Author Archives: Russell Pavlicek

Xen Project Starts the New Year with a Bang!

January Features Major Xen Project Activities at Two of the Biggest FOSS Conferences of the Year!

The Xen Project is starting 2016 on a high note by sponsoring major events at both the largest community-run FOSS conference in North America (SCALE) and the world (FOSDEM). In addition to a flurry of technical talks in the main program of each conference, Xen Project is organizing additional co-located events.

Unikernels and More: Cloud Innovators Forum (CIF16) Comes to Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE)

Xen Project is proud to announce the world’s most wide-ranging Unikernel user event ever held! We have a full day of talks which cover everything from the basics of Unikernels to building Unikernels to reworking the cloud to adapt to the realities of Unikernels. We have speakers from some of the biggest research companies (like IBM, NEC, and Ericsson) as well as some of the most leading edge organizations. Just take a look at the talk lineup:

To join us, simply register at the SCALE 14x website.

And all this is in addition to a couple Xen Project talks in the SCALE program itself:

Xen Project talks at FOSDEM

As in past years, the Xen Project will have a booth and demos at FOSDEM and is well represented at FOSDEM Devrooms.

To join us, simply attend FOSDEM (no registration required) and enjoy the talks.

Xen Project Test Day for 4.6 RC4 Scheduled for October 1

Our Fourth (and Possibly Final) 4.6 Release Candidate to be Tested This Thursday

TestDayOur Xen Project Test Days help insure that upcoming releases are ready for production, beyond what our automated testing through our Test Lab can accomplish. It is particularly important that our users test out the upcoming release in their own environment. We rely on your functional testing of features, stress-testing, edge case testing, and performance testing to prove that the code is ready for consumption. And this is your opportunity to verify that the new code will continue to work well in your particular situation.

Xen Project 4.6 Release Candidate 4 Testing

Continuing our current release cycle, the Test Day for Xen Project 4.6 RC4 has been set for Thursday, October 1, 2015.

This may be the final RC before release, so the time to test the software is now!

Test Day Information

Additrional information about Test Days can be found here:

Join us on Tuesday in #xentest on Freenode IRC!
Test a Release Candidate! Help others, get help! And have fun!

Our Next Test Day is September 15: Xen Project 4.6 RC3

The Third 4.6 Release Candidate to be Tested on Tuesday

TestDayOur Xen Project Test Days help insure that upcoming releases are ready for production, beyond what our automated testing through our Test Lab can accomplish. It is particularly important that our users test out the upcoming release in their own environment. We rely on your functional testing of features, stress-testing, edge case testing, and performance testing to prove that the code is ready for consumption. And this is your opportunity to verify that the new code will continue to work well in your particular situation.

Xen Project 4.6 Release Candidate 3 Testing

Continuing our current release cycle, the Test Day for Xen Project 4.6 RC3 has been set for Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

Additional Test Days are expected to be scheduled roughly ever other week until Xen Project 4.6 is ready for release.

Test Day Information

Additrional information about Test Days can be found here:

Join us on Tuesday in #xentest on Freenode IRC!
Test a Release Candidate! Help others, get help! And have fun!
If you can’t make Tuesday, remember that Test and Issue Reports are welcome any time.

The Bare-Metal Hypervisor as a Platform for Innovation

In this industry, everyone seems to talk about innovation, but very few platforms exist which foster innovation.  More times than not, “innovation” is simply a buzzword used by some marketing campaign to hawk something about as novel as twenty-year-old accounting software.

Innovation does occur, of course.  But often real innovation leverages what already exists to create something which doesn’t yet exist.  It may borrow from the known, but it produces something previously unknown.  For example, the industry has been going wild over cloud computing in the past few years, but many of the core cloud computing concept are actually old mainframe concepts reimagined in the world of commodity servers.

Making a Place for Innovation to Thrive

A bare-metal hypervisor — like the one produced by the Xen Project — can be an excellent platform for innovation.  We think of hypervisors as old technology, plumbing for newer technologies like cloud — and, indeed, they are.  But the nature of the bare-metal hypervisor makes it an excellent platform for innovation to take place.

