Do you dream of being able to spin up ten or twenty (or a thousand) virtual machines in an instant? Discover and repair resource bottlenecks without moving a finger? Dodge the loss of an entire storage array with no-one noticing? Span across data centers with a fleet of virtual machines? This is no sales pitch; during this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how to leverage truly FOSS tools to build a powerful, scalable cloud that easily competes with those proprietary solutions!
This deep-dive into Xen, Xen Cloud Platform, and other FOSS cloud tools and concepts is intended both for those ready to wholeheartedly embrace virtualization and for those already seasoned in general virtualization practices. You’ll leave with a collection of pre-made tools that you can use right out of the box or modify to your liking. You’ll also leave with immediately useful knowledge on best practices and common pitfalls, presented by actual FOSS practitioners like you.
We begin this tutorial by discussing Xen, Xen Cloud Platform (XCP), and XCP cloud concepts (pools, hosts, storage, networks, etc.). We then explore in detail the API that makes Xen so useful for building a cloud, explore provisioning of hosts and guests using PXE, and discuss templating and installing guest virtual machines. Critical to understanding potential bottlenecks, identifying tuning opportunities and planning for the future, we will discuss performance monitoring and methodologies. Next, we teach you how to make the most of your new FOSS cloud capabilities and discuss in detail high availability infrastructure for storage and networking, advanced networking capabilities like bonding/VLANs, and the cloud orchestration tools that save you time and money. All of this with a focus on XCP in enterprise environments. Tools discussed include DRBD, Pacemaker, Open vSwitch, Cloudstack, Openstack, and more.
We conclude by shedding light on exciting developments: Xen 4.2 has recently been released, with just over a year of development time and nearly 3,000 changesets. We will discuss many of the new features introduced in 4.2, as well as what changes we have in store for the 4.3 release as well as other exciting developments.
This tutorial is sponsored by Citrix
George Dunlap received his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006. He started doing work in the Xen hypervisor as part of his PhD research in 2004, and has continued to this day. He specializes in performance analysis and optimization, and is currently writing a next generation scheduler for Xen.
Steve Maresca is a passionate technologist, specializing in virtualization and information security. Founder of Zentific LLC, he works to enhance virtualization technology and foster its successful use in businesses everywhere. Zentific builds flexible tools to manage virtual machines and reduce complexity in systems security. Steve possesses deep knowledge of hypervisor internals, deployment methodologies, and the software APIs related to their use. In addition, he works to enhance virtual machine introspection on the libVMI project and is active in the security research community. Eager to share this information, he speaks often to those also interested in the field, and he volunteers much of his time in Freenode’s ##xen IRC channel, working closely with the Xen user base. In his other pursuits, he has worked as a security analyst, developer, and wearer-of-many-hats for the Information Security Office at the University of Connecticut. There, his focus has included large-scale event correlation, packet analysis at 10gbE, wireless network security, and data analytics to help protect tens of thousands of devices.
Josh West is a technologist with a passion for large scale, enterprise deployments of free and open-source software. While he converted over to Linux in the 90’s, he has been a specialist and expert in cloud and virtualization systems since 2005, deploying Xen-based infrastructures supporting thousands of virtual machines. His areas of interest and focus extend beyond virtualization and reach to bridge the many components of enterprise infrastructures (networking, systems, and security) together through the use of programming and automation. You’ll find Josh asking not how to solve one problem, but how to solve it repeatedly in a sustainable, supportable, highly available, and scalable manner.
Patrick F. Wilbur is a computer science Ph.D. student at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, USA, where he is a member of the Applied C.S. Labs. His research and teaching interests include usable security, identification, virtualization, operating systems, file systems, artificial intelligence, game theory, ubiquitous computing, systems biology, and human-computer interaction. He is a co-author of Running Xen: A Hands-on Guide to the Art of Virtualization (Prentice Hall, 2008). In his spare time, he enjoys being involved with his local church, hiking, cooking, and writing essays, poetry, and music.
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