Thursday Dec 17, 2009

VM template assembly details: Step 6/7 - Convert and compress the VM

Convert your master template to desired virtualization formats, compress it and you are done!

This is the last entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced in June this year.

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Wednesday Aug 12, 2009

VM template assembly details: Step 4/5 - Clean-up and finalize the template

You will need to clean-up and finalize your VM template, when continuing its development according to the process that we introduced in a previous entry of this series.

This is the sixth entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced in June this year.

The  objective of the clean-up phase is testing your template and removing the garbage that you may have created throughout the development and testing process. We will avoid digging into the testing process since that will be specific to your VM template's requirements and specifications. Cleaning can help reducing the overall size of the image, make the image independent on specifics of your development environment and ease the use. Consider the cleaning the following:

  • Logs of the installed software - both the OS and layered software
  • Configuration of the installed software - test users, specific host names. etc.
  • Unused file system space and swap space of the OS - set zeros
  • Virtualization software specific content - making the templates content independent on any given virtualization software (this means inclusion of appropriate drivers for the the virtualization software and appropriate OS configuration)
  • Temporary files - e.g. download location of new packages that you were adding to the template during the development process or testing logs

You should also consider disabling services that you don't want to run by default - e.g. SSH or reduce the number of Apache domains, if you don't use all that are started by default.

The finalization step (step 5) is straightforward. You will need to chose a reasonable name for the virtual disc included in your VM template. Choosing a generic (platform independent) name can make your life easier. You will save some time and effort on both development and maintenance. You should also think about making your VM template configuration file (e.g OVF) independent on any given virtualization software and integrate your license experience to it too if possible.

You should have your master VM template ready once you are done with these steps. Conversion of the template to virtualization formats of your choice and their compression will be discussed as the next (last) steps in this series.

Monday Jul 27, 2009

VM template assembly details: Step 2/3 - Add layered SW and template internals

The next steps in creating a VM template are adding the layered software and adding VM template internals, according to the process that we introduced in a previous entry of this series.

Web Space Server 10 VM Template: Console start-up

This is the fifth entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced in June this year.

[Read More]

Monday Jul 06, 2009

VM template assembly details: Step 1 - Create JeOS Instance

The first step in creating a VM template is to create a JeOS (Just Enough operating System) instance, according to the process that we introduced in the previous entry of this series.

This is the fourth entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced in June this year.

Introduction of the OpenSolaris 2008.11 JeOS

The OpenSolaris 2008.11 JeOS prototype was used as the foundation for building our VM template. You can use the JeOS as a building block, customize it by adding and subtracting packages and configuring it to meet the needs of your specific template/application. Existence of a pre-built and pre-configured JeOS simplifies the assembly process by avoiding template developers having to build JeOS building block images from scratch. 

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Monday Jun 29, 2009

VM template assembly process at glance

Deploy the software in a Virtual Machine according to the technical design and save it, that's really all you need to do.

This is the third entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced in June this year.

Let us take a look at steps that can lead us to the specific set of VM templates that can satisfy your requirements on a high level. Later blog entries will explain separate steps in greater detail. So, here we go:

VM template assembly process at glance

  1. Create JeOS instance: Take an existing JeOS (Just Enough Operating System) VM saved in one specific v12n format. Assign HW resources and set network configuration according to your technical design. We will touch on the OpenSolaris JeOS that we used for building the Web Space Server 10 VM Template in a subsequent entry.
  2. Add layered software: Install and configure layered software (web containers and/or applications that you want to expose through the template). Create default users.
  3. Add template internals: Add license and copyright information.  Add/modify, start-up scripts.  Integrate administration interfaces.  Set up the network paramteres. Integrate out-of-the box experience (welcome message to the CLI, start-up gui/web page).
  4. Clean-up the template: Test the image. Remove hard code (references to the physical machine, where it is deployed).  Clean-up log files, test data.  Clean-up unused file System space (set zeros).
  5. Finalize the template: Assign a name to the virtual disk. Integrate license process, if applicable (e.g. license acceptance through capabilities of the OVF format).
  6. Convert VM: Convert the image to virtualization formats of your choice.
  7. Compress VMs: Determine the naming convention for your files. Compress to compression formats of your choice.

Well, we probably never followed this process perfectly, when developing the Sun GlassFish Web Space Server 10 VM Template. It was evolving along the development of the VM template and it still keeps improving. Current steps may be changing, new steps may be introduced, terminology may be changing too. It should, however, give a good sense for steps we went through and it could, hopefully, help you starting your VM template development too.

Find the next entry in the series here.

Monday Jun 22, 2009

Virtual Machine (VM) template technical design

The development of a VM template is similar in essence to the development of any other SW product. You collect your business, functional and other requirements, develop, release and sustain the product. No black magic, pretty straightforward, isn't it?

This is the second entry in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we are sharing our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced earlier this month.

Web Space Sercer 10 VM Template - Technical Design
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Monday Jun 15, 2009

Build your own Virtual Machine (VM) template

The introductory entry of our blog indicated that we do not only intend to be announcing releases of VM templates through this blog, but would like to highlight other facets of these templates too, such as how people are using them and how their builds can be automated. Our ultimate goal is to encourage and support people both inside and outside of Sun in building their own VM templates that integrate Sun software.

This entry is the first in a series that's objective is to share our experience with building VM templates. Rather then describing a general approach or process, we would like to share our experience through the specific example of building the Sun Glassfish Web Space Server 10 VM Template that we announced earlier this month. Web Space Server logo

Although we may touch on business or functional aspects of the VM template delivery process, we aim at keeping the focus on its technical aspects. There are 3 technical areas that we will talk about.

Part 1: Technical design

Part 2: Assembly process at a glance

Part 3: Assembly process in detail

The process as we describe it is going to be manual (no build automation used). Anyone technically skilled on Unix-like systems should be able to follow it and create her or his own VM templates, hopefully. We are considering to start another category of entries to share knowledge and experience about VM template build automation that should complement this series.

We would be happy to hear from you. Knowing about images that you build or about experience you make can help us enriching the catalog of application VM templates we build and improve our own knowledge and approaches. We are in process of migrating our current collaboration wiki to a new place with a new structure. Please, use the comment functionality of this blog to provide feedback until we are done with the migration.

Find the second entry in the series here.

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