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August 28th, 2007

Andrew Morton on OpenVZ

Andrew Morton was giving a keynote on a recent LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco. A fair portion of his talk was devoted to the need of testing new kernels, but also about what will appear in the kernel soon. A couple of slides were specifically about containers, including OpenVZ.

A nice recap of what he said is at zdnet.com, here's the quote: Additionally, and contrary to popular thinking, the debate over whether open source virtualization engines will fragment the industry is null and void since the kernel supports and will support all open source solutions – be it Xen, KVM, OpenVZ or VMware, Morton said.

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OLS'07 wrap-up

Back in July, me and a couple of colleagues (Pavel Emelianov and Denis Lunev, both from the OpenVZ kernel team) were in Canada for the Ottawa Linux Symposium.

OLS is a pretty big event and probably the biggest conference that I've seen. Unlike all the previous years, this time it was detached from the Linux Kernel Summit (that will be in Cambridge, U.K. next week). Being detached seemed to have little impact on the event -- it is still large and somewhat kernel-oriented. The facilities for talks and BoFs included one big and five smaller rooms , all named after different species of penguins (the big one is of course named Emperor).

We also had our talk there, presented by Pavel and covering some non-trivial aspects of our resource management solution: the beancounters, which is part of OpenVZ kernel. The paper (PDF, 156K, 9 pages) and the slides (ODP, 89K or PPT, 474K) are available. In short, this is what he was talking about:
Current Linux accounting and limiting mechanisms (setrlimit() and some global stats counters) are not enough as they do not provide any task group-based counters and limits. OpenVZ's beancounters address this issue, implementing per-group accounting and limiting for about 20 different properties, like kernel memory, user space memory, physical memory, network buffers etc. Some specific implementation details (like shared RSS accounting, kernel slab accounting etc) are described.

Here is the list of talks and BoF sessions devoted to various aspects of containers:
* Paul Menage, Resource Control and Isolation: Adding Generic Process Containers to the Linux Kernel
* Pavel Emelianov, Resource Management: Beancounters
* Balbir Singh, Containers: Challenges with memory resource controller and its performance
* Marc Fiuczynski, Linux-VServer: Resource Efficient OS-Level Virtualization
* Dave Hansen, Linux Checkpoint/Restart BoFS

It's good to see the high level of interest to containers this year. As in any conference, though, a lot of networking is done away from the formal proceedings. For example, we (I mean everybody who's interested in containers) all had a breakfast in nearby Starbucks to discuss containers, resource management, network virtualization and other subtle aspects of what we do. About half of the famous Blackthorn Party for us was devoted to the same discussions (while the other half is surely about the beer).

It was a successful event, and I'm looking forward to take part in the next Blackthorn Party Linux Symposium in Ottawa.

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