I’ve been testing out a few virtualization systems and am sofar very pleased with Xen. Installing on Debian Etch couldn’t be easier and it worked straight out the box – I had my first virtual server running in under 15 minutes flat!

Use the following commands to install Xen on a Debian Etch machine:

apt-get install xen-linux-system-2.6.18-4-xen-686 libc6-xen bridge-utils

This will install the Xen kernel (2.6.18-5-xen-686 #1 SMP), the libc6-xen libraries which is optimized for the Xen hypervisor and the utilities for configuring the Linux ethernet bridge.

Next up is a reboot into your newly installed kernel:

reboot

Once the machine is back online you need to install the xen-tools package which allows you easily create

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new guest Xen domains on your Debian Etch host:

apt-get install xen-tools

Next, modify the Xen config file (/etc/xen/xend-config.sxp) and enable:

(network-script network-bridge)

You also need to modify /etc/xen-tools/xen-tools.conf to set kernel and initrd parameters as well as the disk and sizing options for your vistual servers.

You can easily find out what your kernel and initrd image is named by typing:

ls /boot/vmlinuz* /boot/initrd*

This will list the kernel and initrd names for your system. Remember, your after the xen kernel and initrd images!

/boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-5-xen-686

/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-5-xen-686

Continue and edit the xen-tools configuration file

vi /etc/xen-tools/xen-tools.conf

#
# Default kernel and ramdisk to use for the virtual servers
#
kernel = /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-5-xen-686
initrd = /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-5-xen-686

dir = /data/vservers
debootstrap = 1
gateway   = 172.16.0.1
netmask   = 255.255.255.0

size   = 6Gb
memory = 256Mb
swap   = 256Mb
fs     = ext3
dist   = etch
image  = sparse

Next, create the directory where your virtual servers will reside:

mkdir -p /data/vservers/domains

Now your ready to create your first virtual server! Use the following command to create it:

xen-create-image -hostname=dns -ip=172.16.0.25 -passwd

It will take a minute or two to create the virtual server after which you can fire it up by using:

xm create dns.cfg

Your virtual server should be started up and ready for you to use.. You can either ssh to the IP you created the server with or attach to it from the host using:

xm console dns

Have fun with your Xen virtual machine!

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