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Old 06-06-2010, 10:10 AM
Mark van Harmelen
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

Hi everyone
I have no experience of virtualisation, apart from running VirtualBox here and there, and I'm wondering if anyone has an easy-to-do recommendation for me, please.

We've been rebuilding one of our server set-ups that is fairly complex. Its on 9.10.*

Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual image? For some free target, maybe KVM or one of the Xen products. Xen is run by one of our friend-companies, so there is a slight preference for that. We are interested in minimising any potential virtualisation overheads, so the less interventionist the virtualisation technology, the better. But if method A is quick and easy to do and is only somewhat slower than method B, we'd in the first instance go method A (time is tight right now).

Any hints or pointers to the right direction(s) most appreciatedthanksmark


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Old 06-06-2010, 10:32 AM
Henning Sprang
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

Hi Mark,

On Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 12:10 PM, Mark van Harmelen
<markvanharmelen@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have no experience of virtualisation, apart from running VirtualBox here
> and there, and I'm wondering if anyone has an easy-to-do recommendation for
> me, please.

There are many virtualization solutions and setups out there, and a
multiple of them are used by so many people that all of them must be
called a generally viable solution if one wants to use virtualization.

The final choice depends on details in your useage scenarios and
general infrastructure, as well as personal prefrences.
Such a decision should be based on a lot of facts - much more than you
wrote here - and/or a trial period to test the solution under
near-production circumstances.

So, Xen and KVM can be good solutions for you, you might also consider
OpenVZ, too.
As far as I see, if you want to use an Ubuntu Server as virtualization
host, KVM might be the best supported option of those.

> Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual
> image?

There are tools saying to support that, but I'd always try to do a
re-install wherever possible - any take the chance to introduce an
automated deployment and configuration solution so you never have to
think about such a conversion again because your systems are setup
from bare metal in orders of minutes.

Henning

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Old 06-06-2010, 10:40 AM
Serge van Ginderachter
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

On 6 June 2010 12:10, Mark van Harmelen <markvanharmelen@gmail.com> wrote:


Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual image? For some free target, maybe KVM or one of the Xen products. Xen is run by one of our friend-companies, so there is a slight preference for that. We are interested in minimising any potential virtualisation overheads, so the less interventionist the virtualisation technology, the better. But if method A is quick and easy to do and is only somewhat slower than method B, we'd in the first instance go method A (time is tight right now).


You basically just need to give you VM Host access to a container which has the disk image(s) of your original server, and tell your vm system to boot that image, possibly with a specific kernel in case of Xen.



Make an image of your offline server with dd, and output that to an LVM volume on your vm host. Once you got that image, you might need to tweak something to provide a specific kernel, depending on your chosen vm techology, and maybe tweak fstab if you have different partitions next to / in your vm guest. Consider paravirtualisation with Xen.



If Ubuntu is your server of choice, KVM will be your best option. If you prefer Xen, go with Debian Lenny, or CentOS 5.5.

If performance is key, IMHO you need to go with Xen (or avoid doing virtualisisation, obviously :-) ), especially when it comes to disk performance.


KVM on the other hand is more easy to set up and to manage.


HTH,

--
* * Met cordiale groet,

* * Serge van Ginderachter

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Old 06-06-2010, 12:29 PM
Mark van Harmelen
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

Serge *and Hennign, thanks
Just some informational replies:

Serge
Sou mentioned "if you prefer Xen, go with Debian Lenny, or CentOS 5.5." We*are pretty much limited to Ubuntu for this config, we are running a specific customised version of (the generally flakey) Red5 open source media server that we know works on 9.10, so we are there for a while. Actually we are pretty much standardised on Ubuntu, and will move to the next LTS when we can. We do use CentOS to run a particular triple store, but we'd rather standardise on Ubuntu.

Disc performance is very important to us, so its good to hear your pro-Xen advice:*"If performance is key, IMHO you need to go with Xen (or avoid doing virtualisisation, obviously :-) ), especially when it comes to disk performance."*
For info, we have a disc-activity intensive set of web services (web 2.0 social networking services), potentially for use by large numbers of users.

So are we in the world of paravirtualisation? We are running quad-core intel CPUs which support hyperthreading.*

Hennig, yes a reinstall is obviously the way to go, but its worth a quick trial to see what we get from a short cut procedure. Actually thinking about it we should be able to do a complete reinstall and test in a day. Hmmm.... thinks....

