Monday, 29 February 2016

In search of Xen

Apparently this is what searching for Xen looks like.

After getting the NAS box running (Although it seems to have developed some issues.) I wanted to move on to getting my other server set up and ready to go. This one will be acting as a router/firewall/proxy/all the good stuff and also as my webserver/minecraft server/all the other good stuff server. However I want to do this in such a way that when/if the time comes where I have/need to dedicate a separate machine for any of those tasks it will be fairly easy to migrate across.

To make migrations easier I am planning on running a Xen based hypervisor which will allow me to install pfsense for the router functions and a linux distro for the other server functions. However first I need to install Xen. The first way I tried to do this was by installing Xen over a Debian Jessie install to use that as dom0. This probably would've worked however it needed command line tools and that is something I'm trying to move away from. Particularly with software I don't understand.

Installing Debian was fairly easy and went like any other linux install except for one small detail. The machine didn't want to boot from the CD drive. Now it wasn't the CD. There is something funny here which means that I have to have the below abomination.
Yes, that is every drive that is connected to this machine beside the case, practically in the walkway for this room. To get it to boot from a CD basically you get the boot disk, put it in one of the CD drives, then try it, if it doesn't work keep trying to re-boot, swap drives and try putting another bootable disk in the other CD drive until it boots. Thankfully booting from the Hard Drives is reliable.

Unfortunately because of the whole command line thing I am now playing with XenServer which gives me the dom0 and the Xen install along with the XAPI interface which allows me to control the server from OpenXenManager which is written in Python and as such should run on Linux, Windows or Mac which is perfect for me.

Unfortunately there seem to be issues with that install booting as well so after I finish the last few things on Nathan's Computer I will spend some more time there and get it working.

Speaking of Nathan's computer. It is nearly ready to go, so once windows 7 has finished burning to the USB drive for installation I will be installing that and probably having some fun with benchmarks. Expect a write up of that later this week once I have finalised everything.

If you have played with hypervisors before and can see me running headlong into some giant problems please let me know so I can change course while it is still easy to do so. Alternatively if you don't wan to be hearing about my dodgy servers and would rather see some of the other cool stuff I've been working on let me know and I'll do some more posts on that.