Successes and Failures

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2010-07-13 Print this article Print


These issues were easy to resolve, after which my Hyper-V-based SLES instance performed well. The instance served me well as installation server for my subsequent SLES test machines, and I added the instance to and authenticated against the Active Directory domain in our lab without difficulty. With that said, I was disappointed by how little discussion of Hyper-V appeared in Novell's documentation. I searched the SLES 11 documentation on Novell's Website, and the term "Hyper-V" appeared only once, in the context of running guests under a Xen host. In fact, it turned out that the most helpful source of information I found on Linux and Hyper-V was a blog post about running Ubuntu guests under the Microsoft hypervisor.


Beginning with SP1, organizations running SLES 11 have the option of KVM as an alternative to Xen, which remains Novell's primary virtualization platform option. Novell did well to extend at least a tentative embrace to KVM, since Red Hat is in the process of shifting away from Xen to focus exclusively on KVM. Canonical has also selected KVM as the primary virtualization host technology for Ubuntu Linux, and I expect to be seeing a lot more of KVM in the future.

I installed SLES 11 SP1 on a dual-processor tower server and fired up the Install Hypervisor utility within the always-helpful YAST suite. The utility offered me a choice of Xen or KVM. I chose to install KVM, and the installer went about loading the necessary drivers and management packages-more or less the same group of software I'm accustomed to installing on a Red Hat or Canonical Linux distribution, anchored by the libvirt management library and including the graphical virt-manager tool.

One of the compelling features of the libvirt library is the ability to access and manage remote hosts from a local virt-manager instance, although I've had mixed success getting this feature to work in past implementations. This time, I managed to access and manipulate my SLES-based KVM instance from my Ubuntu 10.04 and Fedora 13 clients, but only after installing on SLES the package netcat-openbsd from the repositories of SLES 11's community-oriented sibling distribution, OpenSUSE 11.3.

When I tried the same remote access operation from one SLES instance to another, I was able to connect without issue (and without installing the additional package) but I couldn't create a new VM. The copy of virt-manager running on SLES complained that "a hypervisor is not running." It seemed that virt-manager was failing to distinguish between the client, where there was no hypervisor installed, and the remote host.

After testing out KVM on SLES 11 SP1, I swapped over to Xen on the same system. Both virtualization options use the same set of management tools, with the biggest difference being the choice between paravirtualized and fully virtualized guest installations when using Xen.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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