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Professional Xen Virtualization [Paperback]

William von Hagen

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Book Description

Jan. 29 2008
This book presents you with a complete foundation on the Xen technology and shows you how Xen virtualization offers faster response times for new server and service requests, a simplified system administration for multiple systems, and better availability for critical computing resources. Packed with detailed examples of Xen configuration files, system configuration files, and system-level configuration information, this book shows you why Xen virtualization is among the leading emerging technologies on the Linux platform and is being integrated into virtually every commercial distribution.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Professional Xen Virtualization

Xen is an open source virtualization technology that allows multiple operating systems to run on a single physical computer system, providing cost savings and increased efficiency. This book presents you with a complete foundation on this exciting technology and shows you how Xen virtualization offers faster response times for new server and service requests, a simplified system administration for multiple systems, and better availability for critical computing resources.

You'll begin by examining the basic concepts of Xen as you also explore how to successfully make the most of today's virtualization technologies. You'll discover how virtualization with Xen allows for simpler and less expensive disaster recovery planning and affords increased productivity in system and software testing groups. Packed with detailed examples of Xen configuration files, system configuration files, and system-level configuration information, this book will show you why Xen virtualization is among the leading emerging technologies on the Linux platform and is being integrated into virtually every commercial distribution.

What you will learn from this book

  • How Xen offers significant savings in infrastructure costs, such as power and cooling
  • Ways to better document system configuration and characteristics
  • How to build Xen from source code and the software requirements for building Xen
  • Techniques for building virtual machine filesystems
  • How to troubleshoot Xen configuration files and virtual machines

Who this book is for
This book is for administrators and developers who are seeking to optimize their use of enterprise hardware and create virtual environments geared toward specific tasks.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

William von Hagen (Bill) has been a UNIX system administrator for over 20 years and a Linux fanatic since the early 1990s. He has worked as a systems programmer, system administrator, writer, applications developer, drummer, and documentation manager. Bill has written or co-written books on such topics as Ubuntu Linux, GCC, Linux server hacks, Linux filesystems, SUSE Linux, Red Hat Linux, SGML, Mac OS X, and hacking the TiVo. He has also written numerous articles on Linux, embedded computing, Mac OS X, Unix, and open source technology.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fluff, and low quality Feb. 23 2008
By lirakis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was the first person to post a review for this book, and it appeared on amazon but then it disappeared a week or so later and a 5 star review showed up... makes me wonder... At any rate this "re-review" will not be as complete as my first review.

This book is pretty low quality. The author is overly verbose for many things that are not really directly relevant. Case in point, the first 3 chapters are spent talking about virtualization in general, and then the alternative options to Xen. That would be fine if this book was titled "professional virtualization," but it is not... it is supposed to be about Xen, so why would the author waste a full 1/3 of the book telling us what else we might want to use?

The actual meat of the book, the stuff thats actually useful, is pretty much the exact same information you can get from the Xen handbook/users guide online. The author does not provide much if any further value or insight.

Finally the Author must have been hurting for a page count because the 10-15% (i had it actually calculated in my first review.. i believe it was 11%) is an appendix and command reference for Xen.

All in all, this book is not any thing worth spending money on if you are looking for a serious Xen guide. I would recommend one of the two following books over this one.

"Running Xen: A Hands-On Guide to the Art of Virtualization" (available 4/08)

or

"The Definitive Guide to the Xen Hypervisor" (currently available)
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for those who want to install and operate Xen March 7 2008
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed reading Professional Xen Virtualization (PZV). The book answered exactly the right questions for me, a person who had no Xen experience but wanted to give the product a try. If you are looking for a book on Xen internals, you should read The Definitive Guide to the Xen Hypervisor by David Chisnall. If you are less concerned about source-code-level details but still want to learn a lot about Xen, you will definitely enjoy PZV.

William von Hagen is an excellent writer. I found it easy to follow his thought process and he delivers technical material very well. I found his coverage of Xen to be thorough and actionable. To try Xen I followed von Hagen's suggestion to boot Xenoppix, a live CD version. I used knoppix_v5.1.1CD_20070104_xen3.1.1_vbox-20071101.iso but as of this writing knoppix_v5.1.1CD_20070104_xen3.2.0_vbox-20080213.iso is available from the unit.aist.go.jp/itri/knoppix/iso/ FTP server. I am confident I could have installed Xen on dedicated hardware following the author's directions.

Several aspects of the book made it very useful to me. First, I liked the comparison to other virtualization products that appeared in part of Ch 2. That section gave me a better idea which product would be appropriate for my needs, especially when considering hardware support for virtualization and the differences between paravirtualized VMs and hardware virtualized VMs. Second, von Hagen often explains how and why a feature operates, rather than just listing what a feature offers. I appreciated this level of insight. Third, I liked seeing instructions for a variety of Linux distributions and the background on various Linux capabilities that could influence Xen deployment. These included logical volumes in Ch 6, initial RAM disks (initrd) vs initial RAM filesystems (initramfs) in Ch 4, and more.

I subtracted one star from the review for three factors. First, I would have liked some coverage on using NetBSD for Xen dom0 and domU. NetBSD has supported Xen in some fashion for many years and seems a priority for the OS. Second, one of the selling points for certain Linux distributions is their inclusion of tools for managing Xen VMs. While these are part of commercial distros (Red Hat, SUSE), the author could have described them more fully, or perhaps looked at Fedora's offering. Third, I could see how some of the background material on relevant but not Xen-specific Linux features might not be welcome in a book on Xen. For example, if I really want to know how to back up a system, I probably don't need to read about it here.

Overall, I was very pleased with PZV. I found earlier books on Xen to not provide enough detail to warrant reading and reviewing them. PZV, on the other hand, has all the material required to install and use Xen in production. I highly recommend it if you want to give Xen a try in your environment.
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated yet worthwhile July 6 2010
By Ragansi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are looking to get familiar with Xen, (or Oracles xVM) this book is a pretty good starting point. It covers some of the lower level aspects of Xen most people may not even be aware of. Little things like how to properly construct an xml configuration file for your virtual machines, instead of typing out long command lines over and over.

Give it a read it's worthwhile, and still sits on my book shelf for some periodic referencing.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE for anyone considering or planning to use Xen March 3 2008
By unixkernel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What I liked about the book was the heart of the content. As a new user to Xen, I had numerous questions related to configuration, what type of filesystem to use, and (very importantly) how networking functions. The author gives good examples, clear definitions of configuration file options and easy to understand overviews of how the various parts of Xen and virtual servers function and interoperate. I give the book a complete review on my own review website at Thompson Reviews but wanted to post this here in case anyone is in doubt of the quality of this book.

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