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Re: Getting started with Xen -- Xen enabled kernel for Lenny?

My response at very bottom.

Rick Thomas wrote:
I'm trying to get started with Xen.

I've installed Lenny and a bunch of packages that looked interesting and mentioned Xen in their descriptions. But there does not seem to be a Xen enabled kernel available. Is Xen built-in to the Lenny kernels, or what?

I plan to spend tonite with my feet up in the easy chair reading the documents in /usr/share/doc/Xen-docs-3.1/ . I hope they will be helpful, but they don't seem to mention Debian specifically. I've googled every which way, but everything I find is for Etch or Sarge and expects me to have a Xen enabled kernel.

More generally, is there a HOWTO or FAQ that would give me some pointers to getting Xen up and running?



Hi Rick

Sorry for any typos. There is a problem for newer Debian kernels (as in the etch distribution) and Xen. They just don't work and there is currently no patch to save the day. Ubuntu has Xen based recent kernels which apparently work well but I have not yet tried them. The Xen web site has 3 Xen options one of which I think is still free. Either one of these 3 options can be installed providing a DOM 0 basic virtualizing machine. Also, some of the other Linux distributions like SuSE have Xen based kernels. Xen based kernels are regular kernels but have the Xen application compiled into them making them the basis for hardware virtualization and thus called DOM 0 meaning the virtualization machine that redirects system calls from DOM U distributions. A DOM U distribution is virtualized meaning that during the time slice for a particular DOM U distribution it's system calls get re-routed to the DOM 0 computer resources (mostly hardware including CPU, memory, drives, LAN interface, etc.). DOM U distributions each have their own partition and are activated by the DOM 0 Xen application as a virtual machine.. There can be as many as 64 partitions in total including the partition for DOM 0. Most designers prefer to have the DOM 0 Xen system as a minimal distribution. The DOM 0 distribution can create virtual machines from it's own distribution so that you might have several virtual machines each doing one important thing instead of the conventional way where all these things get done on the one distribution. Of course, you can run other Linux distributions as DOM U installations. This is what makes Xen most efficient.

Your fastest, safest, and best solution right now would be to get one of the 3 optional systems offered by the Xen developers. Apparently, they have a blog and I know they have a list. I have a download of the free Xen package on a CD which is now a year old and which I will be installing on a computer. I will install a large Debian distribution as well as smaller Debian distributions each in their own partition and use them as virtual machines. DOM 0 will be the free Xen package which took me a week to download and now I am trying to find it. The Xen documentation describes how the DOM 0 machine is made aware of the DOM U partitions with their respective distributions. BTW, you can now take a Windowzzzzz distribution like XP or more recent and run it as a DOM U virtual machine.That's neat if you have applications like I have that can only run on Windowzzzzz. But you have to buy a license from MS. Hope this information gets you going. There is one fellow on the debian-user list that has had a Linux Xen system running for about 2 years or more but that system would be running on an older kernel and he would have compiled the Xen application into the kernel and I think he used the AMD CPU. A number of people have tried to update their older Debian kernel with patches which automatically makes their system non operational. I think Debian really missed the importance of Xen and to get a Debian DOM 0 system from the etch distribution was not possible. Apparently there is a new distribution by what I hear on the list chatter. That distribution I am not aware of other than it is Debian 4.x distribution. Hopefully, if that is the case there may now be kernels available with the Xen application installed.

Have a nice day and if you get Xen up and running please be kind enough to let the list know about your configuration and other issues as there have been many over the last few years that have wanted help and advice. I reiterate, your best chance of success is to run out of the Xen box as provided by the Xen developers.

Thanks -- Ted

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