oVirt 3.1, Glusterized

One of the cooler new features in oVirt 3.1 is the platform's support for creating and managing Gluster volumes. oVirt's web admin console now includes a graphical tool for configuring these volumes, and vdsm, the service for responsible for controlling oVirt's virtualization nodes, has a new sibling, vdsm-gluster, for handling the back end work.

Gluster and oVirt make a good team – the scale out, open source storage project provides a nice way of weaving the local storage on individual compute nodes into shared storage resources.

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Too Fast, Too Slow

Yesterday I removed Fedora 17 from the server I use for oVirt testing, mainly, because I've been experiencing random reboots on the server, and I haven't been able to figure out why. I'm pretty sure I wasn't having these issues on Fedora 16, but I can't go back to that release because the official packages for oVirt are built only for F17. There are, however, oVirt packages built for Enterprise Linux (aka RHEL and its children), and I know that some in the oVirt community have been running with these packages with success.

So, I figured I'd install CentOS 6 on my machine and either escape my random reboots or, if the reboots continued, learn that there's probably something wrong with my hardware. Plus, I'd escape a second bug I've been experiencing with Fedora 17, the one in which a recent rebase to the Linux 3.5 kernel (F17 shipped originally with a 3.3 kernel) seems to have broken oVirt's ability to access NFS shares, thereby breaking oVirt.

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Screencasting oVirt

There's work underway over at the oVirt Project to produce some screencasts of the open source virtualization management platform in action. Since you can find oVirt in action each day in my home office, I set out to chip in and create an oVirt screencast, using tools available on my Fedora 17 desktop.

Here's the five minute screencast, which focuses on creating VMs on oVirt, with a bit of live migration thrown in:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4gayV6dYK4]

The first step was getting my oVirt test rig into shape. I'm running oVirt 3.1 on a pair of machines: a quad core Xeon with 16GB of RAM and a couple of SATA disks, and my Thinkpad X220, with its dual core processor and 8GB of RAM. I've taken to running much of my desktop-type tasks on a virtual machine running under oVirt, thereby liberating my Thinkpad to serve as a second node, for live migration and other multi-node-needin' tests. Both machines run the 64-bit flavor of Fedora 17.

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Upgrading the Family PC to Fedora 17, and Cinnamon

This weekend I upgraded our family PC to Fedora 17. I've been running this latest release for a while on my regular work machine and on my various (and generally short-lived) test systems, but I tend to be slower on the distro upgrade draw with the family computer. For me, slow usually means upgrade within two weeks of release, but this time around, it took me almost two months to undertake the upgrade.

I did try upgrading from Fedora 16 to Fedora 17 about a month ago, using Fedora's preupgrade feature, but the preupgrade process failed for me right at the end–following the lengthy process of downloading every package needed for the upgrade–with a complaint (if I recall correctly) about grub2-tools being missing. I checked to confirm that the grub2-tools package was indeed installed before shelving the upgrade effort for a while. Even though I'm always hot to upgrade to the latest and greatest, my wife maintains a "don't be changing my computer all around" attitude.

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Looking Ahead to oVirt 3.1

We're about one week away from the release of oVirt 3.1, and I'm getting geared up by sifting through the current Release Notes Draft, in search of what's working, what still needs work, and why one might get excited about installing or updating to the new version.

Web Admin

In version 3.1, oVirt's web admin console has picked up a few handy refinements, starting with new "guide me" buttons and dialogs sprinkled through the interface. For example, when you create a new VM through the web console, oVirt doesn't automatically add a virtual disk or network adapter to your VM. You add these elements through a secondary settings pane, which can be easy to overlook, particularly when you're getting started with oVirt. In 3.1, there's now a "guide me" window that suggests adding the nic and disk, with buttons to press to direct you to the right places. These "guide me" elements work similarly elsewhere in the web admin console, for instance, directing users to the next right actions after creating a new cluster or adding a new host.

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preupgrade gone wrong

Having reached a good break point in my Gluster/Openstack/Fedora tests, I thought I'd preupgrade the F16 VM I've been using for ovirt engine to F17, en route to the oVirt 3.1 beta.

That didn't go so well. During the post-preupgrade part (uh, the upgrade), the installer balked at upgrading the jboss-as package that shipped with oVirt 3.0. Afterward, the VM wouldn't boot correctly.

Fortunately, I was prepared for failure, detaching my iso domain in advance, and shuttling the templates and VMs I wanted to keep to the export domain, which I also detached.

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Fedora 17, OpenStack Essex & Gluster 3.3: All Smushed Together

Within the past couple weeks, Fedora and Gluster rolled out new versions, packed with too many features to discuss in a single blog post. However, a couple of the stand-out updates in each release overlap neatly enough to tackle them together–namely, the inclusion of OpenStack Essex in Fedora 17 and support for using Gluster 3.3 as a storage backend for OpenStack.

I've tested OpenStack a couple of times in the past, and I'm happy to report that while the project remains a fairly complicated assemblage of components, the community around OpenStack has a done a good job documenting the process of setting up a basic test rig. Going head to head with Amazon Web Services, even with the confines of one's own organization, won't be a walk in the park, but it's fairly easy to get OpenStack up an running in a form suitable for further learning and experimentation.

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reinstall

I reinstalled Fedora 17 on my main work machine yesterday – I was having weird issues with gnome-boxes and virt-manager, and thought my problems might have stemmed from the weird libvirt machinations I undertook to get oVirt running on my laptop w/o disabling NetworkManager.

I always keep my home directory in a separate partition to allow for easy clean installs w/o losing my data, but this time around I copied my home directory off to a separate drive to start completely fresh – I'll ferry needed files and folders back as needed.

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stuck, volume 1

So, I'm working my way through the OpenShift Origin BYO PaaS wiki page, but I'm stuck right now near the finish line.

On Saturday, I was cranking through the howto, highlighting and middle-click pasting my way to BYOP nirvana, until I hit an authentication issue when it was time to create a domain on my newly-minted PaaS.

After taking a break for a couple days, I realized that I'd simply forgotten to point my rhc client at the right host – rhc defaults to openshift.redhat.com, and if there's an account on the Red Hat hosted server with the user name "admin" I can confirm that that user's password is not "admin" as well.

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