Tool: Manage Large Networks (MLN)

Kyrre Begnum and John Sechrest developed a new tool for automating creation and configuration of large virtual datacenters based on Xen and/or User-Mode Linux (UML):

MLN (Manage Large Networks) is a perl program that can be used to create a complete network of Xen or User-Mode-Linux systems from a short configuration file.

The goal is to ease the configuration and management of virtual networks. Xen and User-Mode Linux are widely used as tools for testing, learning and virtual hosting. MLN builds and configures filesystem templates based on its descriptive and easy programming language and stores them in an organized manner. It also generates start and stop scripts for each virtual host, enabling you to manage a running virtual network by stopping individual virtual machines within a network and starting them again. MLN makes it possible to have serveral separate networks, projects, at once and even connect them together to create larger networks.

Most notable features of this project are:

  • Building virtual networks written in the mln language
  • Upgrading a running virtual network by taking down only the machines that need to be rebuilt
  • Downloading filesystem templates from our repository
  • Starting and stopping virtual networks (both hosts and switches)
  • Removing virtual networks
  • Setting up a bridge device on your host so that the virtual machines become a part of your LAN
  • Build process can be done as non-root published a long how-to about MLN, written by its creators. It’s worth to read it.

Download it here.

MLN could be a precious help for hosting providers. I wonder how easy could be supporting OpenVZ and VMware Server.