Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

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Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
Hi,
I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
be tweaked post-install.

I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
(they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).

What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
- Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
  included since Squeeze.
- Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
  proprietary
- Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
- Qemu
- Citrix XenServer?

How should the images be generated? IMO the images would need to be
created by a DD and to provide at least some form of trust path validation
we could provide PGP signed hashes of the download images. Maybe some
virtualisation solutions also provide their own validation mechanisms.

Do people think this is relevant and are willing to work on providing
one of the images? If so, we could arrange a BoF at DebConf.

Cheers,
        Moritz











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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Robert Wolfe (Debian)
On 7/25/2011 6:27 PM, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:

> Hi,
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
> virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
> allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
> useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
> access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
> images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
> replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
> be tweaked post-install.
>
> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>
> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>    included since Squeeze.
> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>    proprietary
> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
> - Qemu
> - Citrix XenServer?
>

For now I would recommend against pre-configured Citrix XenServer
releases.  I am a Citrix CCNA and I would not recommend that for this
very reason.  Debian is best set up in Citrix Xenserver from scratch.  
As far as VMware goes, I use that at home all the time.  And with the
freely available VMWare Player, I make virtualized Debian installs
available to them all the time.


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Michael Gilbert
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> Do people think this is relevant and are willing to work on providing
> one of the images? If so, we could arrange a BoF at DebConf.

Moritz,

I just want to say that I think its an awesome idea.  I'm not at
debconf, but I may try to find time to help if something gets going.

Best wishes,
Mike


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Lars Wirzenius-5
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>   included since Squeeze.
> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>   proprietary
> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
> - Qemu
> - Citrix XenServer?

You don't mention KVM explicitly (it's almost identical to Qemu,
but fast), or Xen. Anyway, qemu-img can convert a raw disk image
into many other formats. So you generate one raw image, and then
convert it to any other formats using qemu-img.

> How should the images be generated?

vmdebootstrap --image=debian-squeeze.img --size=4G \
    --mirror=http://cdn.debian.net/debian --distribution=squeeze \
    --enable-dhcp --root-password=password1 --user=tomjon/password \
    --hostname=squeezebox --package=gnome

That should get you started. Vary the packages as you wish, and
see also the --customize option for futher tweaking.  

(vmdebootstrap is not in Debian at this time, but see
http://liw.fi/vmdebootstrap/ for the home page, and help with
packaging if you start using it, please.)

It would probably be nice to have a debian-installer based way to
generate the images, so they're as close to a real, installed system
as possible, but vmdebootstrap (or one of the other similar tools)
will do in a pinch.

> IMO the images would need to be created by a DD

IMHO, if the project will provide them, then they should be run
via cronjobs (or triggered by uploads) on a suitable project machine.

> Do people think this is relevant and are willing to work on providing
> one of the images? If so, we could arrange a BoF at DebConf.

I'm not at Debconf, but you may want to talk to Tom Marble or
Zack-the-DPL, who are hosting a BoF on automated testing, which
may include some image generation as a side-effect.

I'll note that for distribution, offering zsync is probably a
good idea: an updated image is going to be almost identical to
the previous version of the image, so zsync should save a lot of
bandwidth, but does not require running an rsync server.

Happy hacking.

--
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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Karl Goetz-4
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:27:09 +0200
Moritz Mühlenhoff <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of
> official virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently

I'd certainly find qemu-kvm images handy, Problem might be with the
amount of space on the host used by (free space) in the images.

> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>
> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?

> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>   proprietary
> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
> - Citrix XenServer?

Would this require the Debian project to go out and buy various bits of
proprietary software to build the images with?
thanks,
kk

--
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Debian contributor / gNewSense Maintainer
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
No, I won't join your social networking group

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Tony Godshall
On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 4:24 PM, Karl Goetz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:27:09 +0200
> Moritz Mühlenhoff <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of
>> official virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently
>
> I'd certainly find qemu-kvm images handy, Problem might be with the
> amount of space on the host used by (free space) in the images.

