Mastering clusters of Unix machines part1: the right VM

One day, we have the need to create a fast cluster of linux machine, specialized and easy to segragate in different networks (for better security). We need web servers, integration servers (running java hudson), huge developer machines (running for instance eclispe) and so on.

It was not easy to find a good environment. This research lead us also to consider a very huge set of different and complex management software. In this series of article, we will show what we discovered.

Or final goal is to have a way to define a set of linux virutal machines, connect them and manage all using open source software. We also want tools easy to understand. We do not want super-optimized stuff, we have the “just it works well” approach.

We thinked about these types of virtual machine: super light LAMP servers, medim sized java tomcat servers (or udson servers), big database machines and super big development machines.

Part 1: Finding the right kernel for virtualization

We started running at the VMware marketplace, searching for a good appliance. We tried damn small linux (dsl) and also some fedora/centos/debian variants. All this distribuiton was good, but slow to set up and slow to tune for a virtualized environment. We was looking for a ready-to-go kernel. The disk and memory consumption was our first priorities: we want a baisc setup with a very low footprint.

After some research, we ended up with trying ubuntu JeOs. This distribution is  thinked for a virtaulizd environment. Ubuntu offers a specialized kernel (KVM) as a host operating system for the  JeOs virual machines. But this virtual machines run well also on VMware, ubuntu says.

The Turnkeylinux organization offers already specialized Virtual Machine based on this special Ubuntu Distribution.

As a plus,  we started looking for a set of tools for simplifing our work: you will see them in part2

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