Notes from MerriLUG: Christoph Doerbeck: Xen on RHEL5

Thirty people attended the April meeting of the Merrimack Valley Linux
User Group, held as usual on the third Thursday of the month at Martha’s
Exchange in Nashua.

Heather did a fine job of welcoming the large crowd, listing some
upcoming events (remember, you can always find them on
http://www.gnhlug.org), and requesting feedback on next month’s topic: a
professional graphics designer has offered to discuss what’s available
in Linux for graphics, but wants feedback on what to focus on: removing
red eye from photographs, structured drawings, etc. Let Heather know
what you’re looking to do with graphics in Linux.

Christoph was the main presenter. He is a Sales Engineer with Red Hat
and has quite a history with Linux/UNIX. He arrived with three laptops
and his own gigabit network to demonstrate several configurations of
virtualization. One laptop lacked the new hardware support and was
relegated to running VMWare. The other two machines (an HP with an AMD
chip with the magick SVx bits, and a “StinkPad” – his term, not mine! –
with the Intel VTx/VTi capabilities) were capable of using Xen with full
or para-virtualization. Christoph demonstrated both, and used the three
machines to show how a virtual machine could be transferred from one
machine to the other. Suspending and moving the VM was not successful
(it’s a demo, these things never work), but the harder one, moving a
running session was successful, demonstrated vividly with a running
video on his controlling machine streamed from a server that started on
one machine and finished on the other. Bravo!

There was also a discussion of the other alternative for virtualization,
single-kernel-image virtualization, where multiple sessions are running
in multiple zones, somewhat like a “chroot jail.” Examples of this kind
of VM include Solaris Zones, Virtuozzo and Open VZ. Members of the
audience contributed insights to some of the other projects going on,
such as the KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) project favored by some of the
kernel developers, UML (User Mode Linux) and others.

Christoph wrapped up with a long and thorough question-and-answer
session. He then offered a completely different topic: he mastered a DVD
with menus, music, video overlays completely in Linux and had some clips
to show off. A general consensus was that he was welcome to come back at
his convenience to talk about that, too!

Thanks to Christoph for the great demo, to Heather and Jim for
organizing the meeting, to the folks at Martha’s Exchange for providing
the facilities, and to all for attending and participating.

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