My old backup method was a little cumbersome. To ensure a good backup set, I’d take down the virtual machine, mount the VM storage on the host (Xen), then perform an rdiff-backup of the entire file system, before bringing the VM back up again. This happened daily, automatically, around 3:30am. It has been working for over 3 years with very few hiccups. I’ve had to restore entire VMs and that has worked too. One day I needed to restore the Zimbra system ASAP. From the time I decided to do the restore until end-users could make use of the system was 20 minutes. That’s pretty sweet in my book.
There are some issues with the current setup.
- Backups are performed locally, to a different physical disk before being rsync’ed to the backup server. This is necessary because the backup tool versions are different and incompatible between Ubuntu 8.04 and 10.04 LTS servers.
- Each system is completely shutdown for some period of time during the backup process. It is usually 1-4 minutes, but still that is downtime.
- Most of the systems are still using 8.04 paravirtual machines under Xen. A migration of some type is needed to a newer OSes. I should use this opportunity to make things better.
- Some of the systems are running old versions of software which are not up to current patch levels. I guess this happens in all IT shops. None of that is available outside the VPN, so the risks are pretty low.
think I can do better.
Since this is a technology blog, I figure some of you may be interested in a major change that happened out of necessity here today.
This is the very first blog article on our new physical server, running in a completely different virtual machine. For the next week, everything here is a test.
Due to some sort of outage issue earlier today, I was forced to upgrade everything involved with this blog. I had attempted to perform this upgrade previously and failed. As you can see, this time, there was success. Nobody was shocked more than I.
Below is the 2nd of 6 questions from a reader. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m not short on opinion. ;)
Laurens Duijvesteijn asks:
Q2: I read everywhere about Virtualisation, should I directly install packages to the base system to provide services, or should I virtualise all services? What are the advantages here?
Advantages of Virtualization
The list of advantages is long, but with those advantages comes a few disadvantages. I cannot hope to point out all the advantages, so I’ll limit it to just the main ones.
It is possible to run the Android development environment inside a KVM virtual machine. Below is how.
Seems that 2GB isn’t enough for some specialized PBX Linux solutions to build, so I found myself needing to increase the size of a KVM virtual machine image on running Ubuntu Server 10.04 Lucid Lynx in the VM. This technique probably will not work for sparse or VMDK-based VM images. It should work for Xen and KVM IMG-base VM files, however. Anyway, below is how I did it.
How to ask for help for Linux issues.
All of us need a little help now and again. Linux users aren’t any different than MS-Windows or Mac users in that regard. The difference is that to get help for Linux, you need to do a little more research first.
We’ll assume you don’t have a nearby Linux knowledgeable friend that knows everything. You’ll need to ask people you do not know for help. Or, perhaps you are the Linux guru in your circle of friends and your questions are more complex than most.
Below, I’ll suggest a few methods to use to get help and outline the data you should include in your requests to optimize the ability of others to actually be helpful to you.
Xen as a Dom0 is not supported in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) by Canonical. Both Canonical and Redhat have decided to get behind the KVM virtualization method instead. I think this was a choice driven by the required maintenance effort, since KVM hooks have been in the baseline Linux Kernel for about a year and Xen inclusion into the Linux kernel doesn’t seem likely at any point in the future. Supporting Xen kernels is just too tough.
I use virtualization … a lot. I started writing an article entitled Converting WinXP from VirtualBox to KVM today, but couldn’t due to issues.
The latest thing I’m trying to accomplish is to migrate to KVM for all the current VM needs that I have. This may not be a good idea since we’re running Xen, VirtualBox and ESXi VM hosts. Today I attempted to convert a WindowsXP Professional install running under VirtualBox 3.x to KVM. I’ve attempted this conversion before, but it failed, badly. This time, I’m using VMware Converter and it failed before it even got started.
The last few days, I’ve been playing with Ubuntu Server 9.10. It hasn’t been perfect. There have been problems along the way. So everyone else knows the issues, I’ll list a few here with a little detail.
It all started during the Server 9.10 x64 installation.
Be certain to check out the comments for solutions to issues as I discover them.