Use qcow2 disk format.

>> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
>> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>>
>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>
>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>>   proprietary
>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>> - Citrix XenServer?
>
> Would this require the Debian project to go out and buy various bits of
> proprietary software to build the images with?

Of course Debian should not provide images in proprietary
formats any more than it distributes non-free software.

Proprietary vendors should be able to convert from open formats.

Of course qemu-img/kvm-img does support this per its manpage:
           "vmdk"
               VMware 3 and 4 compatible image format.

Tony


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Yves-Alexis Perez-2
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On mar., 2011-07-26 at 00:27 +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
> virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
> allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
> useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
> access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
> images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
> replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
> be tweaked post-install.

Not completely relevant, but note that Aurélien Jarno provides Squeeze
images for various architectures under qemu at
http://people.debian.org/~aurel32/qemu/

Regards,
--
Yves-Alexis

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Lucas Nussbaum
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On 26/07/11 at 00:27 +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:

> Hi,
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
> virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
> allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
> useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
> access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
> images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
> replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
> be tweaked post-install.
>
> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>
> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>   included since Squeeze.
> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>   proprietary
> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
> - Qemu
> - Citrix XenServer?

- images for cloud infrastructures (AMI -- Amazon Machine Image)

L.


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Olivier B.-5
Le 26/07/2011 09:28, Lucas Nussbaum a écrit :

> On 26/07/11 at 00:27 +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
>> virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
>> allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
>> useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
>> access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
>> images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
>> replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
>> be tweaked post-install.
>>
>> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
>> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>>
>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>>    included since Squeeze.
>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>>    proprietary
>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>> - Qemu
>> - Citrix XenServer?
>
> - images for cloud infrastructures (AMI -- Amazon Machine Image)
>

+1

I would love to have an official Debian Image for Amazon and other cloud
infrastructures.


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Andrey Rahmatullin
In reply to this post by Lars Wirzenius-5
On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 11:46:47PM +0100, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> Anyway, qemu-img can convert a raw disk image
> into many other formats. So you generate one raw image, and then
> convert it to any other formats using qemu-img.
Also, according to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_disk_image#Virtual_disk_formats
majority of solutions support "vpc    VirtualPC compatible image format
(VHD)." and "vmdk    VMware 3 and 4 compatible image format."

--
WBR, wRAR

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Olivier Bonvalet-6
In reply to this post by Lucas Nussbaum
Le 26/07/2011 09:28, Lucas Nussbaum a écrit :

> On 26/07/11 at 00:27 +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
>> virtualisation images. In contrast to the ISOs currently provided it
>> allows a quicker evaluation/testing of Debian (and can also be very
>> useful for testing (e.g. someone wrote on debian-release that he doesn't have
>> access to oldstable/stable systems, with prepared virtualisation
>> images that would no longer be an issue). For many setups this could even
>> replace the installer since software selection and hostname can easily
>> be tweaked post-install.
>>
>> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
>> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>>
>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>>    included since Squeeze.
>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>>    proprietary
>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>> - Qemu
>> - Citrix XenServer?
>
> - images for cloud infrastructures (AMI -- Amazon Machine Image)
>

+1

I would love to have an official Debian Image for Amazon and other cloud
infrastructures.


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Jonathan Dowland
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> I think it's sufficient for starters to provide images for stable
> (they can be updated for every few point updates if needed).
>
> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?

As far as I understand it, a VM is usually two separate things: a disk image
and a VM definition.   We can probably prepare a disk image which is versatile
enough to work in a variety of VM technologies:  i.e., have the correct drivers
and software for the majority of VM hardware (or commonly virtualised
hardware).  This is probably pretty much done for us largely by the kernel
already.

