Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 17th Aug 2006 19:51 UTC, submitted by mrbigsocks
Red Hat Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Brian Stevens has escalated to new heights the debate over whether the open-source Xen virtualization technology is ready for prime time, saying Novell was being irresponsible and risked damaging enterprises' first experiences with Xen. My Take: So "irresponsible" is synonymous to "being truthful"?
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Try Showing at LinuxWorld...
by maburger on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:01 UTC
maburger
Member since:
2005-07-11

....and maybe a few people will actually listen to your whining!

Reply Score: 3

Novell jumped the gun
by TechGeek on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:08 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I think Novell jumped the gun a bit. Xen doesn't have a lot of tools for it yet. And it really only runs Novell's stuff inside Novell. I have to say I don't think its quite ready for Enterprise yet. And any company that tries it and gets burned is apt to say, "Well thats open source for ya!" Putting beta software out there and saying its ready for prime time is a bit callous. Not to mention that there are still issues if you want to run a proprietary OS like Windows. VMware is much more mature by comparison and at least for now is a better solution to Enterprise users.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Novell jumped the gun
by ma_d on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:18 UTC in reply to "Novell jumped the gun"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

It's sad too because all those companies have to do is ignore the corporate marketing they know tends to lie and ask the people actually writing the software.

Although the Xen website doesn't exactly say "new risky software" in big flashy letters. It says "commercial support available" ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE: Novell jumped the gun
by butters on Thu 17th Aug 2006 21:00 UTC in reply to "Novell jumped the gun"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Xen doesn't have a lot of tools, but XenSource and other do. Novell doesn't support non-Novell Xen guests, but XenSource and others do. Any company that builds infrastructure on Xen is likely to buy support from someone who supports multi-OS configurations. I've said this before and I'll say it again: no OS vendor will ever be interested in supporting third-party guest systems.

Xen is not beta software. When covered by appropriate support agreements, Xen is ready for the enterprise. Xen runs Windows in full-virtualization mode on Intel VT or AMD SVM equipped hardware. They wanted to distribute a binary patch that allows Windows to run in paravirtualization mode, but Microsoft wouldn't have it. VMware has the same problem supporting Windows in paravirt mode.

VMware is certainly the more mature solution. At the moment, Xen provides superior performance, particularly on non-Windows host platforms. VMware is going full-throttle toward paravirtualization, and both projects are gunning for the same technological objectives. It stands to question whether we need two paravirtualization solutions with such similar designs, but there has to be an open paravirtualization solution, and you can only get that with Xen.

Novell has included Xen in SLES 10, but of course it's not installed by default. It's a good option for early adopters and sufficiently skilled enterprise IT shops. Xen will work well in many enterprise settings, so why not include it as an option?

Novell has stated what they support and don't support regarding Xen, and so have many other Xen support service providers. The technology is there. With appropriate support, there is no reason to wait for Red Hat to give its blessing.

Edited 2006-08-17 21:05

Reply Score: 3

RE: Novell jumped the gun
by sbenitezb on Thu 17th Aug 2006 21:32 UTC in reply to "Novell jumped the gun"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

"Putting beta software out there and saying its ready for prime time is a bit callous"

Companies buy beta software from Microsoft all the time. This is nothing new.

Reply Score: 5

redhat/suse difference
by macisaac on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:17 UTC
macisaac
Member since:
2005-08-28

"I think they [Novell] are being cavalier. We know what we need to be enterprise-ready and we already have a checklist of everything we need for that. They [Novell] have decided it's more important to be first. That's fine and maybe makes sense for them,"

sadly, that seems all too common when it comes to novell/suse in general it seems (at least these days) as compared to the path redhat has taken with their enterprise offerings...

Reply Score: 3

tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

... with a serious grain of salt. Novell and Red Hat are competitors. Perhaps Novell did the right thing for its customers in supporting virtualization of Novell apps. I'd be interested in hearing from Novell customers to hear what THEY think, not what the marketing shills say.

Reply Score: 4

Xen isn't quite there yet...
by SEJeff on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:28 UTC
SEJeff
Member since:
2005-11-05

Novell says Xen is ready because the version in SLES only runs Novell. How do I know this? All of the Linux servers I administer run SLES9 and we have a pilot testing out SLES 10. Novell took Xen and chopped it down a bit and only supports their own operating system on it.

