite only, but of course it only makes sense for you to attend if you are trying to solve a concrete code or design problem around Xen and in particular if others that attend are working on something similar.

Signing up!

If you are planning to attend please sign up quickly, such that I get a feeling for the number of attendees.

  • If you think you will attend please sign up on the Wiki page
  • If you think you may attend, but are not sure yet add you can sign up provisionally (please follow instructions on the Wiki page)

Please also add topics and stuff you want to cover.

Thank you to Oracle

I wanted to thank Oracle and in particular Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk and Monica Kumar for making the Hackathon happen.

See you there!