OpenVZ / Virtuozzo 7 Beta First Impressions

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Odin and the OpenVZ Project announced the beta release of a new version of Virtuozzo today. This is also the next version of OpenVZ as the two are merging closer together. See their release announcement.

There will eventually be two distinct versions... a free version and a commercial version. So far as I can tell they currently call it Virtuozzo 7 but in a comparison wiki page they use the column names Virtuozzo 7 OpenVZ (V7O) and Virtuozzo 7 Commercial (V7C). The original OpenVZ, which is still considered the stable OpenVZ release at this time based on the EL6-based OpenVZ kernel, appears to be called OpenVZ Legacy.

Odin had previously released the source code to a number of the Virtuozzo tools (mailing list post) and followed that up with the release of spec-like source files used by Virtuozzo's vztt OS Template build system. The plan is to migrate away from the OpenVZ specific tools (like vzctl, vzlist, vzquota, and vzmigrate) to the Virtuozzo specific tools although there will probably be some overlap for a while.

The release includes source code, binary packages and a bare-metal distro installer DVD iso.

Bare Metal Installer

I got a chance to check out the bare-metal installer today inside of a KVM virtual machine. I must admit that I'm not very familiar with previous Virtuozzo releases but I am a semi-expert when it comes to OpenVZ. Getting used to the new system is taking some effort but will all be for the better.

I didn't make any screenshots yet of the installer... I may do that later... but it is very similar to that of RHEL7 (and clones) because it is built by and based on CloudLinux... which is based on EL7.

CloudLinux Confusion

What is CloudLinux? CloudLinux is a company that makes a commercial multi-tenant hosting product... that appears to provide container (or container-like) isolation as well as Apache and PHP enhancements specifically for multi-tenant hosting needs. CloudLinux also offers KernelCare-based reboot-less kernel updates. CloudLinux's is definitely independent from Odin and the CloudLinux products are in no way related to Virtuozzo. Odin and CloudLinux are partners however.

Why is the distro based on CloudLinux and does one need a CloudLinux subscription to use it? Well it turns out that Odin really didn't want to put forth all of the effort and time required to produce a completely new EL7-clone. CloudLinux is already an expert at that... so Odin partnered with CloudLinux to produce a EL7-based distro for Virtuozzo 7. While CloudLinux built it and (I think) there are a few underlying CloudLinux packages, everything included is FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). It DOES NOT and WILL NOT require a CloudLinux subscription to use... because it is not related to CloudLinux's product line nor does it contain any of the CloudLinux product features.

The confusion was increased when I did a yum update post-install and if failed with a yum repo error asking me to register with CloudLinux. Turns out that is a bug in this initial release and registration is NOT needed. There is a manual fix of editing a repo file in /etc/yum.repos.ed/) and replacing the incorrect base and updates URLs with a working ones. This and and other bugs that are sure to crop up will be addressed in future iso builds which are currently slated for weekly release... as well as daily package builds and updates available via yum.

More Questions, Some Answers

So this is the first effort to merge Virtuozzo and OpenVZ together... and again... me being very Virtuozzo ignorant... there is a lot to learn. How does the new system differ from OpenVZ? What are the new features coming from Virtuozzo? I don't know if I can answer every conceivable question but I was able to publicly chat with Odin's sergeyb in the #openvz IRC channel on the Freenode IRC network. I also emailed the CloudLinux folks and got a reply back. Here's what I've been able to figure out so far.

Why CloudLinux? - I mentioned that already above, but Odin didn't want to engineer their own EL7 clone so they got CloudLinux to do it for them and it was built specifically for Virtuozzo and not related to any of the CloudLinux products... and you do not need a subscription from Odin nor CloudLinux to use it.

What virtualization does it support? - Previous Virtuozzo products supported not only containers but a proprietary virtual machine hypervisor made by Odin/Parallels. In Virtuozzo 7 (both OpenVZ and Commercial so far as I can tell) the proprietary hypervisor has been replaced with the Linux kernel built-in one... KVM. See:

How about libvirt support? - Anyone familiar with EL7's default libvirtd setup for KVM will be happy to know that it is maintained. libvirtd is running by default and the network interfaces you'd expect to be there, are. virsh and virt-manager should work as expected for KVM.

Odin has been doing some libvirt development and supposedly both virsh and virt-manager should work with VZ7 containers. They are working with upstream. libvirt has supposedly supported OpenVZ for some time but there weren't any client applications that supported OpenVZ. That is changing. See:

Command line tools? - OpenVZ's vzctl is there as is Virtuozzo's prlctl.

How about GUIs or web-based management tools? - That seems to be unclear at this time. I believe V7C will offer web-based management but I'm not sure about V7O. As mentioned in the previous question, virt-manager... which is a GUI management tool... should be usable for both containers and KVM VMs. virsh / virt-manager VZ7 container support remains to be seen but it is definitely on the roadmap.

