Category Archives: User Story

A user explains how they employ Xen Project software

Xen Summit / Xen Directions Asia 2010

As many of you know, XenSummit Asia 2010, originally planned for Nov 3-4 in Seoul, Korea, is being postponed. The current plan is to push back the event by about a month, and possibly expand it to include a user “XenDirections” track.

Until we hire a new community Xen.org community manager, I will be the main Citrix contact for this event.

To help us plan, I’ve put together a survey, which can be found here. If you’re possibly interested in attending either a developer summit or a user event, please fill it out; and pass it along to people you know who may be interested.

Xen – KVM – Linux – and the Community

At Xen Summit last week, several community members and I discussed the issues around the recent launch of RHEL without Xen and its implications for Xen and the Xen.org community. I thought that I would share my opinions with a wider audience via this blog and hopefully get feedback from the Xen community on this important topic. So, feel free to comment on this post or send me mail privately if you wish to express your opinion to just me.

Firstly, I would like to offer my congratulations to the KVM community for the successful launch of their solution in Red Hat 6 shipping later this year. We in the Xen.org community are very supportive of all open source projects and believe that innovations made in the Linux kernel for virtualization can equally be shared by KVM and Xen developers to further improve open source virtualization hypervisors. I look forward to KVM and Xen working together to ensure interoperability, common formats, and management interfaces to provide customers with the maximum flexibility in moving virtual machines between hypervisors as well as simplifying overall virtualization management infrastructure. Xen.org is currently promoting the DMTF management standard for virtualization and cloud computing and welcome the KVM community to join with us by leveraging our OVF and DMTF SVPC implementations.

Many Linux community members and technology press have been busy the past few weeks writing off Xen as no longer relevant based on the launch of KVM. I have enjoyed reading the many articles written about this and thought I would add some insight to help customers, companies, and journalists better understand the differences between KVM and Xen. KVM is a type-2 hypervisor built into the Linux kernel as a module and will ship with any Linux distribution moving forward as no work is required for the Linux distributions to add KVM. Having a virtualization platform built-in to the Linux kernel will be valuable to many customers looking for virtualization within a Linux based infrastructure; however these customers will lose the flexibility to run a bare-metal hypervisor, configure the hypervisor independent of the host operating system, and provide machine level security as a guest can bring down the operating system on KVM. Xen, on the other hand is a type-1 hypervisor built independent of any operating system and is a complete separate layer from the operating system and hardware and is seen by the community and customers as an Infrastructure Virtualization Platform to build their solutions upon. In fact, the Xen.org community is not in the business of building a complete solution, but rather a platform for companies and users to leverage for their virtualization and cloud solutions. In fact, the Xen hypervisor is found in many unique solutions today from standard server virtualization to cloud providers to grid computing platforms to networking devices, etc.

To get a better understanding of how Xen.org operates, you must understand what the mission and goal of the Xen.org community is:

  • Build the industry standard open source hypervisor
    • Core “engine” in multiple vendor’s products
  • Maintain Xen’s industry leading performance
    • First to exploit new hardware virtualization features
  • Help OS vendors paravirtualize their OSes
  • Maintain Xen’s reputation for stability and quality
  • Support multiple CPU types for large and small systems
  • Foster innovation
  • Drive interoperability

This mission statement has been in place for many years in Xen.org and is an accurate reflection of our community.  It is our most important mission to create an industry standard open source hypervisor that is a core engine in other vendor’s products. Clearly, Xen.org has succeeded in this mission as many companies including Amazon, GoGrid, RackSpace, Novell, Oracle, Citrix, Avaya, Fujitsu, VA Linux, and others are leveraging our technology as a core feature in their solutions. It is not the intention of Xen.org to build a competitive packaged solution for the marketplace, but rather create a best of breed open source technology that is available for anyone to leverage.  This distinction is critical to understand as many people are confused as to why Xen.org does not compete or market against other technologies such as VMWare, HyperV, and KVM. Our goal is to create the best hypervisor possible without any focus on creating a complete packaged solution for customers. We embrace the open model of allowing customers to choose from various solutions to create their optimal solution.

Xen.org also spends a great deal of developer effort in performance testing as well as ensuring that we leverage efforts from hardware companies such as AMD and Intel to support the latest available hardware technologies. For example, Xen 4.0 supports the latest in SR-IOV cards which are just now being shipped to customers.