Continue reading

Xen Project Now an Easy Option in OpenStack

Recent Changes Let Xen Project Work Out of the Box in OpenStack

Members of the Xen Project development team have always believed that the hypervisor must be available for integration into other Open Source projects.  In particular, the initiators of the Xen Project envisioned the day when compute resources would be available in a dynamic form, which has since been codified in the technology we now call Cloud Computing.

However, most members of the project team have usually left the details of integration into other projects to those interested individuals who were participating in those other projects.  In the case of OpenStack, however, it became apparent that the Xen Project team would need to be engaged to make the integration as transparent as it should be.

Improvements to Libvirt

Xen Project has always supported the libvirt toolset, but in recent years, the quality of integration into libvirt has suffered.  As libvirt has become a key cross-platform integration technology in recent years, this deficiency became problematic with OpenStack and other projects which rely on libvirt.

But over the past year, Jim Fehlig has led the charge to bring Xen Project support in libvirt up to par.  In addition, the interface had to be re-engineered to use the libxenlight library which has become the predominant interface for Xen Project in the past few releases.  The needed improvements have made integration into OpenStack reasonable.  But that was only the beginning of the battle.

OpenStack Involvement and Improvements

Even with greatly improved libvirt support, OpenStack itself had to use the interface in a way which made sense with the Xen Project Hypervisor.  The existing integration logic within OpenStack was good, but it needed a couple of patches to make basic functions work correctly.  Anthony Perard stepped in and produced the needed patches which have recently been accepted into OpenStack.

This marks the beginning of an increasing involvement of Xen Project within the OpenStack community.  In addition to committing to make the hypervisor work well within OpenStack, the Xen Project team has begun making plans to eventually raise the hypervisor from Group C support in OpenStack to Group A.  Also, Xen Project developers will be examining ways to help make the hypervisor even more usable in OpenStack in the future.

Greatly Improved Documentation

If you looked for OpenStack integration information on the Xen Project Wiki just 6 months ago, you would have found absolutely nothing dealing with integration via libvirt.  Now, however, you can find information on integrating the hypervisor with OpenStack, a HowTo on building a Xen Project-based Ubuntu OpenStack, instructions on installing DevStack, and more.

Presentations at FOSDEM and openSUSE Mini-Summit, plus a Video Demo

Attendees of this year’s FOSDEM’15 had the opportunity to hear Stefano Stabellini talk about using the Xen Project Hypervisor in OpenStack.  They also had the opportunity to see Anthony Perard’s demonstration of building a functional Xen Project-based DevStack in under 15 minutes, which eventually birthed this HowTo video:

This was followed by a presentation at the openSUSE Mini-Summit at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 13x) given by Peter Linnell of SUSE and Russell Pavlicek.  This presentation discussed how the Xen Project Hypervisor works out-of-the-box with the SUSE OpenStack Cloud.

What Comes Next?

To move the Xen Project Hypervisor to Group B or A in OpenStack, we need a fully functional testbed which can run the required tests every time the OpenStack software is improved.  Our team is already hard at work constructing this testbed so our hypervisor can be promoted to a higher support group.

We may have improved Xen Project’s documentation around OpenStack, but we also need to raise the quality of documentation within the OpenStack itself.  For example, if you look at OpenStack’s Xen Project via Libvirt wiki page, it is (as of this writing) empty.  We need proper documentation to reflect the libvirt integration which is currently used by a variety of OpenStack implementations, both in the OpenStack wiki and in its formal documentation.

Watch our blog for more advances as they happen!

Catch Xen Project Talks at SCALE 13X, openSUSE Mini-Summit, & LF Collaboration Summit This Week

California Gets Four Opportunities in Four Days at Three Conferences to Hear About Xen Project

February 19-22, 2015 has an assortment of great Xen Project talks.

Folks in Santa Rosa, CA at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit have two great talks:

LFCollab

Meanwhile, attendees of SCALE 13X and the co-located openSUSE Mini-Summit in Los Angeles, CA have another great pair of talks available:
SCALE

If you can make it to California this coming week, there is a lot of Xen Project knowledge to absorb!