Xen Project 4.4.4 Maintenance Release is Available

I am pleased to announce the release of Xen 4.4.4. Xen Project Maintenance releases are released in line with our Maintenance Release Policy. We recommend that all users of the 4.4 stable series update to this point release.

Xen 4.4.4 is available immediately from its git repository:

    xenbits.xenproject.org/gitweb/?p=xen.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/stable-4.4
    (tag RELEASE-4.4.4)

or from the Xen Project download page at www.xenproject.org/downloads/xen-archives/xen-44-series/xen-444.html.

This release contains many bug fixes and improvements. For a complete list of changes in this release, please check lists of changes on the download page.

Note that this is the last Xen Project coordinated release of the 4.4 stable series. The tree will be switched to security only maintenance mode after this release.

Why GlobalLogic Uses Xen (Overheard at CES)

We were lucky to have the opportunity to meet up with GlobalLogic at CES and talk to them about their Nautilus platform for automotive virtualization. A few years ago, no one understood why the company was demoing hypervisor technology as a part of Nautilus, a set of solution accelerators that includes architectural concepts, a modified Android OS distribution, and advanced UI concepts. Today, however, no one is questioning why they are using virtualization.

As Alex Agizim, CTO of GlobalLogic told us, “People now clearly understand why Xen is needed to implement the functionality that the market demands. The ability to consolidate different systems on a single computer to gain time to market offers tremendous advantages. Virtualization also offers more flexible functionality and all the benefits of an open world, yet the system is very well controlled with security and stability. The Xen hypervisor is the right solution to allow GlobalLogic to accomplish this.”

If you want to learn more about the technology behind Nautilus and how GlobalLogic’s GPU virtualization solution enables multiple domains to share the GPU hardware with no more than a 5 percent overall drop in performance, check out Agizim’s latest byline on Linux.com or better yet, check out this demo.

IMG_20160107_192243524 (1).jpg

ARM hosts Xen Project Hackathon, April 18-19 in Cambridge, UK

I am pleased to announce the next Xen Project Hackathon. The Hackathon will be hosted by ARM in their Cambridge Headquarters from April 18 and 19. I wanted to thank Philippe Robin and Thomas Molgaard from ARM for hosting the Hackathon.

ARMARM designs technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products and has built a broad partner community that increasingly embraces an open source and collaborative development model to keep pace with transitions in the industry. Enabling developer collaboration on open source projects, like Xen, is key to help optimize support for system virtualization. ARM is pleased to host and support this event.

What to expect at a Xen Project 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. And, of course, the event will allow everyone to meet in person and build relationships. To facilitate this, we will have a social event on the evening of the 18th. We will cover many hot topics such as the latest Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7 features, planning for the next Xen Project Hypervisor release, Cloud Integration, Cloud Operating Systems, Mirage OS as well as Xen Project in emerging segments such as embedded, mobile, automotive and NFV. But, at the end of the day, the community will chose the topics that are covered — more on our process here below.

To ensure that the event runs efficiently, we adhere to the following process: Each day is divided into several segments. We will have a number of work areas that are labelled with numbers (or other unique identifiers). Each morning starts with a plenary and scheduling session. Every attendee who cares about a topic can announce a topic, which we will map against a work area and time-slot. This makes it easy for other attendees to participate in projects and discussions they care about. We also encourage attendees to highlight projects they plan to share before the event by adding them to our wiki.

We will wrap up each day with another short plenary session: the aim of this session is to summarize what was done, show brief demos and make improvements to the process.

To give you a sense of the venue, we attached a few pictures of the venue:

ARM Cambridge Arm Cambridge Panorama ARM Cambridge Atrium

How to Register?

As spaces at the Xen Project Hackathon are limited, we are asking attendees to request an invitation. You will need to cover your own travel, accommodation and other costs such as evening meals, etc. We do have a very limited number of travel stipends available for individuals who cannot afford to travel. Please contact community dot manager at xenproject dot org if you need to make use of it.

