Sun Cobalt RAQ 550

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This document explains how you setup Xen for Arch Linux

What is Xen?

According to the Xen development team: "The Xen hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization, offers a powerful, efficient, and secure feature set for virtualization of x86, x86_64, IA64, PowerPC, and other CPU architectures. It supports a wide range of guest operating systems including Windows®, Linux®, Solaris®, and various versions of the BSD operating systems. (more)".

Basically Xen exists out of two components: the Xen hypervisor, and the userland tools to manage that hypervisor. In Xen terminology anything virtualized is called a "domain".

Terminology

In this document I will be refering to a few basic concepts:

  • Host OS: this is the operating system that hosts the guests.
  • Guest OS: this is the operating system running in virtualization.
  • Domain: when we are talking about virtualization, a domain is one of the virtual machines that run on the system. Domain0 is the first domain started by the Xen hypervisor at boot, and will be running a Linux OS. This domain is privileged: it may access the hardware and can run the XenControlTools that manage other domains. These other domains are referred to as DomUs, the U standing for "user". They are unprivileged, and could be running any operating system that has been ported to Xen.

The hypervisor

The hypervisor is actually a modified linux kernel. It is currently based on kernel 2.6.18.8. This also means that your hardware must be supported by that kernel. A Xen kernel is provided by the linux-xen package.

Userland tools

These tools allow controlling the guests that are running on the system. You can find these tools in the xen package.


Resources

  • Xen's homepage: [1]
  • The Xen Wiki: [2]