Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Xen Not Ready for Prime-time, says Red Hat 60

Posted by Hemos
from the fighting-a-losing-battle dept.
daria42 writes "A senior Red Hat executive today maintained the Xen open source virtualisation environment was not yet ready for enterprise use, despite 'unbelievable' customer demand and the fact rival Novell has already started shipping the software."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Xen Not Ready for Prime-time, says Red Hat

Comments Filter:
  • In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:41AM (#15816400)
    > A senior Red Hat executive today maintained the Xen open source virtualisation environment was not yet ready for enterprise use

    In other news, a senior Xen spokesman said Red Hat was not yet ready for enterprise use.

    Why are the pronouncements of executives considered newsworthy?
    • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eno2001 (527078)
      The problem is that PHBs only trust what PHBs in other companies say. They don't have the ability to grasp the concepts of the products they are trying to sell which is why many really great things never see the light of day. Sadly, if you leave the company in the hands of the techs, we tend to have little to no business sense and therefore the companies we run tend to go down in flames, in spite of the incredible products we might offer. (See: Digital Equipment Corporation. They had 64-bit before every
      • > Sadly, if you leave the company in the hands of the techs, we tend to have little to no business sense and therefore the companies we run tend to go down in flames, in spite of the incredible products we might offer. (See: Digital Equipment Corporation. They had 64-bit before everyone else. Not only that, but they had a laptop that was 64-bit and running Windows NT, OpenVMS and Digital Unix. We're still not there today.)

        DEC started sliding down the tubes when they started replacing their field engineer
    • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cerberusss (660701)
      Why are the pronouncements of executives considered newsworthy?

      Why not? You may not, but I find this very interesting. It says something about the adoption of Xen. You'd rather have an article on some technical Xen stuff, fine, but there's an outside world as well.
  • what is ready? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doktorjayd (469473) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:47AM (#15816432) Homepage Journal


    i run about 40-50 xen clients on a handful of moderate server hosts.

    perfect for dev work. i mean PERFECT

    quickly reproducible, adjustable resourcing, and lets me give devs root acces on their own clients.

    i presume the redhat dude meant was 'redhat isnt ready to commercially support xen'

    ----
    what, read the article? pfft.
    • Re:what is ready? (Score:5, Informative)

      by shani (1674) <shane@time-travellers.org> on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:44AM (#15816770) Homepage
      perfect for dev work. i mean PERFECT

      Except it doesn't support ACPI, which makes it pretty useless for a laptop, which is where I do most of my development. From the XenFaq [xensource.com]:

      1.5. Does Xen run on laptops?

      Xen will typically run on laptops, but there's currently no support for APM or ACPI, hence you'll experience reduced battery life and no suspend/resume. We hope to add ACPI support in the future, exploiting Linux's existing support.

      I'm using the gratis VMWare Server until the day that Xen actually suits my needs.
      • Re:what is ready? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        And of course nVidia's driver doesn't like XEN. The free one does seem to work but then you are left without a lot of features.
        Heck right now if you want a good Xen workstation you better forget about AMD.
        Intel does have the VT extensions out and they have an okay 3d video chip set that has full FOSS support.
        I have been an AMD fan since the K6-2. Right now for Xen Intel seems to be the way to go.
        Drat.
        • Re:what is ready? (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          AMD has its own virtualisation technology which goes far beyond what Intel has to offer, promising even more performance under virtualisation.
          • You mean Pacifica? Okay where can I buy a CPU with Pacifica extensions? Not out yet. I think AMD said that they will be making it into the newest Opteron soon but they are not yet shipping.
            Now for a workstation what card do I use? Not Nividia since that doesn't work with XEN.
            As I said, "Right now Intel has an advantage if you want to use XEN.".
            I have an Athlon 64 at home and my wife just bought a notebook that uses an AMD X2. I am not a fan boy so guess what. If you want a workstation today that will run X
    • Re:what is ready? (Score:3, Informative)

      by 51mon (566265)

      i presume the redhat dude meant was 'redhat isnt ready to commercially support xen'

      The folks at Novell have more motivation.

      They have para-virtualisation of this thing called "Netware" running under SuSE (hmm sure I have a dusty certificate somewhere saying I'm certified on Netware). It lets Netware run on boxes that Netware doesn't have drivers for. It lets customers consolidate servers, upgrade hardware, and keep running their investment in Netware, and I bet Netware is a lot simpler to get running relia

      • The way the Netware stuff is currently being run in GNU/Linux is *not* using XEN. Novell has ported most of the user-space applications that make part of Netware (eg. VirtualOffice, eDirectory, NCP/NSS) to GNU/Linux. These are distributed as Open Enterprise Server, which is, basically, SUSE + Netware Applications. So I don't see how having Netware would make Novell more motivated to support XEN.
        • The current schedule (AIUI) is for NetWare 6.5 to ship as a guest OS in Xen on SLES 10 mid-2007.

