Red Hat Inc. rules the "enterprise" Linux market with their Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product line. Novell Inc. (now owned by The Attachmate Group) is second with their SUSE Enterprise Linux product line. To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any free SUSE Enterprise Linux clones but there are a number of free RHEL clones. CentOS is the most well known RHEL clone but with the seeming unending delay of the 6.0 release (July 11th is my guess), CentOS has received quite a bit of criticism leading some users to investigate alternatives. As a result, Scientific Linux is getting a lot of long overdue attention given the fact that it too is a solid enterprise clone... that has been around for a long time... that has a lot of support behind it.
MontanaLinux is proud to present an interview that was conducted via email with Troy Dawson who is a long-time Fermilab employee and Scientific Linux developer.
About Troy Dawson
Montana Linux: Please tell us about yourself... as much as you feel comfortable with... as open or as closed as you want to be... family, education, work, hobbies, etc.
Troy Dawson: My name is Troy Dawson. I have a Bachelors degree in Physics and a Masters degree in Computer Science. I have worked at Fermilab since 1993. I was initially an accelerator operator, and then transferred over to computing in 1999.
I've been working with Linux since 1999.
I am married with two kids. I am very active in my church. I think my main hobbies are family, church, and computers.
I've been aware of Proxmox VE for a couple of years now. I've installed it a few times and tested it out. I have recommended it to others and know a few local people using it in production (at MSU-Bozeman and Rocky Mountain College for example). Since I'm involved in the OpenVZ community I've also noticed some of the contributions to OpenVZ that have come from Proxmox VE (vzdump for example) and have run into Martin Maurer in the comments section of this site. I asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview and he accepted.
What is Proxmox VE?
Proxmox VE is a very light-weight Debian-based distribution that includes a kernel with support for both KVM and OpenVZ. This means you get the best of both virtualization worlds... containers (OS Virtualization) and fully-virtualized machines (Machine Virtualization). Proxmox VE also includes a very powerful yet easy to use web-based management system with clustering features. Boot the Proxmox VE install media, answer a few simple questions, and within 10 minutes you have a very powerful virtualization platform you can manage from a web browser. Install it on one or more additional machines that are networked together and use Proxmox VE's cluster management tool to create a virtualization cluster that allows for centralized management, automated backups, iso media and template syncing, as well as virtual machine migration features. Proxmox VE really is a time saving turnkey solution... and it is freely available under a GPL license.
Robert Nelson seems to have come out of nowhere with an update to
vzpkg. Before we get started let me briefly review what
An OS Template is what OpenVZ uses as install media so you may install a Linux distribution into a container... since you cannot use a traditional CD-ROM / DVD nor .iso disk image. An OS Template is a
.tar.gz file that represents a somewhat stripped down version of an installed Linux distribution as you would find it installed on a disk filesystem. So, if you want to create a CentOS 5.2 i386 container, you need to find an CentOS 5.2 i386 OS Template.
There are a number of recipes on the OpenVZ wiki for building OS Templates for various Linux distributions but the general process takes several steps and is quite a bit of work. Any tool that can simplify the creation (and updating) of an OS Template is a welcome addition. OpenVZ comes with
vzpkgcache (part of the
vzpkg package) which is designed to facilitate OS Template creation for Red Hat based distributions.
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).