Any other new features? - Supposedly VZ7 has a fourth-generation resource management system that I don't know much about yet. Other than the most obvious stuff (EL7-based kernel, KVM, libvirt support, Virtuozzo tools, etc), I haven't had time to absorb much yet so unfortunately I can't speak to many of the new features. I'm sure there are tons.

About OS Templates

I created a CentOS 6 container on the new system... and rather than downloading a pre-created OS Template that is a big .tar.gz file (as with OpenVZ Legacy) it downloaded individual rpm packages. It appears to build OS Templates on demand from current packages on-demand BUT it uses a caching system whereby it will hold on to previously downloaded packages in a cache directory somewhere under /vz/template/. If the desired OS Template doesn't exist already in /vz/template/cache/ the required packages are downloaded, a temporary ploop image made, the packages installed, and then the ploop disk image is compressed and added to /vz/template/cache as a pre-created OS Template. So the end result for my CentOS 6 container created /vz/template/cache/centos-6-x86_64.plain.ploopv2.tar.lz4. I manually downloaded an OpenVZ Legacy OS Template and placed it in /vz/template/cache but it was ignored so at this time, I do not think they are compatible / usable.

The only OS Template available at time of writing was CentOS 6 but I assume they'll eventually have all of the various Linux distros available as in the past... both rpm and deb based ones. We'll just have to wait and see.

As previously mentioned, Odin has already released the source code to vztt (Virtuozzo's OS Template build system) as well as some source files for CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu template creation. They have also admitted that coming from closed source, vztt is a bit over-complicated and not easy-to-use. They plan on changing that ASAP but help from the community would definitely be appreciated.

How about KVM VMs?

I'm currently on vacation and only have access to a laptop running Fedora 22... that I'm typing this from... and didn't want to nuke it... so I installed the bare-metal distro inside of a KVM virtual machine. I didn't really want to try nested KVM. That would definitely not have been a legitimate test of the new system... but I expect libvirtd, virsh, and virt-manager to work and behave as expected.


Despite the lack of perfection in this initial release Virtuozzo 7 shows a lot of promise. While it is a bit jarring coming from OpenVZ Legacy... with all of the changes... the new features... especially KVM... really show promise and I'll be watching all of the updates as they happen. There certainly is a lot of work left to do but this is definitely a good start.

I'd love to hear from other users to find out what experiences they have.

Congrats Odin and OpenVZ! I only wish I had a glass of champagne and could offer up a respectable toast... and that there were others around me to clank glasses with. :)

Video: LFNW 2013 - Comparing Ganeti to Other Open Source Private Cloud Platforms

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Lance Albertson from OSUOSL talked about Ganeti:

Screencast: Virtualization Basic Introduction

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I was asked to put together a presentation on Virtualization... and wasn't quite sure what the audience would want... so I put together a basic introduction that I can easily improvise on as the audience asks questions.

I designed the slides using Prezi which is a freemium web-based presentation site. It has lots of motion so watch out... but I did keep it rather simple - no pictures nor embedded videos. :)

virtualization-prezi.webm (12.7 MB)

Screencast: History and differences of Xen and KVM

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I threw together a quick screencast for Dann from the Linux Link Tech Show explaining the history of and differences between Xen and KVM. Feedback is encouraged because I'm sure I have some mistakes in there.

xen-and-kvm-history.webm (36.2 MB)

Videos: KVM Forum 2011 Presentations

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The KVM Forum 2011 was held at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, Canada on August 15-16. It was co-located with LinuxCon North America 2011.

LinuxCon and the KVM Forum were both sponsored by The Linux Foundation who recorded a large number of videos from both events. Unfortunately, The Linux Foundation had few security breaches to deal with on their and domains which (I'm guessing) has greatly delayed them doing post-production work on the recordings and posting them publicly.

I found that Red Hat had recently posted a handful of the KVM Forum videos to YouTube but since they were only available in the flv and mp4 formats, I decided to re-encode them and post them to as webm (a free, open source, non-patent encumbered video format). I think is really a better place for them. Red Hat released them under a Creative Commons, Attribution - No Derivative Works 3.0 License. I have not altered the videos in any way other than re-encoding them to webm in a smaller resolution (624x352) and bitrate (664Kbit) making them one half to one third of the original filesize yet maintaining reasonable quality. Modern Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera browsers can play webm as can stand-alone players like VLC, Totem, and mplayer.

They are all highly technical presentations for those interested in the nitty-gritty details of the Linux KVM virtualization Hypervisor. I have embedded the first, short keynote video below and given download URLs for the rest. Thanks to Red Hat for posting them!

One thing to note is that the camera / recording is statically positioned and does not show the presenter slides so I have also included the links to the slide decks in PDF format. For a better understanding, you are strongly encouraged to look at the slides while watching the videos. Also be warned that some presenters may occasionally use curse words.

