Preview: Fedora 18 Beta Release for Xen, XCP, VMWare and KVM

The delayed Fedora 18 recently went beta with a projected final release date in early January. We have created a limited set of images to help participate in the beta and explore the new options and features. Currently there are Xfce Desktop and CLI images for VMWare, KVM, Xen and XCP/XenServer. These are all 64-bit versions. 32-bit templates as well as additional platforms will be added upon the upstream production release.

Fedora 18 Templates on x86_64

Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal) Images and Templates Ready for Download

Ubuntu has released the latest version of their Linux distribution. The first production set of images and templates are available now. We have lightweight CLI images for Xen, VMWare, KVM, SolusVM Xen PV and XenServer/XCP in 32 and 64-bit versions. Xfce 4.1 desktop images are available for all platform/architecture combinations as well.

(Note: our KVM images are not intended for deployment on SolusVM)

x86_64 Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal) Images
x86 Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal) Images

Slackware 14.0 Images And Templates for KVM, Xen and VMWare Available for Download

Slackware released version 14.0 this week. 32 and 64-bit templates and images are available for SolusVM (Xen PV), Xen 3/4, VMWare, QEMU/KVM and XenServer/XCP. Slackware does not package a Xen PV kernel so all PV-enabled templates have a recompiled kernel based on the 3.2.29-generic slackbuild, but with Xen PV enabled.

Please follow the links to download:

Slackware 14.0 32-bit

Preview: Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal, Beta 2 Release

The second (and final) beta release of Ubuntu is available. At the moment the downloads include 64-bit CLI and Xfce desktop images for KVM, Xen, VMWare, XCP and SolusVM Xen. When the production release happens in October we will add 32-bit templates as well. Feedback is welcome!

Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal (BETA 2)

OpenSuse 12.2 Images And Templates for KVM, Xen, VMWare, XenServer and SolusVM Xen PV

The OpenSuse project released version 12.2 today. x86 and x86_64 lightweight images for Xen, KVM, VMWare, XenServer and SolusVM Xen PV are ready for download. SolusVM users should be aware that OpenSuse is not officially supported by the control panel.

OpenSuse 12.2 32-bit
OpenSuse 12.2 64-bit

Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS (Precise Pangolin) Images and Templates Ready for Download

Ubuntu has released the first update to 12.04 (Precise). The updated templates are at the links below.

x86_64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise) Images
x86 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise) Images

Scientific Linux 6.3 Images and Templates Available For KVM, Xen, SolusVM Xen PV, VMWare and XCP

The Scientific Linux project has released version 6.3 today. We have now released lightweight images for Xen, XCP, VMWare, KVM and SolusVM Xen PV on x86_64. Additional downloads (Desktops) are available for Xen, VMWare, KVM on x86_64.

Scientific Linux 6.3 x86 Downloads
Scientific Linux 6.3 x86_64 Downloads

OpenSuse 12.2 and Slackware 14.0 Preview Images for Xen, KVM and VMWare

OpenSuse 12.2 has reached RC2 status with a projected release of mid-September. Slackware 14 is currently in Beta with an unknown release date. Preview x86_64 builds for both distros are ready for testing.

OpenSuse 12.2 RC Downloads
Slackware 14.0 BETA Downloads

CentOS 6.3 Images and Templates Available For KVM, Xen, SolusVM Xen PV, VMWare and XCP

The CentOS project has released version 6.3. We have now released lightweight images for Xen, XCP, VMWare, KVM and SolusVM Xen PV on x86 and x86_64. Additional downloads (Desktops) are available for Xen, VMWare, KVM and SolusVM.

CentOS 6.3 x86 Downloads
CentOS 6.3 x86_64 Downloads

Upcoming Changes to Disk Image Formats

Stacklet is changing the virtual disk formats used for Xen, XCP and KVM:

Xen 3/Xen 4; XVA
Since 2004 we have been using sparse images containing a single ext3 partition for images targeted for Xen PV. This has the advantage of being easy to loop mount and edit, as well as being highly compatible with the various generations of xen hypervisors, pygrub/pvgrub and higher-level control panels. We are retaining this format but transitioning to ext4 as the root filesystem of the domU image. Since the XCP templates are direct derivatives of the xen images this will also apply to our xva files. The recent builds of Fedora, Gentoo and Arch Linux have already made this transition without any apparent issues.

The downside is simply that users with old dom0 environments may be unable to loop mount an ext4 image or properly boot an ext4 image using pygrub.

In the full virtualization realm we have been using ext4 for a while now, embedded in a qcow2 disk image. The change here is that kvm images henceforth will be encoded as sparse raw disk images. This will achieve two things: better integration with various environments that use raw disk images exclusively or as a default. Also, it provides easier manipulation of an image with CLI tools. The downside is that qcow2 has features not available to raw disk images (eg snapshots), but this is mitigated by the fact that raw disk images can be trivially and rapidly converted to qcow2 using "qemu-img convert". [Conversions with qemu-img are bidirectional if you want to change a qcow2 to raw]. We should also mention that sparse images are best uncompressed with Gnu or BSD tar since many compression tools silently fail extracting sparse files.

None of the above changes impact SolusVM users since in the SolusVM Xen PV space the control panel creates the filesystem upon deployment (ext3) and there is still no KVM image format supported by SolusVM as of this writing, aside from iso.

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