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[Xen-devel] XenCD futures

[Mark == maw48@xxxxxxxxxx on Wed, 15 Dec 2004 17:29:20 +0000]

  Mark> I was working on [XenDemoCD] but never finished it off.  We
  Mark> weren't so worried about it for Xen 2.0 since hard drive
  Mark> installs and setting up test VMs are now much easier than they
  Mark> were. [...] Basically a time thing.

Ok, thanks for the answer.  I had no problem getting Xen 2.0 running
on a machine, so your instincts are correct there.

There are other reasons for liking bootable CDs, and frozen images in
general, however.  My current interest in a bootable CD is for a
higher-reliability production server.  I don't want corruption or
accidental/intentional dom0 changes to create problems whereby every
VM has problems starting.

If the box instead booted off a CD with a frozen network
configuration, and then auto-discovered and auto-started VMs, then
worse case, a reboot of the physical box should get back to the same
state, repeatedly.  And creating a 2nd box that worked the same would
be completely trivial.

Perhaps I'm thinking more about Xen "appliances" than I am "demo" at
this point, but there's overlap in the ideas, which I think would be
very cool.  1 CD (well maybe DVD) for "Xen with Debian" and "Xen with
RedHat" as grub options would be grand.

There's room for a lot of different perspectives on what a "bootable
Xen CD" should look like.  Fortunately, multiple bootable views can be
supported on 1 CD.

There's at least these dimensions to consider about any XenCD design:

  - light distro (ttylinux, damn small linux) or fat distro (Fedora,
    Debian, Knoppix, etc)?

  - RedHat, Debian/Knoppix, Gentoo, LFS, Yet Another Branch?

  - graphical/desktop dom0 or headless/server dom0 oriented?

  - "Xen demo" oriented or production oriented?

  - autostart example or production domains?

  - frozen config or post-boot configuration based on on-disk files or
    network parameters?

  - what xenolinux/initrd/rootfs combinations available for kicking
    off additional example/production livecds?

  - run from ram or run from iso fs?

Comments about people's preferences would be welcome.

I have my own perspective, as does every other live cd creator, so
it's unlikely that whatever I end up with would match what others are
expecting.  That's a reasonable sign that a "Xen live cd
builder"/modular approach or a script instead of an iso may be a
better initial goal.

  Mark> The Xen 1.2 CD is based on RH 9 and includes the tools /
  Mark> instructions required to rebuild it.  We could supply you with
  Mark> a copy of this image, or you could try using a more up to date
  Mark> and less hacked (our demo CD lacked things like the RPM
  Mark> database) image.

I would appreciate a copy of the image and/or the tools directory.  I
couldn't seem to clone the 1.2 branch out of bkbits.  Shouldn't be
strictly necessary for me to create one, but it's always good to see
other's examples.

-- jared@xxxxxxxxxxx

"Tiger gotta hunt.  Bird gotta fly.
 Man gotta sit and wonder why, why, why.
 Tiger gotta sleep.  Bird gotta land.
 Man gotta tell himself he understand." -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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