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Re: [Xen-users] Need advice regarding distro

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 04:09:50PM -0500, Dana Rawding wrote:
> Hi All,
> I need some advice.  I have been running Xen under Ubuntu LTS 8.0.4 for about 
> 18 months.  The original install gave me the 2.6.24-19-xen kernel.
> There were a couple of updates and all my machines are currently running 
> 2.6.24-23-xen.  Since Ubuntu decided to go with KVM I imagine that there will 
> be no further updates.
> Recently I had read that in the future Remus is going to be added to the 
> kernel.  HA is very desirable for me as I have a number of HA web servers 
> that I handle with load balancing in front of virtualized images spread over 
> multiple servers.  The addition of synchronized failover images would be 
> huge!  So I started looking around at other distros that are going to 
> continue to support Xen.  I downloaded the latest OpenSuSE and installed on a 
> spare HP DL380.  I was able to get it up and running on  
> After testing for a few days I decided to start upgrading my production 
> machines.  
> To take a step back for a moment, my server farm consists of mostly HP DL380 
> G3's with 8 GB of RAM and dual 3.06 GHz Xeons.  I also have a couple of HP 
> DL580 with 32 GB RAM and Quad Xeons.  While this gear is not the latest and 
> greatest they are real workhorses and I have a lot of them.  They run mostly 
> mail, web, dns, etc.  No desktops or Windows so PV is fine.
> So I decided to upgrade one of the DL580's.  The install seems to go OK but 
> upon restart it continuously hangs when bringing up the BR1 interface.  I 
> installed the standard kernel and the interfaces come up fine.  Furthermore I 
> added an additional gigabit Broadcom based HP Ethernet card.  I got it 
> configured as eth2 and again it works fine with the non Xen kernel.  Even if 
> I disable the onboard eth1 and assign br1 to eth2 it continues to hang on 
> boot.  Frustrated after two days of messing around I installed SuSE on a 
> brand new IBM x3500 M2 w/ dual Xeon 2.66 GHz X5550 4C's.  Again the install 
> went fine.  However almost daily the box just completely hangs.  I can't seem 
> to find any log entries to figure out why this is happening.  I can create a 
> hang by just untarring a large file in either the DomU or a DomO.  Plenty of 
> memory and free processors so I don't know why it continues to die.
> As you can guess my current experience with SuSE has left a bad taste in my 
> mouth on both old and new hardware.  I was about to download Fedora and go it 
> again but before spending the time I thought I'd ask the opinion of the list 
> as to what they would do/recommend.  My gut tells me to just bit the bullet 
> and start compiling my own kernels and stay with Ubuntu.  Ideas, comments, 
> suggestions?

Remember it's not only the dom0 Linux kernel, you also need to have the actual
Xen hypervisor.

Compiling from the source is always an option.. Xen hypervisor 3.4.2 got
released two weeks ago or so.

Xen 3.4.x releases still use linux-2.6.18-xen.hg as the default and
officially supported dom0 kernel, so if 2.6.18 has all the drivers for
your hardware that's what you should use.

There are other options aswell. Check this wiki page for the other
available dom0 kernels:

Personally I've used Fedora on my testing boxes, and it has been OK.
Fedora 12 includes Xen hypervisor/tools 3.4.1 (with some fixes/patches),
and all the libvirt/virsh/virt-install/virt-manager stuff.

But F12 lacks dom0 kernel.. it's not included out-of-the-box. You can
grab the xendom0 testing rpms, or compile your own dom0 kernel.

-- Pasi

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