The VM definition file is trickier.  qemu/kvm essentially don't have one; you
would supply command-line arguments to the tool.  virsh/libvirt/virt-manager et
al sitting on top of KVM have an XML definition.  VMWare uses an XML definition.
I suspect VirtualBox does as well.

End users may want to customize many aspects of the VM definition (perhaps all):
not least, specific networking settings; amount of memory; CPU affinity etc.

Perhaps a Debian web service could spit out custom VM definitions alongside the
image file in a chosen disk format for users on-demand?

For starters, compressed RAW disk format is perhaps the most useful disk image
format (can be imported into virtually anything)

--
Jon Dowland


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Vincent Bernat-3
In reply to this post by Lucas Nussbaum
OoO En cette  matinée ensoleillée du mardi 26  juillet 2011, vers 09:28,
Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> disait :

>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>> included since Squeeze.
>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>> proprietary
>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>> - Qemu
>> - Citrix XenServer?

> - images for cloud infrastructures (AMI -- Amazon Machine Image)

I  was  about to  ask  the  same. Those  images  seem  very popular  for
Ubuntu. Maybe we are missing something by not providing them. I remember
that those  images can be used with  Eucalyptus as well (no  need to use
Amazon).
--
Vincent Bernat ☯ http://vincent.bernat.im

Use the fundamental control flow constructs.
            - The Elements of Programming Style (Kernighan & Plauger)

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Philipp Hagemeister
In reply to this post by Jonathan Dowland
Jon Dowland wrote:
> The VM definition file is trickier.  qemu/kvm essentially don't have
one; you
> would supply command-line arguments to the tool.
virsh/libvirt/virt-manager et
> al sitting on top of KVM have an XML definition.  VMWare uses an XML
definition.
> I suspect VirtualBox does as well.
OVF is open, well-supported (including VirtualBox and VMWare), and imho
not a bad format.

I'd suggest we add support for OVF for the virtualization solutions that
don't support it instead of inventing a new format or writing obscure
metadata files for each virtualization solution(virtualizer?).

Philipp


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Sam Hartman-5
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
> virtualisation images

Yes, absolutely. These days having virtual images is yet another way of
distributing an operating system and I think we should do that.

> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?

As a general principle we should at least have all images needed to run
virtualisation technologies which we do have in the archive.

Additionally, I think we should also consider getting contacts with
"cloud providers" (e.g. Amazon, as mentioned in this thread) and have
them offer Debian images provided by us. Some of those provider already
offer, possibly via third parties, Debian virtualization images. It
would be much better if they can offer the "official" ones provided by
us. For this we need contacts though, possibly of people who are
Debian/FOSS friendly within the companies.  Of course we should strive
for not singling out any single company, hence the way it could work is
to have a page listing providers offering official Debian virtualisation
images + offering a contact point that providers could mail to get
listed. In that respect, it could work very much like
<http://www.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed>.

> How should the images be generated? IMO the images would need to be
> created by a DD and to provide at least some form of trust path
> validation we could provide PGP signed hashes of the download images.

No matter what internal process we decide to have for generating the
images, we should advertise them as official images rather than
distributing them under some sort of personal URL.

Thanks for raising this topic!
Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Capossela .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Luca Capello
In reply to this post by Lars Wirzenius-5
Hi there!

On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:46:47 +0200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
>> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
>> virtualisation images.

While the Debian Events team mainly needs a BabelBox, it would be also
useful to have a standard and full Debian desktop that people at booths
can easily download, better *before* being at a booth, and show to
people.  We could also provide them in the BabelBox machine, so booth
organizers can just copy the images:

  <http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Events/DebianEventsBox>

>> How should the images be generated?
>
> vmdebootstrap --image=debian-squeeze.img --size=4G \
>     --mirror=http://cdn.debian.net/debian --distribution=squeeze \
>     --enable-dhcp --root-password=password1 --user=tomjon/password \
>     --hostname=squeezebox --package=gnome
>
> That should get you started. Vary the packages as you wish, and
> see also the --customize option for futher tweaking.  
>
> (vmdebootstrap is not in Debian at this time, but see
> http://liw.fi/vmdebootstrap/ for the home page, and help with
> packaging if you start using it, please.)
FWIW, this is needed with QEMU/KVM for the Debian Events Box, so if no
one wants to package it I will do that.

