Kris Buytaert, X-Tend

While consolidating physical to virtual machines using Xen,we wanted to be able to deploy and manage a virtual machines in the same way we manage and deploy physical machines. For operators and support people there should be no difference between virtual and physical installations.

Integrating Virtual Machines with the rest of the infrastructure, should have a low impact on the existing infrastructure. Typically Virtual machine vendors have their own tools to deploy and manage virtual machine, Apart from the vendor lock-in to that specific virtual machine platform , it requires the administrators to learn yet another platform that they need to understand and manage, something we wanted to prevent.

This paper discusses how we integrated SystemImager with Xen, hence creating a totally open source deployment framework for the popular opensource Virtual Machine monitor. We'll document both development of our tools and go more in depth on other infrastructure related issues when using Xen

System Imaging environments in combination with Virtual machines can also be used to ensure safe production deployments. By saving your current production image before updating to your new production image, you have a highly reliable contingency mechanism. If the new production environment is found to be flawed, simply roll-back to the last production image on the virtual machines with a simple update command!

Xen has become one of the most popular virtualisation platforms during the last 9 months, although not such a young project, it is now gaining acceptance in the corporate world as a valuable alternative to VMWare.

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