I had the opportunity to be part of the OpenVZ booth at the recent LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco where I met the OpenVZ Project Manager, Kir Kolyshkin. He was kind enough to answer some questions for me via email.
About the OpenVZ Project
While in the university I had a chance to work and play with not only boring DOS/Windows, but also OS/2, HP-UX, SCO, Novell Netware, and some other operating systems, including Linux of course. My first Linux distro was some ancient version of Slackware, I only remember it came with kernel 1.0.9 and the CD also contained patches for up to 1.1.50. I immediately fell in love with Linux and free software model.
Before I became the project manager for OpenVZ, I worked at a few companies, including positions at Deutsche Bank and at the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. As for SWsoft, I did a few projects there -- a search engine (ASPseek, now mostly in oblivion), a few projects for Virtuozzo (lead development of vzctl, then kernel testing, then template tools).
I just recently started playing around with installing desktop environments inside of a VPS. It takes a little work as you really don't want to accidentally replace your vzdev package with a distro's stock udev package. Anyway, the video below was resized for embedded flash playback and there is no sound. If you want a MUCH higher quality video, you can can right-click and save as: openvz-via-vnc-with-migration.ogg.
Read the full article for the embedded video because I didn't want it to stretch out the front page.
I took my video camera hoping to do some interviews but given the fact that my first experience using it led to a visit from security telling me I couldn't record anything but the booth I was in... I was a bit wary about recording after that.
Along came a guy (although I didn't catch his name) doing what he called, "50 second .org videos". I latched onto that... and filmed him filming several of the .org booths.
Enjoy if you can a mish-mash of 36 minutes worth video clips. You'll see the following booths: Fedora, OpenVZ, Joomla, The Linux Foundation, Pentaho, and Ubuntu... although technically the Ubuntu booth was not in the .org Pavilion.
I got Carla's permission (from SWsoft) to film the presentation she did on Virtuozzo at the Intel booth... but she let me know up front that it was geared more towards how Intel and SWsoft work together rather than a general presentation on Virtuozzo. That part is about 10 minutes and it isn't too bad.
As usual with any show, the last day on the exhibit floor is very light. Both Marc and I were scheduled for the morning and Scott was not scheduled at all Thursday. We didn't always stick to the schedule though. Marc didn't get in until after 1pm and Scott was there most of the time anyway. Both Kir and Kostya made their rounds to see other exhibits as well did Scott. Not much swag was left, but it was fun to speak with others. In some cases it turned into just a cold-calling out on the floor.
Today Scott and I had plenty of time to get breakfast at Burger King on the way to the Mascone Center! Food at the food court is not very cheap. So I just didn't eat much yesterday. Had planned to eat with the OpenVZ/SWsoft group Tuesday evening but the location they were at when they called was about 1.4 miles away and we were on foot having just finished walking a mile already back to the apartment. So we had to bag out of going. The offer was up again for dinner tonight but Kir and Kostya needed to go to the airport (SFO) to try extending their stay here in SF. Before departing I let them know it would probably be a bit late for us to be out walking the streets. We are not in the better neighborhoods to be out and about on foot.
Got to the booth at 9 AM. Got the laptops setup. Set out the DVDs. Kir had some flyers he had printed at Kinkos... and the banner was hung nicely.
All five of us were there in the booth today so we all got a chance to take turns talking to people. The booth had quite a bit of activity. We gave away all 25 DVDs we had burned within the first few hours so Kostya and Warren were busy burning DVDs on both of their laptops for most of the day to keep up with demand.
The basic question everyone asked was... how is OpenVZ different from VMware... or Xen? I got rather good at explaining OpenVZ's seven main points.
Decided to go the Moscone Center around 11 AM. Checked in at the exhibitor desk and got an exibitor pass. While we were walking around trying to find the OpenVZ booth I had my video camera out and was taping the journey. Warren was taking pictures with his digital camera. The exhibitor floor was chaotic. There were dozens of fork lifts and various other vehicles running around. Many of the exhibitors have very elaborate booths that take a long time to setup. Finally found the ".org Pavilion" which is just a section of booths in the fair right corner of the exhibit floor. Most .org exhibitors just have a table, two chairs and perhaps a banner. More pictures in full article.
For those interested in telephony on Linux, I ran across this engEDU video on Google Video this morning.
This opportunity kind of fell unexpectedly into my lap when Kir posted an announcement that they were looking for a few community members to help staff the booth given the fact that they had seven exhibit passes and would only be sending two of the OpenVZ developers over from Russia, "as to not stall development."
I've been increasing my OpenVZ knowledge and plan to practice giving demos with Warren a bit on Sunday and Monday. I've been using OpenVZ on a daily basis for over a year now, given two public OpenVZ presentations, written several articles... so interacting with community members and promoting OpenVZ to the crowd at LinuxWorld Expo seems like a natural progression. I really look forward to meeting Kir Kolyshkin and Konstantin Khorenko from the project as well as Marc Perkel who will also be staffing the booth.
I noticed a blog posting by Daniel Veillard on Fedora People about initial support for OpenVZ being added to libvirt. If you aren't familiar with libvirt, it is an underlying library/API that can be used by higher level tools to create, manage, and monitor virtual machines. libvirt is trying to be technology agnostic by supporting several virtualization technologies. They started off with Xen and QEMU but have since added KVM. libvirt is used by the GUI tool Virtual Machine Manager which first appeared in Fedora Core (now Fedora) but became part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
Looking at some of the postings in the libvirt mailing list archive for this month, it is mentioned that adding OpenVZ support is a bit different than previous technologies because the OpenVZ tools are already GPLed, "simple and straight forward", and than OpenVZ additions to libvirt "ends up looking very close to the original". I don't know how far away complete support for OpenVZ is in libvirt nor when it will show up in Virtual Machine Manager but I definitely look forward to it... although I doubt it would completely replace vzctl and the other OpenVZ tools for me.