It seems that the largest task here is*negotiating*the different options
regardsmark












On Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM, Serge van Ginderachter <serge@vanginderachter.be> wrote:



On 6 June 2010 12:10, Mark van Harmelen <markvanharmelen@gmail.com> wrote:



Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual image? For some free target, maybe KVM or one of the Xen products. Xen is run by one of our friend-companies, so there is a slight preference for that. We are interested in minimising any potential virtualisation overheads, so the less interventionist the virtualisation technology, the better. But if method A is quick and easy to do and is only somewhat slower than method B, we'd in the first instance go method A (time is tight right now).



You basically just need to give you VM Host access to a container which has the disk image(s) of your original server, and tell your vm system to boot that image, possibly with a specific kernel in case of Xen.




Make an image of your offline server with dd, and output that to an LVM volume on your vm host. Once you got that image, you might need to tweak something to provide a specific kernel, depending on your chosen vm techology, and maybe tweak fstab if you have different partitions next to / in your vm guest. Consider paravirtualisation with Xen.




If Ubuntu is your server of choice, KVM will be your best option. If you prefer Xen, go with Debian Lenny, or CentOS 5.5.

If performance is key, IMHO you need to go with Xen (or avoid doing virtualisisation, obviously :-) ), especially when it comes to disk performance.



KVM on the other hand is more easy to set up and to manage.


HTH,

--
* * Met cordiale groet,

* * Serge van Ginderachter



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Old 06-07-2010, 03:05 PM
"Aaron C. de Bruyn"
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

On 2010-06-06 at 11:10:42 +0100, Mark van Harmelen wrote:
> Hi everyone
>
> I have no experience of virtualisation, apart from running VirtualBox here
> and there, and I'm wondering if anyone has an easy-to-do recommendation for
> me, please.

You might want to take a look at Proxmox VE (http://proxmox.com/).
It's essentially Debian with a few customized packages.
It boots to a shell (no GUI), and then you actually manage it through
a web interface.

It lets you create KVM, and OpenVZ virtual machines.

Pretty slick.

> Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual
> image? For some free target, maybe KVM or one of the Xen products. Xen is

The easiest way I've found is to boot the server using something like the
System Rescue CD and then running:
dd if=/dev/sda | ssh root@ip.of.hos.t dd of=/path/to/vm/image.raw

If you are using proxmox, it would be something like:
dd if=/dev/sda | ssh root@ip.of.hos.t dd of=/var/lib/vz/images/101/vm-101-disk-1.raw


Shoot me an e-mail if you run into trouble.

-A

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Old 06-07-2010, 06:42 PM
Mark van Harmelen
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

@Aaron, Thanks for the dd detail, its been years (whoops, where did
that time go) since I used dd..
mark


On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM, Aaron C. de Bruyn <aaron@heyaaron.com> wrote:
> On 2010-06-06 at 11:10:42 +0100, Mark van Harmelen wrote:
>> Hi everyone
>>
>> I have no experience of virtualisation, apart from running VirtualBox here
>> and there, and I'm wondering if anyone has an easy-to-do recommendation for
>> me, please.
>
> You might want to take a look at Proxmox VE (http://proxmox.com/).
> It's essentially Debian with a few customized packages.
> It boots to a shell (no GUI), and then you actually manage it through
> a web interface.
>
> It lets you create KVM, and OpenVZ virtual machines.
>
> Pretty slick.
>
>> Has anyone got any experience converting a bare metal server to a virtual
>> image? For some free target, maybe KVM or one of the Xen products. Xen is
>
> The easiest way I've found is to boot the server using something like the
> System Rescue CD and then running:
> dd if=/dev/sda | ssh root@ip.of.hos.t dd of=/path/to/vm/image.raw
>
> If you are using proxmox, it would be something like:
> dd if=/dev/sda | ssh root@ip.of.hos.t dd of=/var/lib/vz/images/101/vm-101-disk-1.raw
>
>
> Shoot me an e-mail if you run into trouble.
>
> -A
>

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Old 06-07-2010, 07:59 PM
Jan Claeys
 
Default VMs: creating from bare metal install?

Op zondag 06-06-2010 om 12:40 uur [tijdzone +0200], schreef Serge van
Ginderachter:
> Make an image of your offline server with dd, and output that to an LVM
> volume on your vm host. Once you got that image, you might need to tweak
> something to provide a specific kernel, depending on your chosen vm
> techology, and maybe tweak fstab if you have different partitions next to /
> in your vm guest.

Other things you might want to change in some cases: network & firewall
configuration.

And there might be some other hardware-related configuration options
that need changes if there is difference between the real hardware in
the original server and the virtual hardware as seen inside the VM.


--
Jan Claeys


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