playing with ubuntu, kvm and ubuntu-vm-builder

OSCON 2008 turned me on to some new virtualization tools. Right now I build VMs by using a Capistrano script that connects to a vmware server, builds a vmdk, creates a custom vmx via an erb, and netboots the box for a debian install.

I’m looking at moving to having ubuntu-vm-builder create ubuntu boxes instead. So I built an ubuntu blade first. I don’t know how long it takes to build a vmware box, but it takes a bit for the preseeded debian install to run, maybe 15 minutes. The first box I built with ubuntu-vm-builder made me happy:

apt-get install ubuntu-vm-builder
time sudo ubuntu-vm-builder kvm hardy –mem 2048 –mirror
real    2m21.705s
user    0m33.254s
sys     0m22.941s

I then installed kvm (apt-get install kvm) but got this error when it tried to start the kvm init script:

FATAL: Error inserting kvm_intel (/lib/modules/2.6.20-16-generic/kernel/drivers/kvm/kvm-intel.ko): Operation not supported

LP #104297 made me check the dmesg, and I saw:

  kernel: [ 899.340000] kvm: disabled by bios

I restarted, hit bios, and enabled VT. And then on startup the kvm module was already loaded.

It took me a bit to figure out qemu though. It’s important to read both the kvm and qemu man pages. When I first started it I saw errors about the framebuffer, and realized that since I was ssh’d into a remote machine, there wasn’t one. I found the “-nographic” option, but I later confirmed that the ubuntu install doesn’t configure a serial console by default (too bad). I spent a lot of time messing around with -vnc (an example in the man page would have been awesome). Starting up qemu and switching to the console I checked out ‘info vnc’ and it kept teling me that it wasn’t loaded. I tried ‘-vnc :0,password’ but when I ran ‘change vnc password’ in the console it would also segmentation fault.

Finally I figured out to run kvm/qemu WITH ‘-vnc’ and WITHOUT ‘-nographic’. Also, the standard network format for is ‘-vnc :n’ where an is an integer. The port you connect to becomes 5900+n. So if you start qemu/vnc with ‘-vnc :1’ you would connect to port 5901.

This isn’t any sort of advance performance benchmark, but running ‘time bzip2 -d linux-source.2.6.24.tar.gz2’ on the ubuntu kvm install took 15.967s (real) and on a debian vmware-server install it took 27.870s.

One thought on “playing with ubuntu, kvm and ubuntu-vm-builder

  1. Pingback: kvm, libvirt and ubuntu-vm-builder at btm.geek

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