Tag Archives: xen project developer summit

A Tale of Two Amazing Open Source Hypervisors

Born in the logic of ones and zeroes and forged in the heat of battle, two hypervisors–sworn foes in the realm of virtualization–are about to unite in a way many never thought possible. Over beer and code.

Join the teams behind Xen Project Developer Summit and KVM Forum in Seattle as they co-host a social event that will rock the virtualization world. On August 18, 2015, at the close of the Xen Project Developer Summit and on the eve of KVM Forum, attendees of both events can come together and collaborate in the best way possible: with crudites and hors d’oeuvres (and beer).

Virtualization is one of the most important technologies in IT today, so it makes perfect sense for the two best hypervisor projects to collaborate and socialize at an event that celebrates their similarities and bridges that gap between all things KVM and Xen.

virtlogos

The party will get started Tuesday, August 18, at a time and location to be announced shortly! Attendees of both conferences are welcome to come and join the fun and be reminded of what open source is all about.

And before raising a pint to toast to friends both old and new, there’ll be an opportunity for some serious coding. So, if you’re a KVM contributor, a Xen zealot, or a power user of XenServer or oVirt, the joint KVM Forum and Xen Project Developer Summit Hackaton is the place to be during daylight hours.

The hackathon will be held on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, in the Virginia Room, 4th Floor, Union St. Tower of the Sheraton Seattle from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Aiming to foster technical collaboration between the two best hypervisors in IT today, the event will enable participants to learn more about what makes each project work, as well as to delve into work on libvirt code that could bridge the gaps between Xen and KVM. Bring your laptops, your ideas, and your code and help improve open source virtualization for the good of both projects. Collaboration is what makes open source truly great, so come be a part of greatness.

Finally, we all know greatness is nothing to be shy about, so we encourage Xen ecosystem developers, contributors and users to submit a speaking proposal for Xen Project Developer Summit.  The CFP is open through May 1. The topics of discussion are nearly endless — from scaling and optimizations, nested virtualization, performance enhancements, and hardening and security to high availability and continuous backup desktop virtualization, new devices, boards and architectures and more. Presenting at #xendevsummit is the excellent way to share your knowledge of all things Xen and help define and plan for the future of Xen. If you’re still looking for inspiration, check out last year’s slides and topics. Register soon to benefit from early bird pricing. See you in Seattle!

Xen Project Developer Summit Videos and Slides

It has been a while since we held the Xen Project Developer Summit. All slides have been posted on our slideshare channel (prefixed with XPDS14) and are also available on youtube. Slides and videos are also available on the presentation & video page of our website (again, just search for XPDS14). A few videos are still missing, due to editing issues and will follow shortly.

A few of my personal highlights

Xen 4.4 Retrospective and 4.5 Roadmap

Talk by George Dunlap and Konrad R Wilk covering the how we managed the Xen Project 4.4 release and the 4.5 Roadmap. You may also want to check out information related to our first Xen 4.5 Release candidate.

Xen as High-Performance NFV Platform

Towards Massive Server Consolidation

Although not entirely related, the following talk shows some experiments and improvements to Xen which NEC has performed which allow up to 10K guests to run on a Xen host.

Embedded topics

The following talks were interesting and relevant for new use cases, such as automotive, Xen Project in avionics and similar,

Unikernels and Library OS’es

If you are interested in Unikernels, check out the following talks:

Of course, there are many more. Enjoy!

Mirage OS v2.0: The new features

The first release of Mirage OS back in December 2013 introduced the prototype of the unikernel concept, which realised the promise of a safe, flexible mechanism to build highly optimized software stacks purpose-built for deployment in the public cloud (see the overview of Mirage OS for some background). Since then, we’ve been hard at work using and extending Mirage for real projects and the community has been steadily growing.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the release of Mirage OS v2.0! Over the past few weeks the team has been hard at work writing about all the new features in this latest release, which I’ve been busy co-ordinating. Below are summaries of those features and links to in-depth blog posts where you can learn more:

Thomas Leonard's Cubieboard2

Thomas Leonard’s Cubieboard2

ARM device support: While the first version of Mirage was specialised towards conventional x86 clouds, the code generation and boot libraries have now been made portable enough to operate on low-power embedded ARM devices such as the Cubieboard 2. This is a key part of our efforts to build a safe, unified multiscale programming model for both cloud and mobile workloads as part of the Nymote project. We also upstreamed the changes required to the Xen Project so that other unikernel efforts like HalVM or ClickOS can benefit.

