Kir Kolyshkin (k001) wrote in openvz,
Kir Kolyshkin

on testing kernels

Currently, our best kernel line is the one that is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 kernels (RHEL6 for short). This is our most feature-reach, up-to-date yet stable kernel -- i.e. the best. Second-best option is RHEL5-based kernel -- a few years so neither vSwap nor ploop, but still good.

There is a dilemma of either releasing the new kernel version earlier, or delay it for more internal testing. We figured we can do both! Each kernel branch (RHEL6 and RHEL5) comes via two channels -- testing and stable. In terms of yum, we have four kernel repositories defined in openvz.repo file, their names should be self-explanatory:

* openvz-kernel-rhel6
* openvz-kernel-rhel6-testing
* openvz-kernel-rhel5
* openvz-kernel-rhel5-testing

The process of releasing kernels is the following: right after building a kernel, we push it out to the appropriate -testing repository, so it is available as soon as possible. We when do some internal QA on it (that can either be basic or throughout, depending on amount of our changes, and whether we did a rebase to newer RHEL6 kernel). Based on QA report, sometimes we do another build with a few more patches, and repeat the process. Once the kernel looks good to our QA, we put it from testing to stable. In some rare cases (such as when we do one simple but quite important fix), new kernels go right into stable.

So, our users can enjoy being stable, or being up-to-the-moment, or both. In fact, if you have more than a few servers running OpenVZ, we strongly suggest you to dedicate one or two boxes for running -testing kernels, and report any bugs found to OpenVZ bugzilla. This is good for you, because you will be able to catch bugs early, and let us fix them before they hit your production systems. This is good for us, too, because no QA department is big enough to catch all possible bugs in a myriad of hardware and software configurations and use cases.

Enabling -testing repo is easy: just edit openvz.repo, setting enabled=1 under an appropriate [openvz-kernel-...-testing] section.
Tags: kernel, openvz, process, testing

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