Kris Buytaert, CTO of X-Tend, the leading Linux and Open Source integrator in Belgium, published a whitepaper about Xen integration with SystemImager, the popular Linux project for automated installation and software distribution:
While consolidating physical to virtual machines using Xen,we want to be able to deploy and manage virtual machines in the same way we manage and deploy physical machines. For operators and support people there should be no difference between virtual and physical installations.
Integrating Virtual Machines with the rest of the infrastructure, should have a low impact on the existing infrastructure. Typically, Virtual machine vendors have their own tools to deploy and manage virtual machines. Apart from the vendor lock-in to that specific virtual machine platform , it requires the administrators to learn yet another platform that they need to understand and manage, something we want to prevent.
This paper discusses how we integrated SystemImager with Xen, hence creating a totally open source deployment framework for the popular open source Virtual Machine monitor. We will document both development of our tools and go more in depth on other infrastructure related issues when using Xen
System Imaging environments in combination with Virtual machines can also be used to ensure safe production deployments. By saving your current production image before updating to your new production image, you have a highly reliable contingency mechanism. If the new production environment is found to be flawed, simply roll-back to the last production image on the virtual machines with a simple update command!
Read the whole paper at source.