> It would probably be nice to have a debian-installer based way to
> generate the images, so they're as close to a real, installed system
> as possible, but vmdebootstrap (or one of the other similar tools)
> will do in a pinch.

This would be really appreciated.

Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca

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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Evgeni Golov-2
In reply to this post by Tony Godshall
On 07/26/2011 02:00 AM, Tony Godshall wrote:

>>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>>
>>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>>>   proprietary
>>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>>> - Citrix XenServer?
>>
>> Would this require the Debian project to go out and buy various bits of
>> proprietary software to build the images with?
>
> Of course Debian should not provide images in proprietary
> formats any more than it distributes non-free software.

How about OVF[1]?
Who wants to hack support for it in qemu? :)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Virtualization_Format


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Yves-Alexis Perez-2
In reply to this post by Luca Capello
On mar., 2011-07-26 at 11:15 +0200, Luca Capello wrote:

> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:46:47 +0200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> > On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> >> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of
> official
> >> virtualisation images.
>
> While the Debian Events team mainly needs a BabelBox, it would be also
> useful to have a standard and full Debian desktop that people at
> booths
> can easily download, better *before* being at a booth, and show to
> people.  We could also provide them in the BabelBox machine, so booth
> organizers can just copy the images:
>
>   <http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Events/DebianEventsBox>

Well, there are Debian live cds with main desktop environment which
would nicely fit the purpose, imho. See
http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/release/current-live/amd64/iso-hybrid/
and http://live.debian.net

Regards,
--
Yves-Alexis


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Ian Campbell-2
In reply to this post by Moritz Mühlenhoff-2
On Tue, 2011-07-26 at 00:27 +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
> Hi,
> I believe it's high time we start to providing Debian in form of official
> virtualisation images. [...]
> Do people think this is relevant and are willing to work on providing
> one of the images? If so, we could arrange a BoF at DebConf.

I think this would be a great idea. If there is a BoF I'll do my best to
attend.

Ian.
--
Ian Campbell

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake
when you make it again.
                -- Franklin P. Jones


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Re: Providing official virtualisation images of Debian

Michael Tokarev
In reply to this post by Lars Wirzenius-5
26.07.2011 02:46, Lars Wirzenius wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27:09AM +0200, Moritz Mühlenhoff wrote:
>> What virtualisation solutions should be supported?
>> - Virtual Box seems like a natural candidate since it's free and
>>   included since Squeeze.
>> - Vmware has a significant installed base and is relevant, although
>>   proprietary
>> - Microsoft Virtual PC is likely also needed
>> - Qemu
>> - Citrix XenServer?
>
> You don't mention KVM explicitly (it's almost identical to Qemu,
> but fast), or Xen. Anyway, qemu-img can convert a raw disk image
> into many other formats. So you generate one raw image, and then
> convert it to any other formats using qemu-img.

There is, actually, practically no need to provide different
images, just one should be sufficient.

The question is: how well all the listed virtualization solutions
can work with raw images?

If they can do that, it's the best approach to take: create _one_
single image (of each distribution or point release, whatever) as
a raw image, and include all software (drivers and agents) to work
as a guest for any of the mentioned solutions.

That's basically it.

Yes, if some solution can't work with raw format, it most likely
have some import tool to convert raw to whatever format they
understand, and this is better be done by "native" utility than
by qemu-img, since native better understands all the needs.

The only problem is that raw images may be large(ish).  For that,
create as small as possible file, to fit stuff almost exactly,
and recommend resizing it.  Maybe... :)

/mjt


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