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Virtualization and Linux--A Primer (Part 2)

Xen

  • December 14, 2006
  • By Carla Schroder

Last week we flew over the virtualization landscape and got a peek at the lay of the land. Today we'll look at some of the Linux applications for implementing virtualization: Xen, User-Mode Linux, VMWare, chroot jails, and OpenVZ.

As the current darling of virtualization, Xen gets to go first. Everyone wants Xen, especially version 3.0 which runs unmodified guest operating systems on supported hardware. How can you get your hands on it and start testing it? The easy way is to use a Linux distribution that supports Xen out of the box. You'll find it in Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Fedora Core 6 and the Xen LiveCD Demo. Mandriva Corporate Server outdoes everyone by including Xen, VMWare, and OpenVZ.

In addition, Debian Unstable and Testing users can apt-get their way into Xen, with a sizable number of Xen 3.0 packages to choose from. Mandriva and XenSource offer 30-day free trials. (Plea to XenSource: please, for the love of getting information without going insane, quit with the .PDFs and Webinars already. Nice fast plain old HTML pages do the job just fine.)

Is Xen ready for production servers and workstations? It may depend on the implementation--obviously Novell, Mandriva, and XenSource think it's ready for prime-time, and Red Hat is not far behind. I'm not so confident. It's still a baby, and users are reporting various problems. But there's no reason to not set up a test box and start getting acquainted.

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