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Monday
Jan172005

Xen -- the way to paravirtualization

This past week saw the announcement of Xensource, a company founded to develop and support the Xen hypervisor, the product of an open source project which has arguably produced the best open source X86 virtual machine monitor or system virtualizer.

Xen is a virtual machine monitor for x86 that supports execution of multiple guest operating systems with unprecedented levels of performanceand resource isolation. Xen is Open Source software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. We have a fully functional ports of Linux 2.4 and 2.6 running over Xen, and regularly use it for running demanding applications like MySQL, Apache and PostgreSQL. Any Linux distribution (RedHat, SuSE, Debian, Mandrake) should run unmodified over the ported OS.  ...

Xensource is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & byers and Sevin Rosen Funds, who have put $6M up for their Series A funding.

For a very nice, though a bit biased, description of Xen, see an article by Andrew Warfield and Keir Fraser (both members of the University of Cambridge project team) that appeared in last October's Linux Journal.

Xen, a new, high-performance x86 virtualization system, saves money, boosts usage

by Andrew Warfield and Keir Fraser

...Hardware virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on the same hardware. With such a system, many servers can run on the same physical host, providing more cost-effective use of valuables resources, including CPU, power, and space. Additionally, separate instances of one or more operating systems can be isolated from each other, providing an additional degree of security and easier management of system-wide resources like configuration files and library versions.

Up until now, there have been no open source solutions for efficient, low-level virtualization of operating systems. But now there's Xen, a virtual machine manager (VMM) developed at the University of Cambridge. ...

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