XEN and Me


My saga to use XEN started back in July 2012 when I ordered the New Server for Oracle 11.2 Clusterware and RAC Study. This has been a two and a half year struggle against the “I suck” experience with XEN and Oracle Virtual Machine Server (OVMS).

Kathy Sierra has the following chart which she used to explain How to be an expert:

With the completion of the Build of REDFERN1 on Victoria, I have passed the Suck Threshold.

The question is why did it take me so long to pass this threshold? The biggest problem is that I was too cheap—I had tried to set up OVMS without an OVM Manager (OVMM). Even when I spent the money to create an OVMM, I still ran into problems with the VNC console.

A short history of my attempts is as follows:

  1. July 2012 – install OVMS 3.1.1
  2. October 2012 – successfully deployed Cloud Control VM from Appliance (CLOUDCTL)
  3. December 2013 – install OVMS 3.2.6
  4. December 2013 to January 2014 – failed to install OVM Template for RAC (Revesby)
  5. April to May 2014 – install OVMS and OVMM 3.2.6 as part of the Setting up a Private Cloud project. Failed to deploy OEL6.
  6. March 2015 – install OVMS 3.3.1 and successfully deployed OEL7 from ISO.

It took me six (6) attempts over 2.5 years to be able to successfully set up a VM under OVMS. And over three (3) releases of OVMS.

What I have found in my latest attempt is that the documentation on XEN has improved greatly over the past few years. And I think the quality of the XEN software has improved so that there is more usable by people like me and is supported across more hardware configurations.

XENLight (XL) seems to be much more usable than XEND (XM) with the corresponding increase in clarity and breadth of documentation.

Could I have done better? Possibly not without spending a lot more money to get supported hardware like NAS.

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