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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Xen

The First Generation Cloud Dealt with Orchestration; The Next Generation Will Deal with Applications

During the past decade, the world of the cloud has been consumed with orchestration: How can we make an infrastructure which can adapt to the needs of the enterprise?  Words like automation, flexibility, and control have ruled the world of the cloud to date.

But now that a number of cloud orchestration projects have begun to mature, it's time to take a look at the applications themselves.  Until now, the applications which dwell in clouds look suspiciously like the applications which inhabited the traditional datacenter.  And while they may function pretty well, they are not really designed with an agile infrastructure in mind.

Make It Small, Make It Fast

In the world of the cloud, it would make sense to have small applications which are lightweight and nimble.  They should be quick to start and stop.  They should do what they need to do and then get out of the way so that valuable compute resources can be focused on applications which require compute power -- like databases, for instance.

Docker has made inroads in this area by using container technology to share the operating system space between many applications.  Virtual machines contain a full operating system for each instance, which requires lots of disk space, lots of memory, and prolonged startup and shutdown times.  Docker-type solutions keep memory usage down, make startups and shutdowns lightning quick, and create application bundles which are easy to deploy.

But shared resources can mean that an exploit of the base operating system can cause the compromise of dozens or even hundreds of applications resident on that host.  It also means that multi-tenant situations are difficult to achieve, as shared resources could mean increased ability to see your neighbor's work. If you don't trust your neighbor, you want a wall between the two applications which makes them invisible to each other, just like the solutions already extant in the world of hypervisors.

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FOSDEM, Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, openSUSE Mini-Summit, and SCALE 13X All to Feature Xen Project Content!

TestDay

 

Jan 31-Feb 1: Lots of Great Talks at FOSDEM 2015!

FOSDEM is an absolutely huge annual event in Brussels, Belgium, and FOSDEM 15 is a huge event for Xen Project!  Talks include:

Tagged in: Xen xen project
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Couldn't make it to this year's Xen Project User Summit in New York City?  No problem!  Most of the videos are now available for viewing at XenProject.org.  These aren't highlight reels or a handful of talks from a few selected people; these are the meat-and-potatos talks from our event.  Most sessions are available right now; the final few should be posted in the next few days.

Take a look at some of the great talks already available...

Xen Project Advances:

Status of Xen Project, by Lars Kurth of Citrix

- Hear about the latest from the project.

Understanding and Using Xen4CentOS, by Johnny Hughes of CentOS

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If you use the Xen Project Hypervisor, you have a rare opportunity to share what you've learned with your peers.  On September 15, 2014 in New York City, we will be holding our second annual Xen Project User Summit -- and we want you to join us there!

We are looking for talk proposals which will be of interest to other Xen Project users.  Subjects of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • How you use our project’s software in your datacenter or lab
  • How you integrate the Xen Project hypervisor in your solution or cloud
  • How you control the software with custom scripts or utilities
  • Why you chose Xen Project software instead of some other hypervisor
  • How much you time or money you saved by using our software
  • Where you’d like to see our project go in the future

Also, we’d welcome talks about:

  • Features of recent releases and how you use them
  • New projects building on Xen Project software which could open new avenues for end users (like the work around GPU virtualization, cloud operating systems like MirageOS, and additional architectures like ARM)
  • Instructive HowTo sessions to educate attendees about implementing particular capabilities within the software
  • The use of related products and projects (like XenServer, Xen Orchestra, CloudStack, etc.) to make our software even more powerful in the datacenter

 

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Quite a few years ago I made a rather nice living coding things up. Some were big projects used in regulated industries, and others a bit more mundane, but in all cases I tried to ensure confusion over what the point of the project was could be minimized. After all, the last thing I wanted was a prospective user or partner investing in something which wouldn't meet their needs.

Fast-forward to today, and as the XenServer evangelist I want to accomplish the same task, but scope is a bit broader. I want people to be using XenServer, and I want many tens of thousands of them doing so. By the same token, I also want those same users to know they are using XenServer, and not something else. After all, its equally bad if someone thinks they're using XenServer when they aren't, or are using something different when they are in fact using XenServer.

A perfect case in point is the confusion over what "Xen" and "XenServer" are. For years I've heard people who want XenServer referring to it as "Xen" and occasionally as "Xen Server". While many of those people aren't technical, and for them the distinction is largely irrelevant, the fact of the matter is the distinction does matter. For example, if someone is working on a project which they wish to integrate with XenServer, it does them no good to see references to "Xen" all over XenServer content, or to look at examples which reference "Xen"; even if the actual code is for XenServer and not "Xen". Even more significant is that, with the move of the "Xen" hypervisor to the Linux Foundation last year, what was once known as the "Xen" hypervisor has now become the Xen Project hypervisor.

All of which gets me to Apache CloudStack. Apache CloudStack is a wonderful solution for anyone looking to get a cloud up and running quickly, particularly those looking to have multiple hypervisors in their cloud and managed from a single console. Unfortunately, Apache CloudStack is also a perfect example of the problem I'm highlighting here. Within the UI, documentation and code, the term "Xen" and "XenServer" are used interchangeably, when in reality Apache CloudStack only supports XenServer; or more precisely XAPI based toolstacks for the Xen Project hypervisor. To resolve this problem, and to pave the way for the Xen Project hypervisor to become a full citizen of Apache CloudStack, I put forth a proposal to distinguish and disambiguate "Xen" and "XenServer". The design document can be found on the CloudStack wiki. To give an example of the cost of resolving these things after the fact; the initial patch consisted of over 17,000 lines, subsequent patches will be needed following extensive testing, all with the result of no new functionality. If you're interested in following the progress of this activity, please do so on the CloudStack mailing lists, and on the wiki.

The point I hope I'm making here is that when there is the potential for confusion, someone will eventually become confused. If you are working on something which references "Xen" or "XenServer", I hope you'll take a few minutes to see if you're using the right references and if not plan on clarifying things for your customers and users. To assist, please refer to this handy-dandy list:

  • "Xen" is a bare metal hypervisor which since April 2013 is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project and has been renamed as the "Xen Project hypervisor". You can find more information about Xen Project at http://xenproject.org. Importantly, while "Xen" was the name Citrix used for the hypervisor, when "Xen" moved to the Linux Foundation, Citrix granted the Linux Foundation the limited rights to use the word "Xen" as part of the "Xen Project".
  • Citrix continues to use the "Xen" mark in connection with a variety of products such as XenApp and XenDesktop, so if you are working on a project with integration into other Citrix products, and are referring to them as "Xen", you risk further confusion with the hypervisor work occurring with both XenServer and the Xen Project.
  • XAPI, or XenAPI, is a toolstack for use with the Xen Project hypervisor and is a sub-project under Xen Project at the Linux Foundation. You can find more information about XAPI at http://xenproject.org/developers/teams/xapi.html
  • XenServer is a packaged virtualization solution from Citrix which in June 2013 was made completely open source. XenServer uses the Xen Project hypervisor and API support is provided via XAPI. Commercial support for XenServer is available from Citrix, and open source activities can be found on xenserver.org.
  • XCP, or Xen Cloud Platform, was a previous attempt at making XenServer open-source. With XenServer becoming open source in June of 2013, XCP development transitioned to XenServer.       
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Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangelism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world.

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