I promised in the introduction to introduce my lab environment in the first part of the series. So here we go…
Similar to the Fedora project, SuSE (now Novell) have come up with a community distribution some time ago which can be freely downloaded from the Internet. All these community editions give the users a glimpse at the new and upcoming Enterprise distribution, such as RHEL or SLES.
I have chosen the OpenSuSE 12.2 distribution for the host operating system. It has been updated to xen 3.4.1, kernel 184.108.40.206 and libvirt 0.7.2. These packages provide a stable execution environment of the virtual machines we are going to build. Alternative xen-based solutions have not been considered. During initial testing I found that Oracle VM 2.1.x virtual machines could not mount iSCSI targets without kernel-panicking and crashing. Citrix’s xenserver is too commercial, and the community edition is lacking needed features, and finally Virtual Iron had already been purchased by Oracle.
All kernel 2.6.18-x based distributions such as Red Hat 5.x and clones were discarded for lack of features and their age. After all, 2.6.18 has been introduced three years ago and although features were back-ported to it, xen support is way behind what I needed. The final argument in favour of OpenSuSE was the fact that SuSE provide a xen-capable 2.6.31 kernel out of the box. Although it is perfectly possibly to build one’s own xen-kernel, this is an advanced topic and not covered here. OpenSuSE also makes configuring the networking bridges very straight forward by a good integration into yast, the distributions setup and configuration tool. Continue reading