[clug] Virtual Machine 'farms'?

Steve Walsh steve at nerdvana.org.au
Thu Oct 15 21:39:29 MDT 2009

Alex Satrapa wrote:
> Me again!
> Does anyone have experience in setting up adhoc VM "farms" using 
> VMWare or VirtualBox?
yup, using Xen and some VMWare ESX/vSphere
> I'm looking specifically for help in the area of setting up new VMs 
> based on a 'template' (ie: specify the Ethernet address, turn off 
> fripperies such as USB, CD, Floppy, turn on PXE booting), which I can 
> then boot and take over using a configuration management system such 
> as Chef.
I run my current dev environment on a RHEL/Centos Base, and using the 
instructions from the Centos Wiki [1] along with kickstart, can have a 
VM built and ready for puppet cert-signing in about 4 minutes. I'm sure 
you could probably get the same thing done with Debian Pre-seeding, but 
Xen sadly does not support PXE on paravirt guests, so you need to kind 
of do some work with the kernel, ramdisk and options to get it to play ball.
> What advice can you give me about doing this kind of thing from your 
> own virtual machine experiments? Are there any existing tools which 
> make this kind of spawn-boot-use-destroy experimentation relatively easy?
We're starting to move towards using the VCenter server for controlling 
all the ESX servers, which has the ability to template deployments, but 
I have not played with that.

[1] http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Xen/InstallingCentOSDomU

Steve Walsh
Vice President / SysAdmin Team member- Linux Australia
Networks and Technology - Linux.conf.au 2008
perl -e 'print $i=pack(c5,(41*2),sqrt(7056),(unpack(c,H)-2),oct(115),10);'

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