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Professional Xen® Virtualization by William von Hagen

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Chapter 6. Building Filesystems for Virtual Machines

Paravirtualized Xen virtual machines provide substantially better performance than hardware virtual machines, but are inherently harder to create than hardware virtual machines. Although Xen's hardware virtual machines can run only on hardware with specific processors and characteristics, they are easy to install. They require only a valid Xen configuration file, the installation media for the operating system that you want to install, and some storage to install them into. Hardware virtual machines use this storage as a virtual disk drive, partitioning it appropriately, internally, and automatically during the installation process for the operating system that you are installing.

As discussed in Chapter 5, paravirtualized Xen systems usually use specific filesystems rather than using storage as a virtual disk drive. You can use complete disk images with paravirtualized Xen systems, but I find this to be needlessly complex. However, the installation procedure for most operating systems is designed to install to an entire disk drive rather than installing software subsets to a specific partition. For this reason, creating and populating disk images or partitions for use by paravirtualized Xen virtual machines requires a bit more thought than simply installing a complete operating system.

This chapter begins by providing background information about Linux filesystems and associated storage locations. It then discusses filesystems ...

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