Here's a zip file containing all slide decks in PDF format for all of the presentations.

Alexander Graf - AHCI Doing Storage right 105 MB / PDF
Allen Kay, Intel - Intel Graphics Virtualization on KVM 57.3 MB / PDF
Alon Levy, Red Hat - SPICE Roadmap 88.9 MB / PDF
Andrew Theurer, IBM - Improving the Out-of-box Performance When Using KVM 210.9 MB / PDF
Anthony Liguori, IBM Linux Technology Center - Keynote Address Day 2 43.1 MB / PDF
Anthony Liguori, IBM Technology Center - Code Generation for Fun and Profit 128.7 MB / PDF
Asias He, Beihang University - Native Linux KVM tool 113.1 MB / PDF
Avi Kivity, Red Hat - Keynote Address, Day 1 36.9 MB / PDF
Avi Kivity, Red Hat - Performance Monitoring for KVM Guests 148.4 MB / PDF
Bryan Cantrill, VP Engineering, Joyent - Experiences Porting KVM to SmartOS 199.1 MB / PDF
Conrad Wood, ProfitBricks - Geographically distributed HPC Clouds using KVM 119.8 MB / PDF
Dan Kenigsberg, Red Hat - VDSM is now Free 145.2 MB / PDF
Daniel Berrange, Red Hat - Introduction to libvirt APIs for KVM 160.5 MB / PDF
Gerd Hoffmann, Red Hat - Fixing the USB disaster 148.4 MB / PDF
Jagane Sundar - Livebackup - Full and Incremental Disk Backups of Running VMs 136.2 MB / PDF
Jan Kiszka, Siemens AG - Using KVM as a Real-Time Hypervisor 132.6 MB / PDF
Kevin Wolf, Red Hat - The Reinvention of qcow2 148.1 MB / PDF
Lucas Meneghel Rodrigues, Red Hat - Making KVM autotest useful for KVM developers 152.1 MB / PDF
Marcelo Tosatti, Red Hat - QEMU: live block copy 72.4 MB / PDF
Mark Wagner, Red Hat - KVM Performance Improvements and Optimizations 107.3 MB / PDF
Markus Armbruster, Red Hat - QEMU's device model qdev 59.1 MB / PDF
Michael S. Tsirkin, Red Hat - Virtio Networking Status Update 86.2 MB / ODP
Paul Lu, University of Alberta - Low-Latency, High-Bandwidth Use Cases for Nahanni/ivshmem 149.5 MB / PDF
Paul Mackerras, IBM LTC Ozlabs - KVM on the IBM POWER7 Processor 164.5 MB / PDF
Ricardo M. Matinata, IBM Linux Technology Center - Implementing a Hardware Appliance 188.4 MB / PDF
Rik van Riel, Red Hat - Guest Memory Overcommit: Free page hinting & more 106.0 MB / PDF
Ryan Harper, IBM Linux Technology Center - Keep a Limit On It: IO Throttling in QEMU 89.7 MB / PDF
Stefan Hajnoczi, IBM & Paolo Bonzini, Red Hat - Virtio SCSI: An alternative virtualized storage stack for KVM 142.2 MB / PDF
Stuart Yoder, Freescale Semiconductor - KVM on Embedded Power Architecture Platforms 125.6 MB / PDF
Yoshi Tamura, Midokura - Network Virtualization 101.3 MB / PDF


OpenNode Status Update

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I don't usually repost mailing list messages but just got this one in my inbox from the OpenNode folks. Since I'm a big virtualization geek, I'm sharing. Haven't heard of OpenNode? Here's a brief description before I get to the status update email:

OpenNode is a open source server virtualization solution providing easy to use (CentOS / RHEL based) bare-metal ISO installer and supporting both OpenVZ container-based virtualization and emerging KVM full virtualization technology on the same physical host.

So, OpenNode is a lot like Proxmox VE except OpenNode is based on CentOS and uses libvirt, virt-manager, and other Red Hat standard tools.

Video: Virtualization and Multi-Level Security

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Another presentation from RHVE 2009. This one is entitled, "Virtualization and Multi-Level Security" by James Labocki and Greg Pryzby of Red Hat.

Video: Building Your Own Cloud with RHEV

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Another presentation from RHVE 2009. This one is entitled, "The Sky is the Limit: Building your Own Cloud Infrastructure using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization" by Hugh Brock and Jan Mark Holzer of Red Hat.

Video: Secure Virtualization using SELinux

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Another presentation from RHVE 2009. This one is entitled, "Secure Virtualization using SELinux" by Dan Walsh of Red Hat.

Video: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

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Another presentation from RHVE 2009. This one is entitled, "Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization" by Navin Thadani who is a big wig at Red Hat. It is from the business track and higher level view.

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