Current Position- Senior Systems Engineer at Brandeis University
Education - Business Information Systems at Lehigh University
Xen Involvement - I was first introduced to Xen with the 2.0.x series back in 2005. Since then, I've been using it on a day-to-day basis within enterprise environments. When I began working at Brandeis University in 2006, I was eager to take advantage of our two Compellent SAN's for centralized storage of domU's -- allowing for live migration functionality. I standardized on Xen 3.0.4-1 after much testing and began deploying domU's to run internal services, such as a jabber, a wiki, and subversion.
Our Xen infrastructure has grown to now consist of 16 dom0 Xen servers (12 dedicated for 32-bit operations and 4 for 64-bit), all running Xen 3.1.4. Presently, we have about 230 domU's running across our Xen deployments, supporting critical enterprise systems such as: Oracle 10g databases, Course Management software (Moodle), PeopleSoft Enterprise (Financials, Student Administration, Human Resources), Bmail (Zimbra), Single Sign-On (Cosign), and many more.
For the past year or so, I've been working on a (now stagnant) project dubbed Xengine -- a Xen management console which fully relies on the Xen API. See for screenshots. In addition, I've been writing a "Xen API by Example" document to introduce the Xen API, both in terms of the raw XML-RPC interaction under-the-hood (language agnostic) as well as in Python using the Xen Python bindings. If anybody is interested in either project, please let me know, because it will help me get development/writing going again :-)
Lastly, lately I've been experimenting with Xen deployments to provide high-availability and redundancy via DRBD and Linux-HA (Heartbeat). This has great potential for the deployment of critical enterprise infrastructure systems, such as DNS/DHCP and Monitoring (Nagios, Hyperic, etc), which we would prefer to not run via centralized storage (don't want DNS to stop workin' if we have a SAN hiccup, now do we :-) ? Now what was the IP of our vendor's site again...?!).
Brandeis University Xen.org Case Study
Thoughts on Xen - Xen is a wonderful addition to any systems administrator/engineer's toolkit. Its extremely helpful when attempting to provide high-availability (think live-migration), scalability, security/isolation, and rapid deployment -- especially on a budget. But while it makes life easier in these areas, manageability still remains to be addressed with respect to enterprise deployments. This is obviously what Citrix XenServer wonderfully solves, but not the Xen open-source community release. Hopefully going forward we'll see solutions like Xengine and others address this issue!
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