"Hello World" from Solaris on Xen

Last Friday we went multiuser for the first time on our Solaris-on-Xen port. (For the uninitiated, Xen is an open source hypervisor from the University of Cambridge - see http://xen.sf.net)

The underlying hardware is a 2-way Opteron box. We're at a point in the port where we still emit loads of debugging noise, and the boot-up sequence itself isn't that interesting, but it all works pretty well, and I just ssh'ed into the virtual machine and posted this very blog entry from a Solaris domU running side by side with a dom0 kernel, and domU version of Linux.

Here's some cut-and-paste of my ssh session:

hostname% uname -a
SunOS hostname 5.11 fpfix-2005-07-22 i86xen i386 i86xen
hostname% isainfo -x
i386: sse2 sse fxsr amd_3dnowx amd_3dnow amd_mmx mmx cmov cx8 tsc fpu
hostname% psrinfo -vp
The physical processor has 1 virtual processor (0)
  x86 (AuthenticAMD family 15 model 5 step 10 clock 2391 MHz)
        AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 250

Here's what this looks like from the dom0 side - the "control" kernel for the machine. (If this doesn't look right in your browser, it's my fault - the command really does generate nicely aligned columns ..)

# xm list
Name             Id  Mem(MB)  CPU  State  Time(s)  Console
Domain-0          0      955    0  r----   1115.2        
linuxhost        67      128    0  -b---      5.5    9667
hostname         66      511    1  -b---    539.7    9666

Thanks to everyone on the team - Todd, Joe, Stu, for all their hard work, and thanks to Ian Pratt of the Xen project for patiently answering our silly and occasionally not-so-silly questions.

S'very cool -- it boots pretty fast, despite the fact that we're still relying on non-batched hypervisor calls, and the kernel code is covered in ASSERTs. No, we don't have domain migration working yet - Joe and Stu are working on the infrastructure for that right now.

What's next for Solaris-on-Xen?
Well, we've been working off the (now rather long in the tooth) Xen 2.x source base; and we need to move on to the next major release of Xen: specifically the Xen 3.0 source base which the Xen team in Cambridge say is close to entering its testing phase. Xen 3.x provides a bunch of interesting capabilities that we're keen to explore: multiprocessor guests, 64-bit kernels, and we also want to make it possible to use Solaris in domain 0. Ian gave a great presentation on Xen, including more 3.0 details last week at OLS.

And we're happy to have other people join this project at this early stage to help us do that, or even just to experiment with the code in whatever other way they want to. To enable that, we're launching an OpenSolaris community discussion group about OpenSolaris on Xen where future postings like this will end up. Just to set expectations - we do have a wad of cleanup of the 2.0 work to do, and we have to sync up with the Solaris gate so that we get catch up with OpenSolaris (we started before the OpenSolaris launch and we've been based off build 15 ever since). There's a few weeks work to do there.

Obviously, we're early in the evaluation phase of this technology, and while the the capability and code base will be an OpenSolaris project, it won't be integrated into the top-level OpenSolaris tree until the project is complete. So please don't expect these capabilities to show up in the official OpenSolaris builds for quite a while. No, I don't even have a schedule for when they will.

How to participate? Well we're working on various ideas to make source and various builds and other components available to let the OpenSolaris community try this technology out, give us feedback, and participate in the engineering.

You can keep up with what we're doing by joining the OpenSolaris on Xen community at opensolaris.org which should appear in a day or two.

The OpenSolaris on Xen community is now up: register on the the OpenSolaris web site to participate.

Technorati Tag: OpenSolaris
Technorati Tag: Solaris
Technorati Tag: Xen


Hi! I have recently experienced "SUSE-on-Xen" and in the midst of interest in Xen. I am also one of the hotest Sol10 user. I would be so happy if I could use Sol-on-Xen! Looking forward to your great work proceeds more and more!(Of cource I also appreciate Solaris Zone so much).

Posted by Shimizu Miki on July 28, 2005 at 02:52 PM PDT #

Super cool! But what's about qemu?

Posted by sitchai on July 28, 2005 at 03:16 PM PDT #

Great news, Tim. Thanks for sharing. And I'm looking forward to seeing the xen community on opensolaris.org!

Posted by Claire Giordano on July 28, 2005 at 03:47 PM PDT #

Awesome! Great work-- I hope to play with it soon.

Posted by Matt Ingenthron on July 28, 2005 at 03:47 PM PDT #

I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Posted by benr on July 29, 2005 at 04:03 AM PDT #

[Trackback] More FUD [registration required - sorry, but yell at Novell if you don't like it]. This time from Novell. "Sun Microsystems has positioned Solaris 10 on x86... as an alternative to Linux -- and to open source." No, we haven't. OpenSolar...

Posted by The Alethiometer on August 01, 2005 at 09:39 AM PDT #

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