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Re: [Xen-users] Making system templates

Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Making system templates
From: Thomas Goirand <thomas@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 09 Jun 2009 05:14:46 +0800
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Jeff Williams wrote:
> Hi,
> I am wanting to set up a bunch of system templates for my Xen servers,
> to save me from running some standard package installs and
> configuration. I can see 4 alternatives, but all seem to have issues and
> I'm wondering what works in practice:
> 1) LVM snapshot
> 2) New device and block level copy (dd)
> 3) New device and file level copy (cpio)
> 4) virt-clone?


The best way ever is... to NOT use templates or images. Templates gets
outdated, and soon have loads of package to upgrade. The best way
(whenever possible, this is not always the case) is to use tools to pull
and setup packages out of FTP repositories.

In Debian, there is "debootstrap" to build a debian (and many other
debian based systems) OS in a chroot. There is also yum to bootstrap RPM
based distributions (previously we were using rpmstrap, but it's not a
good idea, it gets outdated so fast...).

When bootstraping is not possible, we use tar.gz archives that we
extract, then scripts to setup things like fstab, network config, and so
on. We have availble Fedora 9 and 10, gentoo, Ubuntu 8.04 and 9.04,
Mandriva 2009.

There is a special case: NetBSD. As it's using its own filesystem with
no write access in Debian, we just use the netbsd INSTALL kernel so our
users can use the setup software of NetBSD directly.

Last, we have a 3rd system: appliances. Whenever someone selects it, the
operating system on which it depends is setup, then a startup script is
added together with a folder of the appliance. Then, at first boot, the
setup start and the appliance is installed. As appliance, we have for
the moment: FreeNX, OpenVPN, FreePBX. We intend to do more of them in
the near future.

Note that all the above is available in our FTP repositories and their
mirrors, as it's all in open source (DTC, DTC-Xen, dtc-xen-os-* and

Thomas Goirand (GPLHost)

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