The third bullet on the mission statement can now be checked off as Xen.org has been instrumental in the efforts to upstream DomU paravirtualization software into the Linux kernel so all Linux distributions are now available for paravirtualization with no user changes required.  Xen.org is also working to upstream changes for our Dom0 kernel  to Linux and is being led by Jeremy Fitzhardinge and Konrad Wilk who recently updated the community on their work at Xen Summit; slides here. As Xen is not written as a Linux module or specially for Linux only deployments, it takes additional efforts to properly include Xen dom0 support into the Linux kernel. The community is always open to new contributors to assist Jeremy and Konrad on their development project and can contact me for next steps.  Finally, it is worth remembering that a Dom0 for Xen can run on NetBSD, FreeBSD, Solaris, or other operating system and is not a Linux only solution. Xen continues to embrace the customer choice model in Dom0 operating system selection which is part of our core mission.

The remaining bullets also reflect what you see in Xen.org as we look to support customer choice in all computing elements as well as ensuring that Xen.org leads the industry in pushing the envelope in new features for hypervisors.

As you can see, Xen.org’s mission is not to create a stand-alone, Linux-only competitive product that is a single packaged offering for end-users. Instead, we focus exclusively on building the best open source hypervisor technology in the marketplace and allow others to leverage our technology in any manner they wish with a maximum amount of flexibility for processor choice, Dom0 operating system , DomU virtualization, management tools, storage tools, etc. This flexibility along with  technology capability is a competitive advantage for customers and companies that choose Xen. Going forward, the Xen.org community will continue to focus on these goals as we include our new Xen Cloud Platform project  and Xen Client Initiative into the technology deliverables from our open source community.

Xen Community Participation

When it comes to open source communities, most people think of contributing via software development,  product testing, and online support. While all these areas are critically important to the community, there are other ways that people can contribute.  In this blog post, I would like to list some ideas for people looking to add value to the Xen.org community:

  • Documentation – There is always a need for better documentation (especially in multiple languages) . There is an ongoing document project at http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Xen3.xDocumentUpdateProject; we are always looking for areas to work on and people to assist in writing the documents
  • Wiki - The current Xen.org wiki -http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/FrontPage is available in English, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and French. We always need more languages or additional translation for these languages. Wiki Translation page is http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/XenTranslation
  • Event Speakers – The Xen.org community always benefits from people presenting at various events around the world about the Xen Hypervisor and the community. Slides are available in English and Spanish to assist in building a presentation.  (Would like to have other languages available as well). Please post on the blog or let me know what events you are speaking at.
  • User Groups – Start your own user group! Both Brazil and Italy have groups and I am looking to further expand our global community.
  • Xen.org Champions Group – A group of community members interested in sharing ideas and supporting all marketing efforts associated with the Xen.org community and Xen hypervisor. More details at http://xenchampions.ning.com/
  • Specific Language Mailing Lists – We currently have a Xen community mailing list for Japanese speakers – xen-japanese@lists.xensource.com – and can easily setup another language if necessary.
  • Xen.org Event Participation - Both Xen Summits and Xen Directions events require community support in reviewing and selecting topics for the final agenda; Xen Summit/Directions Program Committee.  All community members are encouraged to participate in a Program Committee
  • Xen.org Case Studies – Help find or write a Xen case study; showing the user community the value of the open source Xen hypervisor is of great value to the project’s success. Current case studies at http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Xen_Case_Studies
  • Blog, Blog, Blog – The Xen.org community has an open blog for anyone wanting to publish at http://blog.xenproject.org. If you wish to become an author, contact me for full rights. I also have a Blogroll on the page and will add any Xen related blog – just contact me.
  • Twitter, Twitter, Twitter – I have started to post Xen.org related information as xen_com_mgr and have over 200 followers including several people who are also posting Xen.org info such as XenHypervisor, XceptN, timbury, diegomarino. If you are on twitter, please let me know so I can follow you.
  • Social Networks –  I am currently aware of  Xen related groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Ohloh, Xing, & Plaxo. You can find links to all these groups at http://www.xen.org/community/. Take some time to answer questions on these groups or post information about Xen.  If you are running another group or aware of another network, please let me know.

Of course, this is just a list of possible ways that you can contribute to the Xen.org community beyond the standard develop, test, and support. If you have other ideas please add comments or send me an email. I look forward to the continuing success of Xen and the community.

