Xeon 5500+ with Xen

Xeon 5500+ with Xen

Hello,

I have a demo environment with several servers running Xeon 5500+ processors w/Tylersburg chipsets, and would like to investigate using a Xen hypervisor to run unmodified OS's. This means the processor/chipset VT-x and VT-d capabilities will need to be fully utilized and functional from BIOS to hypervisor.

I understand that this setup is complicated, requiring precise selection of a Xen hypervisor version, a paravirtualized host kernel (dom0) version, and quite a bit of filesystem, network, and driver configuration. Custom compilation of the hypervisor and host kernel might be necessary as well.

Can anyone help me select a combination of hypervisor and kernel that is well-tested with VT-x/VT-d on Xeon 5500+ and Tylersburg? What flavors of this software/hardware combination have worked? As Intel developers and hobbyists test VT with Xen, which hypervisor/Dom0 kernel's are preferred?

My searches for similar 'guides' or simple taxonomies on various message boards and blogs have been unsuccessful, or resulted in embarrassingly out-of-date information. I will attempt to collate any comments or anecdotes and present them back to the community.

Sincerely,

Scott Kuehn

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Hi Scott,

I was told that RHEL 5.4 Xen would be a good candidate. (Even better would be RHEL 5.5 which had a release candidate that just came out today.)

David Ott

Xen from Novell's SLES10 SP3, SLES11 and SLES11 SP1 RC1 would work as well. I would recommend starting with Xen from SLES11.
The setup seems complex at a first glance but I would encourage you to go for it and come back with any issues that you'll see. I have built a working prototype of a similar landscape as yours with Xen from SLES11.
Good luck,
Nick

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