[Ukfreebsd] Hosted FreeBSD Servers

Robert N. M. Watson rwatson at FreeBSD.org
Sun Mar 11 09:29:48 GMT 2012

On 10 Mar 2012, at 20:47, Juggler Doug wrote:

> I working for a company moving into hosted services in Sweden (I'm English
> now living in the land of the Elk and Abba).
> Its a bit of a niche market I know, but I am interested in offering FreeBSD
> servers as part of the portfolio (dreadful word that).
> Question is - a FreeBDS 9 install works just fine on XEN - but of course no
> tools - so its sort of half the game - I'm searching the inter'web'o'net
> for any instructions - but seems to be a dead end at the moment.
> Any thoughts on this - any way of getting so that machines can be migrated
> from XEN server to XEN server - otherwise I'm going to be stuck with
> offering 99.5% availability (or whatever number one calculates from one
> piece of hardware).
> Would also be interested in how much interest there is on the list - in
> getting access to FreeB 9 servers...
> Thanks ever so much for your time in reading and any insights you may have

Are you actually running into issues migrating FreeBSD from server to server on Xen? I had a problem with this last year on our local Xen server pool but we never really tracked it down. That pool runs quite an old version of Xen, and we also weren't convinced it wasn't a CPU issue.

FreeBSD has PV device drivers you can compile into the kernel, but that requires custom-compiled kernels -- something we'd like to avoid requiring if we can, since that breaks freebsd-update on the kernel. I know it's on several people's todo lists to make it so that the PV drivers can simply be loaded as with any other device driver. Another possibility would be to add a Xen kernel config that's also built/installable that freebsd-update can manage.

A final thought: there is quite active work on FreeBSD dom0 support from US companies using Xen in their products. I'd expect to see announcements in that area soon. As those companies are using FreeBSD on Xen heavily (e.g., in storage appliances, hosting, etc), we should continue to see improvements for HVM and PV guests as well.


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