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A test drive of Debian/etch Xen

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Software

I have been looking for a new server for quite some time now. My old server is an aging HP NetServer LC3 Dual PII 233 Mhz that was donated to me. I use it as a general purpose home server and I also run a few other services off it, such as our Bugzilla and Subversion repository. It works but it was a little inflexible. I've had to repartition it a couple of times to make more room for my backups and maintenance wasn't too friendly with so many services running off the same OS.

A few months ago swbrown posted a fantastic tutorial on the LXer forums that gave a short overview of setting up RAID with LVM, Xen and LUKS. Around that same time I noticed a decommissioned HP server at my job. I decided to buy it off my boss and see if I could get to swbrown's nice setup. Here is how I fared.

Installing the Xen packages is pretty easy, but you have to pick the right xen-hypervisor package. Etch has two xen-hypervisor packages, one with a -pae extension and the other without. If you want the PAE version then you can simply install the xen-linux-system package. If you want the non-PAE version then you need to install the linux-image-3.6.18-4-xen kernel, xen-utils and the xen-hypervisor separately. The kernel in question is for both the dom0 (host) as well as the domu (guest) operating systems. There are also -xen-vserver packages which I found a bit confusing, but those are if you want to mix Xen and vserver virtualization on the same machine.

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