Redhat says that Xen isn't ready because they aren't trying to ship it first, they are trying to ship it once it's ready to run any OS supported by Xen. That is the main difference between the two companies

A few of the Xen issues Novell doesn't say anything
about:
- Xen SMP support is very poor or broken.
http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-devel/2006-08/msg01000...
http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-devel/2006-08/msg00574...

- There are issues with the Xen networking code that were recently fixed:
http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-devel/2006-08/msg00894...

- Xen occasionally corrupts filesystems:
http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-devel/2006-06/msg00973...
http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-xen/2006-April/msg00004.html

Novell overcame this by stripping out some of the Xen features which Redhat is not willing to do. Redhat is putting engineers on fixing these serious problems before shipping a 1/2 working solution. Novell is also serious about fixing these issues, but they are a bit more quiet (read deceptive) about it.

Remember how much Novell touted that SLES was the first
"enterprise" linux distribution to use the 2.6 kernel
and how Redhat would suffer as a result? That time is
now gone and redhat did more testing / stabilization.
I still see more redhat linux servers than SLES in the
"enterprise".

Edited 2006-08-17 20:32

Reply Score: 5

A few things
by IanSVT on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:29 UTC
IanSVT
Member since:
2005-07-06

As I've mentioned here before, Novell, along with many other software vendors pile forward with new offerings before they're really ready. NetWare 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, GroupWise 7.0, OES Linux 1.0 are just a few examples. It's a shame, but it's just what happens. It's the same with every major software vendor. It took a few years to get Windows XP right(well, as right as it's going to get).

Beyond that, if any CTO or IT manager will plow ahead with any base level software without have the proper support structure, they should be fired, out of a cannon, into the sun. In other words, the customer needs to have a level of accountability, moreso than the software vendor. Who in their right mind is going to dump a production system into a virtualized environment without proper testing and a backout plan if things just don't work?

This isn't support with software playing around with it on your test box at home or in the office. Xen is for production systems. Don't use it in production until you know it works. If you don't, THAT would be irresponsible, by you, not by Novell or any other software vendor.

Reply Score: 3

Novell gone features over stability
by Don T. Bothers on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:32 UTC
Don T. Bothers
Member since:
2006-03-15

I guess Novell went the way of Microsoft and threw caution out the window in favor of features. Not only is Xen not ready, neither is XGL. I find it quite disturbing that both of these technologies were included in the "Enterprise" version. The decisions they have made smell of desperation.

Reply Score: 5

jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

You know you do not have to use them. Just because a feature is included doesnt mean that it should be used. Its like that with Windows/Office/Netware/Linux blah blah blah... You really think every enterprise in the US is going to use Aero in Vista.
They can include anything they want.. As long as they provide a way for it to be disabled I dont really care.. I personally cared more about its interaction in an Active Directory setting and remote management... And that works fine. So no beef with me...

Reply Score: 4

IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

Amen to that jakesdad, well, minus the active directory part anyway. You don't need to use every feature. You only need to use what you need. If XGL words for you, then great. If not, oh well. It will eventually, just not yet.

Reply Score: 1

rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

"You know you do not have to use them. Just because a feature is included doesnt mean that it should be used. Its like that with Windows/Office/Netware/Linux blah blah blah... You really think every enterprise in the US is going to use Aero in Vista.
They can include anything they want.. As long as they provide a way for it to be disabled I dont really care.. I personally cared more about its interaction in an Active Directory setting and remote management... And that works fine. So no beef with me..."

The problem here is not that they are adding too many features, but they are adding a feature that seems to be incomplete and unstable.

Now XGL is OK, since if it breaks, you can just disable it. But if XEN breaks, you might lose important data and waste a lot of time until you can bring your system into a production state again. People will only disable XEN when it's already too late, since Novell is not warning them about potential risks.

Edited 2006-08-17 22:10

Reply Score: 3

jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

Valid point. So i will leave it alone and just say if it works for you great. I gave you a point as well.

Reply Score: 1

somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

I guess Novell went the way of Microsoft and threw caution out the window in favor of features. Not only is Xen not ready, neither is XGL. I find it quite disturbing that both of these technologies were included in the "Enterprise" version. The decisions they have made smell of desperation.

Actualy, they are both really, really stable for me. But as you pointed out "Enterprise"??? Not.

RH previous claim was not about Xen sucked or something, more or less lack of "Enterprise". And how they plan to add those enterprice needed features to it, before deploying it into OS without "Warning" label.

