The Latest Solaris on Xen drop

I've learned something.. Never promise to write a follow up blog. :-) In keeping with my usual raw data dump style, here are some tips and tricks...

The latest Solaris on Xen drop is out. If you haven't seen it already, head over to here.

If you don't have a vncviewer installed, you can use the one which is part of vino (remote desktop). Here's what I have on some of my systems.
$ cat `which vncviewer`
exec java -jar /usr/share/gnome/vino/vino-client.jar  ${1+"$@"} 
When running windows XP as a guest, you can enable (crappy) sound by adding the following to your py file.
The default NIC in HVM works fine, but is slowww. At this time, WinXP PV drivers aren't generally available (to speed the IO up).
  vif = [ 'type=ioemu,mac=.your mac here.' ]
Also in WinXP, if your using VNC, specifying a USB tablet is helpful for mouse tracking. This doesn't work in Linux HVM domains though (no driver available). e.g. add ...
Other than the NIC, these settings work equally well in Windows Vista. You need to use a different NIC to get networking to work in Vista, e.g.
  vif =  ['type=ioemu,mac=.your mac here.,model=ne2k_pci']
I have few guests on my system.

I need more memory on my system now. 4G isn't enough anymore. It takes a while to go through all my guests and install the updates weekly.

A couple of the more interesting, non traditional ones... for Ubunutu, I did a HVM install and then copied in a Linux domU kernel which I built (all static, no modules). One thing I haven't figured out yet is how to properly setup the console devices. I can't seem to get /dev/xvc0 or /dev/tty0 created even though the frontend and backend driver are present. I do get console output on xvc0 though, so it is usuable. For the PV framebuffer, I do get a connection between the frontend/backend, but can't run X since it wants to open /dev/tty0. You do see a lot of "/dev/mem: mmap: Bad address" messages which comes from /usr/sbin/dmidecode trying to call into the BIOS (which isn't support in a PV guest). Unfortunately it's not a trival thing to remove...
    root@mrj-desktop:/etc# apt-get remove dmidecode
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    The following packages will be REMOVED:
      acpi-support dmidecode gnome-power-manager gnome-session hotkey-setup
      laptop-detect powermanagement-interface powernowd tasksel tasksel-data
      ubuntu-desktop ubuntu-minimal ubuntu-standard
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 13 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    27 not fully installed or removed.
    Need to get 0B of archives.
    After unpacking 17.2MB disk space will be freed.
    Do you want to continue [Y/n]? n
It hasn't stopped me from doing anything other than upgrading hotkey-setup.

My gentoo guest is a staging area for building my via based router image. I have a compact flash in the system with a kernel and compressed ramdisk. The ramdisk is < 256M when uncompressed. This way I don't write to the compact flash very often, and if the system is hacked, I just need to power cycle to clean it up. I'm running a real gentoo/glibc (vs ulibc) distro which is why it's so big. I have a disk image which I loop mount and chroot to. I update all the packages then umount, copy the image file to a final image file. loop mount and chroot to new image file. emerge -C the man pages and gcc, rm -rf /usr/portage, portage files in /var, and some extra docs, then gzip it and scp it to the router. I have to install more memory this way but can run any package I want which is nice..

It's nice to be able to do all this from one system now :-) It's surprising how often I fire up the other OSes to try something out or look around, etc. I just need a laptop with 8G or more of memory now... :-)

Hi!! Very insightful your post. Could you tell us which is your hardware? I have heard good comments about the ASUS MN32 mobo for running Nevada. Thanks in advance. Javier

Posted by Javier O. Augusto on July 24, 2007 at 01:34 AM EDT #

I'm using a ASUS p5b-vm motherboard. It had some problems with 4G of memory which was recently fixed with the 901 BIOS release. CPU is an Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6400. 4G of RAM (Kingston KVR667D2N6K2). I have 4 500G SATA disks (Segate 7200.10) running in legacy mode. Geforce 7600GS x16 PCI-E graphics card. There are some interrupt sharing bugs which this motherboard hits in Solaris which are fixed in the Solaris on Xen bits which have not been putback to Solaris Express yet. I also need to find a good PCI-E sata card instead of using the built in SATA controller since it doesn't support AHCI on this motherboard (which really hurts the disk performance).

Posted by Mark Johnson on July 24, 2007 at 01:10 PM EDT #

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