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Old 07-21-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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Seeking thoughts RE: moving from CentOS+VMware to.... Xen? KVM?

I've a machine that has a AMD Phenom quad-core, 8 GB RAM, 2 - 1TB drives using Raid-1. And on this I'm currently running CentOS 5.3 64-bit and under it I'm running VMware Server 2.0.2; Oracle 11g R2, Apache 2.2, JBoss 5.0, and some other things I like.

I'm stuck on this CentOS because of the issues using VMware Serve on Fedora, etc. What I do like about VMware is that it's utility package is mature and as long as you stay on a kernel it knows, it just works.

However, that is boring and I haven't had to rebuild my machine in at least 6-months.

One of the things that scares me about moving to Xen or KVM is the networking part. What I see in the documentation is a flow that doesn't look correct to me (overview; install xen, virt packages; install virtual clients; configure network). Why wouldn't you configure the network before the client installation? Why does the Bridge networking eliminate the use of the original IP address associated with the NIC? Should I use a alias (eth0:1) as the bridge?

Any thoughts?
Old 07-21-2010, 10:12 PM   #2
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You create a bridge, say br0 and add eth0 as a member. You then assign the IP address originally configured on eth0 on br0. Each guest is configured to create a virtual tap device and is added as a port on the bridge. The virtual device is then exposed as eth0 by the guest kernel and you can configure it like any other eth device.

Depending on how you set it up, all this can be transparent and automagically handled if you wish. For example use the free version of the commercial Citrix XenServer, or use libvirtd which can cope with both Xen and KVM.

Me, I wrote my own scripts to sort all this out, but I started them before I heard about libvirtd, maybe before libvirtd was even realised.
Old 07-22-2010, 02:37 AM   #3
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What problems are you having with VMware? I have never had trouble getting it to work on any kernel, though I have often had to obtain update patches to make it compile.

Since I moved to VMware workstation 7, I have not even had to do that.
Old 07-22-2010, 04:41 AM   #4
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Bridging is essentially the same thing as what vmware call v-switch.
What you do is take a physical NIC (say eth1), build a bridge on top of it and plug virtual machines' NICs into the same bridge.
This effectively creates a virtual switch, with one physical interface facing the physical network, and a bunch of virtual interfaces the VMs communicate through.

If you want to use bridged interfaces, you need to set them up first of course, and then provide them to libvirt
Old 07-22-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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There are 2 issues with VMware Server that come to mind:
1. It took over my Tomcat session I had running without warning.
2. It really doesn't like Fedora across a reboot or it will just stop working in the middle of a VM creation.

The other situation is I'm really a Fedora man. We run RHEL 5.4 at work and it's OK, but I want to know the future of RHEL. Did you know that Fedora 12 = RHEL 6.0 Beta? KVM isn't very mature on RHEL 5.4, but on Fedora 12/13 it's much better. So eventually I see more and more using the native virtualization as opposed to the high $ virtualization. I want to be at the head of that movement.



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