Have you ever dreamt of running multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware? Are you looking for some kind of multitasking – not for applications, but for OSes. Have you configured a dual boot system, but are now tired of rebooting? Do you have software that doesn’t run on your OS anymore or do you need a playground to safely test some software without affecting your productive system? Virtualization is the answer.
Have you ever wondered what the driving force behind cloud computing is? Or how Amazon makes money with computing power they don’t need? Again, virtualization is the answer.
Do you know why system administrators visit expensive seminars and hire even more expensive consultants? – Virtualization
Guess what this guide is about? – Virtualization.
This guide comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by applicable law.
Who should read this?
Everybody! But not everybody should follow this guide, this isn’t for the fainthearted, but then again if you have spare hardware laying around, why not give it a try? I didn’t create this guide as a start into the GNU/Linux world, but I tried to imagine an advanced Windows user with no prior experience in the GNU/Linux or Xen fields. In my opinion if you want to get familiar with Linux you have to set yourself a goal that you want to accomplish. Only a task that forces you to repeat certain things and sparks interest in simpler solutions can provide you with the routine and experience to stay calm in critical situations. Virtualization with Xen and Debian is such a task, at least it worked for me. Before starting I recommend completely reading through the article (at least until installing the first guest) and asking as many questions as possible.
What I expect you to know.
This guide covers the installation and configuration of Debian and Xen. It also features the necessary Linux basics and the installation of guests, as well as basic maintenance tasks. I assume you have a good understanding of computer hardware and do not fear the command line. DOS or Windows command prompt experience is an advantage, but not really a requirement, as long as you are willing to learn a few things. Basic networking knowledge is required and a working network setup including Internet is assumed (The presence of a DMZ is strongly recommended if you want to expose services to the Internet). I expect you to be able to find additional information yourself.