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XCP on Ubuntu

My name is Mike McClurg, and I am a Citrix developer working on the Xen API (xapi) and the Xen Cloud Platform. I have recently been chosen as the new lead for the XCP project, and there are a few exciting new developments that I’d like to share with you.

As you may have heard, both Citrix and Canonical have recently announced their support for OpenStack, an open source cloud controller sponsored by Rackspace and NASA. In order to make the Xen API toolstack the best solution for running OpenStack on the Xen platform, we’ve decided to port XCP’s Xen API toolstack to Ubuntu. This would allow you to do ‘apt-get install xapi’, and effectively turn your Ubuntu machine into a Xen Cloud Platform server.

As part of this project, we aim to move XCP to a fully open development process that will allow much greater participation from the Xen community. Building individual toolstack components will no longer require an SDK environment. XCP source repositories will be updated more frequently. Releases of the monolithic, CentOS-based XCP appliance will become more frequent as well.

With the recent announcement of full Xen dom0/domU support in Linux 3.0, and the Xen API toolstack moving to support Ubuntu and other distributions, this is a really exciting time to be a part of Xen.

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7 Responses

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  1. sherringham says

    Mike, that’s great. Very good news recently with Xen (which I am still using). It’s been painful having to patch and track for all of us. One thing with this – is it possible to make sure this stuff is Debian friendly as well as Ubuntu?



  2. Lars says

    Alastair, Mike failed to mention that this project will happen in two stages. Make XCP Debian friendly, and then Ubuntu friendly. After all Ubuntu is built from Debian.

  3. sukinull says

    The ‘apt-get install xapi’ is an great idea. Do you consider provide a general makefile to build rpm and deb like what does? Moreover, do you consider move from “CentOS 5.x” to “Scientific Linux 6.x”? Some drivers/software and their commercial supports are only RHEL/SuSE compatible. In these cases, user who is using XCP (Ubuntu version) might not able to take any advantage from IT management perspective since Ubuntu is not officially support by some of the hardware vendor(e.g. IBM/HP/DELL/EMC…).

  4. Mike McClurg says

    The idea of porting xapi to Ubuntu/Debian is to give people who want to use a regular Xen/Linux install the chance to use XCP’s XenAPI and related tools to manage their VMs. It won’t replace the traditional CentOS-based appliance, so if it makes more sense for your organisation you can stick with the RHEL-like distribution.

    I actually brought up the Scientific Linux distribution the other day as an alternative to CentOS, which takes a while to keep up with RHEL. We don’t have any plans right now to switch base distributions, though. One of the benefits of the Ubuntu/Debian project is that porting xapi to work on a Debian-based system will make it much easier to port it to even more operating systems, so perhaps soon we’ll be able to do a ‘yum install xapi’ on Fedora or Scientific Linux. That will be a little further down the road, though.

    As for building deb and rpm files, we haven’t yet decided how to configure our build system to handle both debs and rpms. Most of the packages in the XenAPI toolstack do have a facility for spitting out rpms, so we’ll probably adapt this to also produce debs.

  5. sukinull says

    Thanks for your explanation. I am looking forward for the deb/rpm repository. ^^

  6. lexalt says

    Offering “a ‘yum install xapi’ on Fedora” gets my vote!

    I’ve run into MANY problems in trying to get Xen working properly using Ubuntu 11.10 as Dom0. In contrast, Xen works pretty much out-of-the box with Fedora 16. So with this in mind, and given the relationship between Fedora and RHEL, I’m not sure why you guys didn’t focus on “Xapi for Fedora” first. Seems like that would have been an easier and quicker route to getting a product out to users. Is it too late to target “Xapi for Fedora” as your first priority for now, and then come back to “Xapi for Ubuntu” later, such as when Xen is more stable on Ubuntu? (Of course, if “Xapi for Ubuntu” will be released soon, then that would be great too. I just hope for a working version of EITHER as soon as possible.)

    As for other alternatives, I’m currently testing Cloudmin with Fedora 16 on my home server. I wish I could just use the current XCP (or Citrix XenServer), but unfortunately, the current XCP doesn’t have driver support for my Atheros NIC. (CentOS 5.6 also seems to lack out-of-box support for my Atheros NIC, which probably explains why XCP doesn’t support my NIC.)

    A bit off topic, but…

    I hope that future editions of XCP will be based Fedora instead than CentOS. I mean, what’s the point of offering a repackaged XenServer? Rather than just clone XenServer, XCP should be the cutting edge alternative, much like Fedora is the cutting edge alternative to RHEL.

  7. Mike McClurg says

    Ubuntu’s recent Xen support is working well for us. Well enough, in fact, that XCP on Ubuntu is running very smoothly these days. Our port to Debian and Ubuntu is nearly finished, so we won’t be scrapping that work to start on Fedora. Fedora is also quite different from CentOS, with SELinux and systemd enabled by default, and a Fedora port would have been just as difficult as the Debian port was.

    The good news is that a Fedora port could be based on the work that we’ve done for Debian. If anyone would like to volunteer to start work on a Fedora port, please contact the mailing list.

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