An Update on xVM Server: Starting Early Access
By user12601629 on Aug 06, 2008
Given that we're getting very close to shipping, it's time to give everyone an update on progress and do a more in-depth sneak peek at features than I've done in the past. First, a quick reminder about what's included in the xVM Portfolio so you can see where xVM Server fits. The picture below shows how this fits together. We have xVM VirtualBox for small scale desktop virtualization, and VDI as a management layer that scales out to very large-scale desktop consolidation projects. Then, on the server side, we have xVM Server as the software to
virtualize a single server, and xVM Ops Center as the management tool
for large scale virtual and physical data center. xVM VirtualBox, xVM Ops Center and VDI are all commercially available today and rapidly being deployed by customers. You can go to sun.com/xvm to learn more about all of these.
The core hypervisor that is part of xVM Server has been available as part of Open Solaris for some time. However, xVM Server is really much more than just a naked hypervisor. The diagram below gives some insight on this:
While diving deep into the all the features of xVM Server is more than I'll try to do in just one blog entry, I'd like to focus on the management features. Note the BUI (Browser User Interface) and WS-MAN (Web Services Management) boxes in the diagram. Each copy of xVM Server includes an embedded web server that allows it to be managed remotely via a graphical user interface in a browser (on any OS you choose with no local software installed), or via a Web Services API. Let's take a few minutes and I'll give you a short tour of the user interface.
After the install of xVM Server, you can log into the system with any standard web browser. The xVM Server UI, which uses the open source Ext JS AJAX toolkit, will pop up immediately. Here's the log in screen.
After logging in you'll be presented with the top-level management view, which you can see here is running inside a standard Firefox browser. This shows the hardware view of this single xVM Server.
By expanding the tree on the left, you can see the list of guest virtual machines running on that server. The view below shows the information about a guest, which can be had by clicking on an entry in the tree. The the UI, the left panel shows your assets, the center panel shows an inspector for the current item you have selected, and the right panel shows a list of actions you can take on the selected item. If you choose to use a dedicated server to host the Ops Center management suite (instead of using the embedded xVM Server management tools) you'll be presented with a user interface that's almost identical, but adds powerful grouping and tagging features that allow for sensible management of thousands of machine instances.
As you can see if you look closely, there are features here for managing guest storage, virtual networking, historical monitoring and more. In future entries I'll dive down deeper into some of these. However, before we wrap up this tour, I thought I'd take just one more minute and give you a quick sample of what it's like to interact with the UI to acomplish a task. In this case, I'll show you the act of creating a new guest virtual machine. One of our goals for xVM Server, is to give you the power of a true Enterprise-class virtualization solution, but also make it instantly familiar to people using tools like xVM VirtualBox.
In order to create a new guest VM, you select the xVM Server object in the left panel and click Create New Guest on the right. In order to create a guest, you'll be presented with this wizard. For someone who's used xVM VirtualBox, much of this will seem familiar, but you quickly start to see new features such as multi-CPU guests, an intra-guest priority to ensure quality of service. and the ability to manage off-host network-based storage libraries.
That's all for now. More updates to come, and keep an eye out here
for more news. It's going to be a very busy end to the summer here!