Community Manager Goals for 2009

Welcome to 2009 and what looks to be an amazing year for the Xen.org community and Xen hypervisor project. With 4 Xen Summits being planned for North America, Europe, and Asia as well as new efforts in Latin America, I expect this to be a breakout year across the globe. In addition, the upcoming release of the Xen Client Initiative’s foundational efforts for a Xen client hypervisor should keep everyone busy working on new innovations in both client and server virtualization.

As the community manager, I would like to share my three goals for the year to better assist the community. As is customary, I look forward to your thoughts and ideas for these focus areas:

1. Global – I plan to move the project to a new level of globalization in terms of language support for the website, wiki, and documentation as well as provide new opportunities for community members from around the world to meet in person or virtually to share ideas, etc.

2. Community – I plan to expand the current community by reaching out to users, researchers, testers, and developers that are currently not fully engaged but looking for ways to help. This work is already underway with the new social networking Xen communities in Facebook, Ohloh, LinkedIn, Xing, etc. I also plan to spend more time leveraging these existing tools for the betterment of our community.

3. Xen Summits and Events – I am very excited to see the expansion of Xen Summit from a primarily North American event to a series of global meetings with plans for Berlin and possibly China or South Korea in 2009. The recent success of Xen Summit in Tokyo, hosted by Fujitsu, shows the demand that exists for these events. I am also looking forward to a possible sponsorship of an event in Brazil as well as our first ever booth sponsorship at NGDC/LinuxWorld in August 2009. Along with these community meetings, we will continue to support and expand upon our Xen hypervisor training series at USENIX events.

I look forward to a great 2009 and want to again thank everyone in the Xen.org community for helping to make the Xen hypervisor the leading open source virtualization solution. Please contact me with any ideas or questions you have.

2008 Xen.org Community Yearly Review

Xen Community:

As I finish my first year as community manager for Xen.org, I thought I would take a few moments to highlight some of the community’s accomplishments for 2008. If you want more details, I have added a relevant web link or you can contact me directly. I would also like to thank each of you for your commitment to Xen and look forward to an even busier 2009 as we continue to establish Xen as the open source hypervisor of choice; globally!

2008 Xen.org Highlights…

  1. Xen Product Releases
    1. Xen 3.3 , Xen 3.2.2, Xen 3.2.1,  & Xen 3.1.4
    2. Xen 3.3 Feature Descriptions
  2. Xen Summit
    1. North America (hosted by Citrix)
    2. Asia (hosted by Fujitsu)
  3. Xen Hypervisor Training
    1. USENIX Annual Technical Conference
    2. USENIX LISA
  4. Xen.org Website
    1. Layout update including new Google News – “Xen Hypervisor” – on home page
    2. Community Blog – 7 Authors, 203 Posts, 104 Comments, & 258 Tags
    3. Community Profiles – 60 members profiled including start of “Meet a Community Member
    4. Projects Page – 19 projects listed plus SourceForge.net Project Document
    5. Case Studies – ATG, Brandeis University, Time Machine, Pivot3
    6. Mailing List Search Tool – Public search of every Xen.org mailing list using MarkMail.org
    7. Xen Bug Tracking
    8. New Mailing Lists – xen-community, xen-japanese, xen-introspect
  5. Xen Trademark Policy
    1. Published Trademark Policy from Xen Advisory Board & Community Review of Trademark Policy
  6. Xen Social Networking
    1. LinkedIn, Facebook. Ohloh, Xing, and Plaxo

2009 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for Xen.org with several activities already scheduled:

  • Xen Summit North America (Oracle) – Feb 24 – 25, 2009
  • Xen Summit Europe (LinuxTAG) – June, 2009
  • Xen.org Sponsorship of Next Generation Data Center – August 11 – 12, 2009

Once again, thanks for all your contributions in 2008 and I look forward to working with you in 2009.

New Project: Ganeti

We have added a new project to the projects page: Ganeti

Ganeti is a tool for the management of Virtualization clusters. It offers very easy management of systems with multiple virtualization servers and deployment of instances on these. It includes user-transparent setup of mirrored disks for these nodes with DRBD, running commands on all cluster noes and distributing files on the whole cluster.
Experimental support for HVM Xen is available, and support of KVM as Hypervisor, as well as libvirt for controlling the systems is in development.

It was originally developed in house at Google for internal usage on test systems, and as 1.0 released after a while under the GPL license.