          I assume the motivation is client driven. They may have ported a lot of their own code to GNU/Linux, but I expect there is a client base of installed Netware, with third party software etc. That said I haven't seen Netware running anywhere for years, but then I'm no longer consulting in a different place every week.
    • i run about 40-50 xen clients on a handful of moderate server hosts.

      perfect for dev work. i mean PERFECT

      quickly reproducible, adjustable resourcing, and lets me give devs root acces on their own clients.

      i presume the redhat dude meant was 'redhat isnt ready to commercially support xen'

      That it worked in your configuration doesn't means it lacks serious issues. Xen is still a relatively immature product in the virtualization market and probably has a was to go before it's bulletproof enought to compete with V
  • by gigne (990887) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:50AM (#15816447) Homepage Journal
    Why make this sound like a bad thing? For a developer and retailer of enterprise class software, this is the most appropriate action to take. They need to make sure that the software is competently ready, not just in the eyes of Novell, but in their own eyes. Considering the complexity of such virtualisation software, they will have the issues of training and support for their own staff, never mind documentation.
    Considering this technology will make a debut in it's next gen release, it's not really all that much time to wait.
    It's plainly obvious what they are doing... prepare themselves in it's near entirety for the mass of users with xen related issues. This will show how professional they really are, and not just willing to jump on the bandwagon.

    New tech == new problems

    Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Was I the only one to think that the article's about Xen not yet ready to be used as a relay for teleportation from City 17 to Black Mesa East? :-)
  • by Dammital (220641)
    That sounds a little hypocritical, seeing as it comes from the guys who, not so long ago, distributed an unstable and unsupported release ("2.96") of GCC with their product.
    • by Walles (99143)
      What they are doing now is the exact opposite of that.

      Then:
      * Let's ship this (gcc-2.96)!

      Now:
      * Let's not ship this (Xen).

      Maybe they have simply become wiser with the years?
  • Until you can guarantee that I'll end up in the right laboratory, there's no way you'll convince me to step into a Xen-powered teleport.
    Oh, wait...
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <[atd7] [at] [cornell.edu]> on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:24AM (#15816645) Homepage
    This isn't a case of RedHat FUDing a competitor - RedHat is a Xen partner and thus has (some sort of) a vested interest in Xen succeeding.

    RedHat just doesn't yet feel that the time is right, but unlike other companies who like to FUD their competitors, RedHat wants the time to eventually become right so that they can comfortably include Xen into their products.
    • Sun has heavily invested in Xen, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them BUY Xen. Then Xen technology is in the next release of Solaris. Solaris 10 is RH's #1 competitor at the Enterprise OS level (and beats it in many ways). So if they can throw out some FUD and screw up Sun they are going to do it. After all they learned from what MS has done to Linux and how well that worked. Right now, TODAY, if I had to do virtualization I chose VMWare or Solaris 10 using Containers.
    • This isn't a case of RedHat FUDing a competitor - RedHat is a Xen partner and thus has (some sort of) a vested interest in Xen succeeding.

      But not as much interest as they have in RedHat succeeding. Basically, they don't have management GUIs or an internal training process in place for Xen yet, so they're claiming that Xen isn't yet ready in an effort to stop people from abandoning redhat for SuSe because they want Xen and they want it now.

  • I agree (Score:3, Informative)

    by IMightB (533307) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:27AM (#15816673) Journal
    wholeheartedly with RedHat on this one. I have rolled out about 12 Xen VM's in our QA dept, and have had lots and lots of very strange little quirks happen, things like SSH/SCP failing with Invalid MAC errors on large file transfers, and a few other things that make it barely usable for what I'm trying to do. I used Virtuozzo at my last job with very large numbers of VM's on a node to 1:1 depending on needs, and it was always rock solid. So I am now playing around with OpenVZ to replace Xen.
  • by GoRK (10018) <johnl@@@blurbco...com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:31AM (#15816696) Homepage Journal
    This isn't really that much of a suprise. RedHat has some fairly deep ties into VMware. They are one of the only 'officially supported' Linux guest operating systems that VMware will run (of course it also runs everything else just fine). The VMware service console of ESX is based on RedHat, etc. They have a pretty good track record there, and I suppose that it is worth it from this standpoint to maintain the relationship. I also imagine that they get a kickback from VMware whenever ESX is sold since it basically includes RHEL3 -- either that or VMware is paying them a lot of money --

    FWIW, I agree with them on Xen even though I hate RedHat. Xen is a great performer and a very capable platform, but management is difficult and it is still lacking a lot of important features that VMware implements. This is part of the reason for the performance hit of VMware ESX vs Xen. When Xen gets up to a very equivalent feature level I think that you'd see the performance gap is going to be a lot smaller. In a hosting application or something when your company can afford the overhead of maintaining Xen -- go for it. If you are actually worried about maintaing the VM's and can't take the extra headache of being a Xen admin as well, go for ESX.
    • by InsaneGeek (175763) <slashdot@insanegeeks. c o m> on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:19AM (#15816969) Homepage
      It'd be hard for you to be more *WRONG*, Redhat has been pushing Xen for quite some time, last year our Redhat rep told us that they want to use Xen so bad that if it passes the muster in Fedora it might come out as an addon to RHEL 4.0. They specifically said to us that it was their intent to have their customers not use VMware anymore. It makes only sense, Redhat requires a license for each VM under VMware or Xen, if they can get 4x the revenue per physical box they'd be stupid not to push for it, rather than having companies try to get things to co-exist on the same install, get them to just pony up for another license. Don't try and mix your different web servers in the same install, just give them each their own instance. With VMware they'd only ever have a limited number of their installations in this extremely profitable position, with Xen every single customer could be possible targets.

