As you're probably aware we've been running a number of different
initiatives to test the xen -unstable tree prior to release as 3.0.0: We
have the XenRT automated regression test suite which gives Xen a
thorough workout on a range of different machines every night. Among
other tests, XenRT incorporates the excellent xm-test suite to stress
xend. We're also running various ISV application validation suites over
Xen. There's also all the testing that's going on in the community, and
the daily reports from IBM and Intel. All indications are that we're
getting very close to release quality.
One aspect that current testing doesn't provide us with much coverage on
is the wide range of PC hardware that users wish to run Xen on. We
believe the best way of plugging this gap is with the Xen automated
TestCD, and I'm pleased to announce the first version is now available.
After initial configuration, the CD runs in an unattended fashion and is
specifically designed to check that Xen runs stably on the hardware
platform. It exercises all disk controllers (read-only!) and network
interfaces it finds, along with some simple graphics tests. During the
process it automatically reboots into a number of different kernels and
hypervisor versions, enabling us to compare results across native linux
and x86_32, x86_32 PAE and x86_64 versions of Xen. After completing the
tests it tries to upload a tar file of the results to xensource.com over
http for analysis.
(If you're running the tests on a farm of machines that don't have
external net access there's an option to store the results file on a USB
key stick or other removable media and then upload manually via a web
form or via email). The results will get processed by various scripts
and then be available for viewing via a web interface.
[We're not quite ready to go-live with the web interface, so check back
in a few days -- it's important we get the data collection underway
It would be very helpful if you could arrange to run the test CD on all
the hardware platforms you're serious about wanting to run Xen on (i.e.
not that old 486 you have in the cupboard under the stairs :-)
Although the test CD can't test everything, it should give us a decent
idea of what hardware Xen runs successfully on today, and draw attention
to particular drivers or chipsets we have problems with.
You can download the CD from here:
NB: To enable the network tests to run you'll need to run a Network Test
Server". Either download the separate test server package from above web
page, or burn a second CD, boot it in the server and select the 'test
server' option from the grub menu. The machine under test will use
multicast DNS to rendezvous with the server and bounce traffic off it.
If you're behind a firewall that won't let http through you'll need to
upload the results tar file manually via the following web page:
Many thanks for your support in ensuring a high quality Xen 3.0.0
PS: Here's the release notes for the CD, also available on the web site.
Here's a quick description of how the Xen 3.0 Test CD works:
The CD will first boot into a setup environment that lets you choose a
partition on detected hard disks on which it will store test results and
some config files that it will use to proceed through the various test
runs. It will create a directory called /xentestingcd on the chosen
Depending on the type of machine, the test will automatically reboot
several times to run the next phase of the tests. (A grub menu is
displayed, but you don't need to interact.)
On completion of the tests, the CD will attempt to submit the results to
our website via http.
Note that the results will be also be left on the hard disk in the
/xentestingcd directory, in case the attempt to automatically upload the
results fails-for example, when there is no connection to the internet
available. If you can, it would be great if you could copy that file
(named xenresults.tar.bz2.abcde, where the extension is a
randomly-generated string of characters) somewhere that you can upload
it to us via the form [link]here[/link].
For a more thorough discussion of the Test CD's operation and a list of
known issues, see the [link]Release Notes[/link].
The Release Notes are as follows:
Xen 3.0 Test CD Release Notes
The Xen test CD is designed to test the hardware of a machine for
compatibility issues with Xen, and report any problems found to the Xen
development team so that any problems that may exist can be fixed based
up on a large pool of test data.
In order to successfully run the CD, you must have a system that has
either a disk with an ext2 or ext3 filesystem that is not managed by
LVM, or a USB key that is visible to the computer BIOS. This is because
the CD uses GRUB to boot Linux and Xen, and uses state saved at a
location you specify on the initial boot in order to determine which
kernel or Xen build should be booted.
Instructions For Use
The test CD has a number of network tests that require a network test
server to be present on the network, and on the same subnet as the
machines that are being tested.
In order to run a network test server, one should boot the CD from a
machine that is not being tested, and choose the Network Test Server
option from the GRUB boot menu (choosing either vga or serial version as
Alternatively, one can download and run a stand-alone network test
server on from a machine that is not being tested and is on the same
subnet. See the Text CD Download page.
Booting the Test CD
When you first boot the CD, you will be presented with a GRUB menu. At
this point, you should determine whether you would like to use a serial
or VGA console, and make a selection of either "Setup XTCD (vga)" or
"Setup XTCD (serial)." The default selection is "Setup XTCD (vga)."
The CD will now boot into a native Linux kernel, and will ask for a
location where tests results can be saved, and a second location (which
is often the same as the first, unless the first is a USB storage
device) where state may be saved.
NOTE-It is important that the state location be visible to the computer
BIOS in order for booting of the CD to operate correctly.
The CD can be left to run unattended once these selections have been
made, until the "Submit Results" stage, where you will be prompted for
further information. When you see the GRUB menu, just leaving 'Default'
as the selection should suffice. Choosing "Default" will cause a second
GRUB menu to be loaded, where the default selection will automatically
change as the tests progress. This menu is stored on the state drive,
hence the requirement for this drive to be visible to BIOS.
If something goes wrong
The CD uses two mechanisms for ensuring that useful results can be
gained even if a crash occurs partway though testing:
* If you manually reboot the CD, choosing the Default option at the
initial GRUB prompt will cause the CD to boot into the next kernel to be
tested rather than looping to the one that was last used.
* Some scripts have timeouts on them, so if they hang then other
tests may still run.
Running the Submit Results stage is important because, even if you chose
not to submit results to XenSource for analysis (you have the option not
to when running this stage), it will clean up any state left behind and
leave with a .tar.bz2 file containing any logs that were generated
during execution of the test CD.
* Currently the network tests that are performed in guest domains
only work if DHCP can be used to configure networking within the domain.
* The test CD might fail on some machines with SATA interfaces.
* The NTFS and UFS file systems are not supported for writing data
The CD has a version label as follows:
The version of the CD in use can be found in the REVISION file in the
root of the CD's filesystem.
The version of the CD used to create a results tarball is in a REVISION
file located inside the tarball - this is copied directly from the CD
when the results tarball is created.
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