Mast Kalandar

bandar's colander of random jamun aur aam

Sat, 19 Jul 2008

And Xen there were two


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So far I had used:

This week, I was given a "desktop" machine. In these days of computer power profligacy this means a fast Intel Core 2 machine or equivalent. I had already decided that this machine would function as:

Moreover, these services should not interfere with each other. In particular, the most valuable portion was the server which should be remotely restartable and yet have reasonably secure data.

It seemed clear that Xen is the only solution which fits the bill. (Actually, there is kvm but that seems a little too much like qemu. I want to learn something different at the same time.)

There was the additional challenge of switching to 64-bit architecture from an existing installation of 32-bit. I want to do this without re-booting more than necessary and without using the CD drive. This was possible with only two boots (one to switch to the 64-bit kernel with 32-bit userspace and another to switch from 64-bit kernel to 64-bit Xen hypervisor and kernel) thanks to the wonderful work of Debian people especially those who maintain the kernel, Xen, debootstrap and xen-tools.

One of the tricky things was to get the desktop domU run X applications. The solution I have currently adopted is to run the X server on dom0 and have it query the domU for xdm logins.


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