OpenVZ Project Embeds Virtual Private Servers in Xen Partitions
Published: December 4, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
The OpenVZ development project behind SWsoft's Virtuozzo virtual private server (VPS) software for Linux and Windows machines, said last week that it has merged two different virtualization technologies together.
OpenVZ is open source implementation of the Virtuozzo product, which runs on both Windows and Linux servers and which creates virtual server slices that share an operating system kernel and file system but provides isolation for applications and security settings. (The virtual private server approach makes each virtual operating system instance look like a virtual machine partition, even though it really isn't. Virtual private servers are easier to manage and patch, but they are not completely isolated.) The OpenVZ code is only available on Linux; a freebie Windows version of the code is not available.
If you like to compartmentalize your applications for security or other reasons--such as, you are an Internet service provider who wants to get the most usage out of a server by running multiple operating systems--you can now run OpenVZ VPS partitions inside Xen partitions created by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 5.1. (You can download the OpenVZ code here.)
"We wanted to show people what is possible with the low overhead of our operating system virtualization open source OpenVZ software," explained Kir Kolyshkin, manager of the OpenVZ project. "This is a marriage of complementary technologies that blends the flexibility of virtual machine technology, which is capable of running different operating systems, along with the efficiency of OS virtualization, which can run several times more virtual servers as compared with other virtualization technologies."
OpenVZ is supported on Debian, Red Hat, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu, Slackware, Gentoo, CentOS, and Mandriva Linuxes. You can spin your own template using the open source code.
The OpenVZ project announced support for the Linux 2.6.22 kernel back in September. Working with IBM, the project created a new Process ID (PID) namespace technology that replaces the User ID namespace that was in prior Linux kernels; PID is expected to be adopted into a future Linux kernel, making it possible for OpenVZ to run more easily on future commercial Linuxes. The PID code is a prerequisite for live migration of virtual private servers from one physical box to another.
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