Irmin – distributed, branchable storage: Unikernels usually execute in a distributed, disconnection-prone environment (particularly with the new mobile ARM support). We therefore built the Irmin library to explicitly make synchronization easier via a Git-like persistence model that can be used to build and easily trace the operation of distributed applications across all of these diverse environments.

OCaml TLS: The philosophy of Mirage is to construct the entire operating system in a safe programming style, from the device drivers up. This continues in this release with a comprehensive OCaml implementation of Transport Layer Security, the most widely deployed end-to-end encryption protocol on the Internet (and one that is very prone to bad security holes). The series of posts is written by Hannes Mehnert and David Kaloper.

Modularity and communication: Mirage is built on the concept of a library operating system, and this release provides many new libraries to flexibly extend applications with new functionality.

  • Fitting the modular Mirage TCP/IP stack together” by Mindy Preston explains the rather unique modular architecture of our TCP/IP stack that lets you swap between the conventional Unix sockets API, or a complete implementation of TCP/IP in pure OCaml.
  • Vchan: low-latency inter-VM communication channels” by Jon Ludlam shows how unikernels can communicate efficiently with each other to form distributed clusters on a multicore Xen host, by establishing shared memory rings with each other.
  • Modular foreign function bindings” by Jeremy Yallop continues the march towards abstraction by expaining how to interface safely with code written in C, without having to write any unsafe C bindings! This forms the basis for allowing Xen unikernels to communicate with existing libraries that they may want to keep at arm’s length for security reasons.

All the libraries required for these new features are regularly released into the OPAM package manager, so just follow the installation instructions to give them a spin. A release this size probably introduces minor hiccups that may cause build failures, so we very much encourage bug reports on our issue tracker or questions to our mailing lists. Don’t be shy: no question is too basic, and we’d love to hear of any weird and wacky uses you put this new release to! And finally, the lifeblood of Mirage is about sharing and publishing libraries that add new functionality to the framework, so do get involved and open-source your own efforts.

Why CloudStack joining Apache is good news!

Today, Citrix and the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced that it will relicense the CloudStack open source project under the Apache License and contribute the CloudStack code to the ASF. Before I explain why this is good for the Xen community and the Open Cloud, I wanted to congratulate CloudStack to become the first cloud platform in the industry to join the ASF.

CloudStack has always been open source, with Citrix as the vendor behind the project. Moving from a privately operated open source community to the ASF has a number of implications: Citrix is giving up control over the project and it is moving to a collaborative and meritocratic development process, which values community, diversity and openness. For a community guy like me this is really exciting!

So why is this good news for Xen? In fact, the internal discussions preceding this decision already made a big impact: more staff within Citrix are engaged with open source and are actively supporting and understanding projects such as Xen, Linux and of course CloudStack. My experience as open source guy in various organisations is that open source and community can be easily made the responsibility of a few people and then be forgotten about. However, to be truly successful in the long haul, knowledge and support for open source in an organization needs to be broad. In the last few months the level of understanding and support for Xen across Citrix has increased hugely. You may not yet see the impact of all this: good initiatives and change need planning and take time. Don’t get me wrong: on many counts Xen is a very successful project. We have an active developer community, we have a huge user base, many successful products and businesses were built on Xen, etc. But the project could have done and can do better!

When I was at Scale 10x earlier this year, Greg DeKoenigsberg from Eucalyptus said in his keynote that most cloud projects are open source today, well sort of! To me that said it all: the more cloud related projects move from single vendor driven projects to independent and community driven projects, the better for the user and the “Open Cloud”. Why? Simple: independent projects increase the user’s ability to be in control of their infrastructure by influencing the projects they care about. Thus, CloudStack becoming an Apache project, is a major milestone for achieving a better and more open cloud. Of course, the same thinking lies behind the creation of the OpenStack Foundation, which we will hopefully see later this year.

Book Review: The Starfish and the Spider

I wanted to update the community on an interesting book I read over the holiday period that may be of interest to you; as an open source community member. The Starfish and the Spider – the Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. I received a recommendation to read this book during a recent trip and finally had some time over the holidays to do some reading.

The book discusses how decentralized organizations are able to not only compete but also thrive in our current Internet based culture. Using common examples that many of us are familiar with such as eBay, Skype, and Wikipedia the authors are able to easily demonstrate how these oragnizational structures are quickly chaning long standing industries. The book is a faily quick read and while not going into too much depth, does offer enough quaility points to make you think about the concepts. As an added benefit to those of us with MBAs, there is even a chapter focused on Peter Drucker, the MBA guru himself.

I recommend everyone in the community take some time to read this book as I believe it speaks clearly to us open sourcers…