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  • 1. Virtualisati on within the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). Presented by John Ronan
  • 2. Introduction to the TSSG
    • Founded in 1996 by Dr. Willie Donnelly (approx 20 Million EUR in funding 1996-2006)
    • Partner base of over 150 active funded partners including Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens, Lucent, … (Vendors); Vodafone, O2, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Swisscom, BT, … (Operators); LSE, UCL, TCD, … (Academia)
      • largest Irish EU funded institution for IST FP5/FP6/FP7 (potentially in Call 1) and for eTEN
      • largest EI commercialisation fund success for a single research centre
    • Balanced portfolio of:
      • basic research projects (3) – faculty (5) postdocs (6) students (14)
      • applied research projects (14) – staff (25)
      • pre-product development projects (14) – staff (50)
    Telecommunications Software & Systems Group is a world class communications software research centre based at WIT
  • 3. The Problem
    • The EU IST Daidalos project needed a test bed to be established and this responsibility fell to the TSSG.
    • Required at least 6 machines all networked together with the possibility of this scaling.
    • Cost / Space / Performance all were issues
  • 4. The Solution
    • A number of solutions were considered including:
      • Purchase 6 workstations and more as required.
      • Buy two micro-processor Blade Servers.
      • A clustering approach on several existing machines
      • A virtual solution.
        • Xen
        • vmware
      • We opted for the virtual server option that Xen offered as we were more ‘comfortable’ in the Linux environment.
  • 5. Why choose virtualisation and Xen
      • Virtualisation has many benefits:
        • Save space
        • Save money on associated costs (powering 6 machines for a year)
        • Maximise hardware performance
      • Xen was chosen because:
        • It is entirely open source
        • It can virtualise several different OS simultaneously within one host OS (e.g. a 64 bit guest could be run on a 32 bit host)
  • 6. What is Xen
    • Xen is a free open-source virtual machine monitor.
    • It is software that runs on a host operating system allowing several guest operating systems to run on top of that host operating system utilising the computer hardware for near native performance.
    • It is supported by every major OS, server and silicon vendor including the likes of Dell, Cisco, Intel, AMD and soon Microsoft (Windows Server 2009).
    • Xen can handle both paravirtualisation OSs and unmodified i.e. fully virtualised OSs.
  • 7. Why use Xen?
    • It is scaleable, your hardware limits what Xen can do.
    • It maximises the server’s resource utilisation and can do the job of several servers in one with near native performance.
    • It can perform live migrations of host’s from one machine to another leaving it very flexible for maintenance (with caveats).
  • 8. The Implementaion
    • The following setup was desired for the test-bed implementation:
  • 9. The Implementaion
    • The laptop/sunray thin clients would be the tester’s interface into the Xen virtual machines.
    • Each of the 6 created machines would have their own unique address (IPv4 and IPv6) and resources allocated to them.
    • Making them seem like independent machines to the outside world.
  • 10. The Implementation
    • The machine that would be utilised as the Xen server would need to be a powerful enough machine to allow for the possibility of the test-bed scaling in the future. A DL380 2.8Ghz XEON server with 2GB RAM was chosen.
    • The machine was taken and installed with a Debian version of the Linux OS.
    • The latest stable version of the Xen Software (3.0.1) was installed onto this machine and a default Linux image was created.
  • 11. The Implementaion
    • This image would be used to create and float a new domain with minimal configuration changes.
    • The default domain was allocated 10Gb (more then enough for any Linux distribution) and came pre configured for ipv6. No extra software was installed at this stage as this image would be used to create the other domain’s some of which may not have a need for certain specific software.
    • Once a domain was created a configuration script was used like the one that follows:
  • 12. The Implementaion
    • Sample Script taken from thor.sxp on the test-bed server.
    • name="thor"
    • kernel="/boot/vmlinuz-2.6-xenU"
    • root="/dev/hda1"
    • memory=128
    • disk=['file:/vserver/images/thor.img,hda1,w','file:/vserver/images/thor-swap.img
    • ,hda2,w']
    • # network
    • vif=[ '' ]
    • dhcp="off"
    • ip="10.10.10.1"
    • netmask="255.0.0.0"
    • gateway="10.10.10.254"
    • hostname="thor.tssg.org"
    • extra="3"
  • 13. The Implementaion
    • The previous script show’s how easy it is to setup and configure a system. Simply changing the networking info and pointing the script at the image created is about the extent of creating a fully working independent virtualised system.
    • A simple command to create and launch a shell into the server is called:
      • xm create –c thor.sxp
  • 14. The Implementaion
      • Once inside the newly created domain it acts as any standard Linux domain. Any software that is available and compatible with the Linux kernel that the image is based on is capable of being installed or removed with no extra configuration or consideration to the fact it is a virtual machine.
      • Each machine was loaded with the specific software developed for the test bed.
      • The test-bed is still in use and operational over 1 year after being installed.
  • 15. Q&A
    • Thank you for your attention and for more information please contact:
    • Mr John Ronan: mailto:jronan@tssg.org
  • 16. Resources
    • For further reading and information see the following:
    • www.xensource.com for the Xen software.
    • USENIX ;login: February 2007 “Xen Installation and Configuration” by Leigh Griffin and John Ronan for a comprehensive guide to installing a Xen server from scratch.