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PUBLIC MARKS from camel with tags framework & xen

March 2008

Automating Xen VM deployment with SystemImager - SystemImager

One advantage of server virtualization is the ability to rapidly provision new production environments. Automatic virtual machine deployment can significantly speed up the time to instantiate new services or reallocate resources depending on the user needs. This article focuses on the integration of SystemImager and Xen to create a totally open source framework able to manage on-demand deployment of virtual machines, such as physical machines, using a single centralized point of management. This approach allows to strongly reduce IT costs and simplify administrative tasks for enterprise data centers, even with a complex and/or reduced set of hardware resources, exploiting the dynamic-provisioning functionalities of SystemImager and virtualization advantages of Xen.

Automating deployment and activation of virtual images

Virtualization offers advantages that include server consolidation, isolation, rapid provisioning, and improved change management processes. Since virtualization breaks the hardware dependency and isolates virtual machines from details about the physical servers on which they are hosted, virtual images can be moved from one hosting platform to another. They can also be cloned to create more virtual machines, as desired. One of the challenges with cloning virtual images is handling operating system, network, and application specific customization. This article provides a sample framework for automating virtual image activation on new host platforms. This article, along with a previous article on Using virtual image templates to deploy WebSphere Application Server, demonstrates an automated approach for quickly and easily provisioning new WebSphere Application Server environments. The sample deployment and activation code included with this article is independent of WebSphere Application Server and can be used in conjunction with other software inside a virtual image. The specific example provided here is for WebSphere Application Server V6 in VMware or XEN virtual images, using SUSE V10 as the guest operating system. The activation techniques described in this article can be used in conjunction with IBM Tivoli® Provisioning Manager as described in Using Tivoli Provisioning Manager to deploy composite virtual appliances.

January 2008

Automating Xen Virtual Machine Deployment

While consolidating physical to virtual machines using Xen,we want to be able to deploy and manage virtual machines in the same way we manage and deploy physical machines. For operators and support people there should be no difference between virtual and physical installations. Integrating Virtual Machines with the rest of the infrastructure, should have a low impact on the existing infrastructure. Typically, Virtual machine vendors have their own tools to deploy and manage virtual machines. Apart from the vendor lock-in to that specific virtual machine platform , it requires the administrators to learn yet another platform that they need to understand and manage, something we want to prevent. This paper discusses how we integrated SystemImager with Xen, hence creating a totally open source deployment framework for the popular open source Virtual Machine monitor. We will document both development of our tools and go more in depth on other infrastructure related issues when using Xen System Imaging environments in combination with Virtual machines can also be used to ensure safe production deployments. By saving your current production image before updating to your new production image, you have a highly reliable contingency mechanism. If the new production environment is found to be flawed, simply roll-back to the last production image on the virtual machines with a simple update command! Xen has become one of the most popular virtualisation platforms over the last year, although not such a young project, it is now rapidly gaining acceptance in the corporate world as a valuable alternative to VMWare.