[nycbug-talk] Xen & FreeBSD

Peter Wright pete at nomadlogic.org
Wed Aug 1 19:47:43 EDT 2007

> I was just wondering, has anyone managed to get FreeBSD running under Xen?
> Anyone managed to get it to run as dom0, even?
> In my humble (and worthless) opinion, I think Xen would make an awesome
> companion
> to jails, since having the both of them means you have the option of both
> "lightweight"
> and "heavyweight" virtualization.
> So if anyone has managed to get this going, I'd be happy to hear about it.
> :)

I would not expect any para-virt bit's to get committed to the FreeBSD
kernel any time soon.  There has been some work to get this going, but it
was for the 5.3 branch.  Even running a full-virt instance (e.x. using an
intel vti chipset) does not work cleanly with freebsd.  google.com/bsd is
your friend here.

so - I wouldn't hold my breath on a domU implementation of FreeBSD. 
getting a dom0 is also probably not going to happen any time soon either -
although the NetBSD team has had this working for some time.

Here's my two bits (i've been doing alot of work with Xen and Jails while
building HPC datacenters spread globally ) - i think both methods have
their place.  Jailing works great in many environments where something
like Xen would be overkill (core IT services come immediately to mind ). 
One of Xen's strengths is it's ability to set hard caps on memory and cpu
usage, along with "live-migration"; although both potentially come with
performance cost.  so really, i think they compliment each other.

I think before any of the *BSDs start tackling something as complicated as
Xen i'd like to see better support for things like iSCSI (both hardware
and software initiators/targets), FC and PXE.  when you get into
virtualizing, the ability to decouple your storage from your CPU/RAM is a
very important piece of this puzzle.


Peter Wright
pete at nomadlogic.org

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