      VMware datacenter product only supports the enterprise Suse & Redhat products (none of the non-enterprise products), while VMware workstation products support: Mandriva, Mandrake, Redhat, Suse, Turbolinux, Ubuntu, etc. VMware has two different products lines, and look there's Suse and Redhat with two different product lines too, the reason that VMware support those two surely can't be that Suse & Redhat product lines match with VMware product lines, and in can't be that VMware chose RHEL as it's console OS for ESX was because of Redhat's commitment to long lifespan, stability or that there are lots more 3rd party enterprise tools that are certified with it than any other distribution it has to be colusion between the two while they rub their hands together nefariously, that is the only reasonable explanation.
      • Redhat requires a license for each VM under VMware or Xen
        Novell lets you run up to 10 instances of SLES (and maybe their other products too, don't know about them) on the supported hardware without paying one euro extra.
  • From TFA:

    "We don't feel that XenSource is stable enough to address banking, telco, or any other enterprise customer, so until we are comfortable, we will not release it."

    He's talking about environments like the one I work in, where we're expected to deliver a real, honest-to-betsy, 99.999 uptime on our systems. We do sometimes use RHEL in the enterprise for those platforms, but to be fair, it's mostly in RAIC (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Computers) type applications, or non-call-path systems. Many of our call-path-systems are boxes that can lose a processor without the OS going down - or the application running on it. There are some stand-alone Linux products, and they perform well enough, but I understand his reservations in those arenas. We're not talking about fileservers here, folks. But as we move to a more distributed architecture, where uptime is provided by redundancy rather than the 'robustness' of a single system, something like Xen will become more and more feasible for such applications.

  • by ezh (707373) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:44AM (#15816765)
    Xen was a big hype last year, but more virtualization products for Linux come to light, including OpenVZ [openvz.org], others. It is not just about Xen or VMware anymore. In fact, kernel developers work on a common interface for paravirtualization software [lwn.net]. That means users are going to have more choice implementing their kernel containers, whether XenSource stabilizes their product or not.
    • You are right. There are other solutions available, and there will be more to come.

      By the way, paravirtualization is quite different from OS-level virtualization [wikipedia.org] (which OpenVZ [wikipedia.org] and others do). For now, Xen is the only open source solution in the paravirt. area (other is VMware, there is also a patch from Rusty Russel to add an interface for hypervisors), while in OS-level virt. we have as many as four players, and at least two open source solutions. Who are those players and solutions? See below (taken fro

  • Marketting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyclops (1852) <rms@1 4 0 7 . o rg> on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:53AM (#15816827) Homepage
    RHEL5 is still a few months away, and I believe that when he says...
    "We don't feel that XenSource is stable enough to address banking, telco, or any other enterprise customer, so until we are comfortable, we will not release it."
    ...he means precisely to create the mindset that when RHEL5 comes out RedHat will have made Xen ready for enterprise use.

    I think they're trying to pour some "FUD" over current Xen distributions like, particularly, Novell's in order to make people wait for RH's version which will be "ready" :)
  • or maybe because of.
  • by Mr. Firewall (578517) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:09AM (#15817343) Homepage

    So Xen isn't ready for "prime time" yet. Yawn. So what? It's a software kludge that gives low-end (read: "x86") servers a subset of the partitioning capabilities that IBM's Power processors have had for years.

    If you want mission-critical reliability, you should be running hardware that is mission-critical reliable. Hint: that ain't Intel.

    Spend a little more, get a p-series server, partition it as many ways as you like (actually, I think you're limited to 32 partitions), and run a different OS on each one, if you like. You can run Linux, you can run AIX, you can run all kinds of stuff. You got your virtualization, you got your management tools, it's proven technology, and it runs in hardware.

    • If you want mission-critical reliability, you should be running hardware that is mission-critical reliable. Hint: that ain't Intel.


      This is 100% backwards. Redundant Array of Inexpensive Computers is the new model - design for failure with many cheap redundant servers. There are very few applications remaining where this is not a more cost effective (or just plain effective) approach than expensive "mission-critical" hardware.

      -Isaac
    • So Xen isn't ready for "prime time" yet. Yawn. So what? It's a software kludge that gives low-end (read: "x86") servers a subset of the partitioning capabilities that IBM's Power processors have had for years.

      They simply said they felt that it is not ready now and not that it wouldn't be ready. If you had read the article further, it would have noted Red Hat has been working with the software and wants to implement it in their next release. Red Hat tends for more stability over functionality. Novell is

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

Working...