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[Xen-users] Xen ISO Repository

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Subject: [Xen-users] Xen ISO Repository
From: Kyuuketsuki <nabble@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 05:49:14 -0700 (PDT)
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I'm new here and, if I stick with Xen, may be back but I have to decide
whether Xen or ESXi best suits my needs :) 

Anyway ... I killed my ESXi server and "embraced" Xen!  Just for context, my
server is a home server (a DELL 490 Workstation with a 2TB SATA array, 2 x
Xeon 5130 dual CPU's and 16Gb RAM) upon which I intend to virtualise my
domain controller and create 1 or more supporting servers (actually I intend
to upgrade to a 2008 DC and use my 2003 for a file & print server), I will
have 1 physical server besides to be used as host to an ultrium tape backup
drive and potentially as an emergency DC in case my virtual one goes wrong.
Other than that I will use the host as an experimental system, mucking about
with various Windows & Linux builds just to see what I can do ... I work in
IT so that's why I want this :)

OK ... the specific reason I abandoned (possibly temporarily) ESXI was that
it is unable to create templates, to do so I would have to buy a
VirtualCentre license which, as far as I can tell, would cost something like
$3000. I suppose this is understandable from VMWare's POV as they wish to
charge for their enterprise class products but hardly suitable for a server
used as a home server and test/dev/training and so on. 
My first thoughts on XenServer are as follows:
 * Installed with no hardware issues (that wasn't true of ESXi but, to be
fair to them, it took me 3 months to get the server to a good ESXi
compatible spec and I would fully expect Xen to run on kit like that). 
* Lower footprint ... ESXI memory footprint is around 2Gb, Xen is under 1. 
* ESXi is faster to power up but since it will typically be running all the
time that's no great issue.
* Storing ISO images locally on an ESXi server is a doddle, on Xen it seems
to require a major configuration change (see below).
* Virtual machines don't seem to be as configurable under Xen as ESXi. 
* Connects as easily from the local client PC as ESXi does. 
* Connects via XenCentre seemingly faster than ESXi (excepting first time
when you have to connect the specific host). 
* XenCentre works as well under Windows 7 as it does under XP ... getting
VMWare's VI Client working under Windows 7 is an absolute nightmare (I still
haven't succeeded). 
* Xen requires specific Linux support (a second CD during install or run
later via script) whilst ESXi appears to support Linux out-of-the-box. 
Right now my particular issue is ISO image storage. With ESXi you can simply
browse to wherever you've stored your ISO's and there appear to be no limits
on what you can store outside of disk capacity. On Xen ISO's are selected by
drop down list so presumably there is a specific location for the ISO's
storage repository ... some sources say that is the /iso_import/images
folder but I couldn't find that, another suggestion is
/var/opt/xen/iso_import/ (found that).
Apparently once  you have uploaded an ISO you need to run the command: 
  xe sr-scan uuid=`xe sr-list | /usr/bin/perl -e \
  'while (<STDIN>) { if (/^uuid.* ([^ ]*)$/) { $uuid = $1; } \
  if (/name-label \( RW\): ISOs/) { last; } } print "$uuid";'`
It doesn't appear to make any difference to me. 
Judging by the error messages I get, there appears to be a limit on the
amount of ISO data that can be copied to that area ... I managed to load 1
iso but when I tried to copy the server 2008 ISO across it failed with the
server error "File system on Control Domain Full" (seems crazy because it's
an 80Gb drive).
  # sfdisk /dev/sda --force
  Checking that no-one is using this disk right now ...
  BLKRRPART: Device or resource busy
  This disk is currently in use - repartitioning is probably a bad idea.
  Umount all file systems, and swapoff all swap partitions on this disk.
  Use the --no-reread flag to suppress this check.
  Disk /dev/sda: 9729 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track
  Old situation:
  Units = cylinders of 8225280 bytes, blocks of 1024 bytes, counting from 0
     Device Boot Start     End   #cyls    #blocks   Id  System
  /dev/sda1   *      0+    498     499-   4008186   83  Linux
  /dev/sda2        499     997     499    4008217+  83  Linux
  /dev/sda3        998    9728    8731   70131757+  83  Linux
  /dev/sda4          0       -       0          0    0  Empty
  Input in the following format; absent fields get a default value.
  <start> <size> <type [E,S,L,X,hex]> <bootable [-,*]> <c,h,s> <c,h,s>
  Usually you only need to specify <start> and <size> (and perhaps <type>).
That makes no sense to me ... I installed Xen on an 80Gb drive and figure it
can't be using more than say 1Gb in actual files (2Gb to be kind) and the
above hints at that! /dev/sda3 appears to be around 70GB and I've no idea
what Xen is using that for but there should be plenty of room there for an
ISO store. VMWare puts limits on its free products so perhaps this is a
specific limitation put in there by Citrix/Xen?
I have heard I can put the ISO's on some kind of network share but I don't
know how to do that either ... I don't want to do it that way but I will if
I have to. What I want to do is: 
* Create a folder on /dev/sda3
* Repoint the ISO repository pointer/flag/symbolic link at that folder
* Copy ISO's to it
* Rescan if necessary 
* Have those ISO's become available to me for my virtual machines.

Maybe some of this makes sense to someone here or maybe they can give
instructions to help me get the info so a solution can be suggested? 
Anyway, anyone got any ideas? 
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