The Lumber Cartel, local 42 (Canadian branch)
 |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Library - Xen - How-to
by Randolf Richardson, Inter-Corporate Computer & Network Services, Inc.

You will need certain hardware to utilize Xen's features.  We typically use systems that have Intel motherboards housed with Intel Xeon QuadCore processors, and a minimum of 8 GBs of RAM.  NetBSD itself needs very little memory, but the DomUs can eat up a lot of RAM depending on which Operating Systems are running in them.  Before you begin, you should make sure that your hardware supports the following features:
 [Intel - bunny suits that make everyone look like space men]

  • Virtualization Technology (look for a "VT" option in your BIOS settings)
  • 64-bit processing (if VT is supported, then this should be too)
  • Option to disable SpeedStep (if your processor supports it, shut it off for now)
  • Option to enable "Multi-Thread Support In MPS table" option (if your processor supports it)

The VT support allows Xen to virtualize your DomUs using built-in processor functionality.  This yields better performance.  The 64-bit architecture is needed for Xen, and your Dom0 should also be 64-bit to make life simpler in the long run (we strongly recommend this).  We've found that 64-bit environments also process data more efficiently.

If NetBSD isn't detecting multiple processors (and you're expecting it to), a solution might be available in the form of a BIOS setting; under "Processor -> Advanced" enable the "Multi-Thread Support In MPS table" option to use all cores on "Intel Xeon QuadCore 3000 Sequence" processors with Intel S3200SHV and S3210SHLC motherboards.  This may also apply to other processors and motherboards as well.

We also strongly recommend upgrading your system BIOS to the newest version.  Sometimes a newer BIOS includes updated microcode, which is specialized code that alters the way the CPU operates (these updates are re-applied every time your computer starts because they disappear when the power is shut off).

The topics covered herein are:

[Previous] [Index] [Next]

[Home] [Profile] [Glossary] [Library] [Resources] [Tools] [FAQ] [Site map] [Contact us]

Copyright © Inter-Corporate Computer & Network Services, Inc.  All rights reserved.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.