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Professional Xen Virtualization Paperback – Jan 29 2008
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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)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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)
"The Definitive Guide to the Xen Hypervisor" (currently available)
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.
Give it a read it's worthwhile, and still sits on my book shelf for some periodic referencing.