03 Feb 2010, 13:34

Linux Containers vs. Linux Vservers


Since Linux-Vservers seem to be having a hard time in Debian and the Vserver maintainers probably aren’t going to go the same way as the OpenVZ maintainers who promissed to get OpenVZ in shape for Debian, it’s time to look for alternatives. If you want to stay with contextualization, a lightweight form of virtualization, there is only a limited set of options. According to KernelNewbies TechComparison of virtualization techniques there are only a mere three approaches which go for contextualization (also called containers).

There three are

Since I have objections to OpenVZ, which, despite its cool features like live migration, are keeping me away from it, it’s time to look for LXC.

The one killer-argument of LXC is that it is mainline, meaning that is has been submitted to and accepted by the linux official kernel tree and doesn’t need any patches. So you can expect LXC to be fully usable starting with Kernel 2.6.29, which should be available in most stable distributions by now. To make full use of LXC you’ll need the userland tools as well. They are available from Sourceforge and as a Debian Package in squeeze (currently testing). However backporting them to lenny (currently stable) shouldn’t be hard since lenny fullfills all dependencies and it should only be a matter of installing the package from squeeze by hand.

So far LXC looks very promising but still a bit rough about the edges. I’m not going to present a more detailed howto here, yet. Please have a look at this five minute guide to LXC instead.

I’m working on the lxc-debian tools to improve them; have look at my git repository. I’m planning to write a Vserver to LXC conversion tool. Hopefully I can push my work upstream sometime. I really like to try to concentrate the work into one coordinated project.

If your curios about the development of LXC, you should subscribe to the LXC mailinglists lxc-devel and lxc-users at sf.net.

Update: Two more links regarding LXC. The LXC HOWTO and “LXC containers or extremely fast virtualization”.