Reports from Previous Hackathons

More Information

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.

Future of Xen Project: Video Spotlight Interview with Citrix’s George Dunlap

In this video, George Dunlap Senior Engineer of Citrix explains how and why Citrix works with the Xen Project, why companies use Xen Project Hypervisor, and new opportunities for the future of this technology.

Citrix Systems designs, develops and markets technology solutions that enable information technology (IT) services. Citrix has always been committed to the community and consistent in its principles of transparency and neutrality, helping the Xen Project maintain its position as one of the leading open source hypervisors.

One of the major benefits of being a part of the Xen Project is the multiplier benefit that comes with contributing code to open source communities. For example, if Citrix contributes 25% of the code, the equivalent of hiring 25 engineers, it receives 100 engineers’ worth of development as part of the Xen Project. This helps Citrix build the most efficient enterprise products possible and also allows the company to take an active role in leading the Xen Project Hypervisor into the future.

How has this collaboration been put into action? Most recently, Xen Project announced its 4.6 release, which was built into Citrix’s XenServer Dundee (this recently entered beta 1).*

As virtualization moves beyond simply being used for services, and expands into networks, mobile, automotive, and more embedded systems, features like isolation for security, lightweight for mobile, and high performance will continue to help Xen Project Hypervisor grow and support the next stage in cloud computing and virtualization. And Citrix will be there to help further this growth.

*XenServer Dundee has not been released and its feature set has not been finalized.

 

Xen Project Contributor Training v2

Two weeks ago, I embarked onto a road trip to China with the aim to meet Xen Project users as well as contributors. I visited a number of vendors in Hangzhou and Beijing on this trip. Part of the objective was to give training to new contributors and developers, and to strengthen existing relationships.

Hypervisor contributions from Chinese developers

Hypervisor contributions from Chinese developers

A year ago I travelled to China and pioneered our developer training, because many of our Chinese developers had some challenges working with the community. The good news is that the training activities have helped, which can be seen in contribution statistics. This leads us to the “bad news”: a new group of developers joined the community, who could benefit from training. In addition, a lot of process and operational changes are currently discussed or have recently taken place within our community.

What is remarkable, is that many of the latest contributors to the project have only recently graduated from University (in 2014 or 2015). Working with the Xen Project and Linux was often their first experience with open source. Working with open source projects is not always easy, in particular when doing so in a non-native language and with a manager behind you, who expects that you get a feature into an open source project by a certain time. In addition, as a community we need to balance the needs of different stake-holders (enterprise, cloud, embedded, security companies) and make informed decisions on the relative importance of new features vs. quality vs. security vs. … which has led to increasingly strict criteria and more and more scrutiny, when reviewing code contributions. This means, that contributing to the project for the first time can sometimes feel like a real challenge. Part of the reason why I regularly travel to China, is to explain what is happening in the community, to explain that all members of the community can influence and shape how the project is run and to understand local community issues and address them as they occur.

Contributor Training v2

Since the creation of the training material last autumn, there have been a few changes in how the project operates. Most notably in the Security Vulnerability Management Process and Release Management. Many other areas of how the project operates are also being reviewed and discussed. The goals behind these discussions and proposed changes intend …

  • to make the communities’ development processes more efficient and scalable.
  • to make conscious decisions about trade-offs, such ease of feature contribution vs. quality and security.
  • to make it easier for newcomers to join the project.
  • to encourage more contributors to review other people’s code, test our software, write test code and make other non-code contributions to the project.

Thus, I updated our training material to reflect these changes and added new material. It is divided into 4 separate modules, each of which takes approximately 2.5 hours to deliver. The training decks are designed as reference material for self-study. Each training module has many examples and embedded links in it. The material is available from our Developer Intro Portal as slides or as PDFs. I embedded the updated and new training modules into this blog for your convenience:

If you have any questions, feel free to ask by contacting me via community dot manager at xenproject dot org and I will improve the material based on feedback. My plan is to keep the training material up-to-date and to modify it as new questions and new challenges arise.