On the other side, I would love if the kernel guys would go with unified virtualization interface ops (even though this would mean I would have to wait longer). As for now, Xen is not really universal tool, but with those it could become one of the most parts of it. Xen rocks, but it has its limitations too, and those are mostly parts where other could excel.

Reply Score: 2

sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

" guess Novell went the way of Microsoft and threw caution out the window in favor of features. Not only is Xen not ready, neither is XGL. I find it quite disturbing that both of these technologies were included in the "Enterprise" version. The decisions they have made smell of desperation"

Sure, the face extintion.

Reply Score: 1

Your take...
by kernelpanicked on Thu 17th Aug 2006 20:57 UTC
kernelpanicked
Member since:
2006-02-01

would be wrong

Reply Score: 1

RE: Your take...
by macisaac on Thu 17th Aug 2006 22:17 UTC in reply to "Your take..."
macisaac Member since:
2005-08-28

to be honest, I'm kind of scratching my head on this particular "take." what does the one (irresponsible, ie according to redhat novell's shipping xen as enterprise ready when it's not) have to do with the other (telling the truth...? who? redhat? novell?) the sentence just doesn't make sense for someone who's read the article.

Reply Score: 2

Sure its ready...
by bladernr on Thu 17th Aug 2006 21:37 UTC
bladernr
Member since:
2006-08-17

Unless you have real hardware...

I love how the "Enterprise" ready Xen in SLES10 is limited BY CODE to 32 processors max and it throws a kernel panic if you are using 64GB or more RAM.

I am quite irritated by the fact that my 64-way (16 Dual Core + Hyperthreading) multi-node machine with 256GB RAM is hamstrung to no better than what my 2U boxes can do.

Plus the ONLY way to administer it is through YaST, it does not work OOB with network bonding...

but then again, is this really a surprise?

Edited 2006-08-17 21:40

Reply Score: 3

RE: Xen isn't quite there yet...
by Mark Williamson on Fri 18th Aug 2006 00:40 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

A couple of points. I work on Xen, so I may be biased ;-)

> A few of the Xen issues Novell doesn't say anything
> about:
> - Xen SMP support is very poor or broken.

The first bug report is for HVM guests, the second is for the case of getting Xen running on a new MacBook.

I'm not sure what the state of HVM guests is - not my area - but I'm not surprised if SMP in HVM needs some work. This is distinct from SMP in paravirtualised guests, which I think has been pretty stable for a long time. As you rightly point out, by allowing only Xen-aware SLES guests to run, Novell has sidestepped the problem of getting HVM SMP working, whilst still being able to support SMP guests for their OS.

> - Xen occasionally corrupts filesystems: >http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-devel/2006-06/msg00973.....
>http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-xen/2006-April/msg00004.html

The first post appears to be an operator's mishap, and is not a Xen filesystem corruption bug per se - such a bug would be quite serious. Rather, the admin modified the filesystem of a suspended virtual machine - this will trash things on any virtual machine platform. I don't really see a particularly obvious way of solving this satisfactorily, other than hiding virtual disks from users, or requiring the users to "check out" disks from Xen control. Maybe this would be a good idea.

I didn't really follow the problem in the second post, so can't comment - it's late over here ;-)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Novell gone features over stability
by LinuxRocks on Fri 18th Aug 2006 03:16 UTC
LinuxRocks
Member since:
2005-11-11

"The problem here is not that they are adding too many features, but they are adding a feature that seems to be incomplete and unstable."
-----------------------------------------------------

Well have to see how it works out for Novell, and as a long time Sysadmin/Architect for Windows and Linux environments, I will test the hell out of it before I roll it out to production

HOWEVER, your assertion that they are releasing incomplete and unstable code has been the raison d'etre of Microsoft since their inception; and it's seemed to work for them...

I say, go to town Novell, and God speed...

Reply Score: 0

FUD ,FUD ,FUD
by happycamper on Fri 18th Aug 2006 03:18 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

I don't see how Red Hat can say that Xen is not ready for production use. when NetBSD added it to thier OS while back and it's performing very well, and FreeBSD will also add Xen to their upcoming release 6.2. I suspect red hat is trying to spread FUD, so novell well not exceed them.

Edited 2006-08-18 03:20

Reply Score: 2

stephanem
Member since:
2006-01-11

and what the hell does Xensource have to say about this. Aren't they the main developer of Xen or because of Open Source they have no clout and no more influence left on the project. I kinda feel sad for them

Reply Score: 1