Dobrica Pavlinušić's random unstructured stuff
Virtualization workshop

Materijali za Virtualizacija na Linuxu -- jednostavan izbor zar ne?



Support for hardware virtualization:

egrep '^flags.*(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo

  vmx/svm no vmx/svn
USB kvm qemu+kqemu
no USB VirtualBox  

How much CPU do I use? :-)

dpavlin@brr:~$ cpufreq-info 
cpufrequtils 004: cpufreq-info (C) Dominik Brodowski 2004-2006
Report errors and bugs to cpufreq@lists.linux.org.uk, please.
analyzing CPU 0:
  driver: acpi-cpufreq
  CPUs which need to switch frequency at the same time: 0
  hardware limits: 2.40 GHz - 3.20 GHz
  available frequency steps: 3.20 GHz, 2.80 GHz, 2.40 GHz
  available cpufreq governors: userspace, powersave, ondemand, conservative, performance
  current policy: frequency should be within 2.40 GHz and 3.20 GHz.
                  The governor "ondemand" may decide which speed to use
                  within this range.
  current CPU frequency is 2.40 GHz.
  cpufreq stats: 3.20 GHz:1.80%, 2.80 GHz:0.00%, 2.40 GHz:98.20%  (17)

Disk performance

Have many disks. More disk spindles brings more than capacity alone! (Same as in databases)


Disk platter transfer speed

If you think that disk has constant transfer speed, ZCAV has interesting graphs

Individial disks

Slow laptop 2.5" 5400 disk

dpavlin@llin:~$ sudo hdparm -i /dev/sda


 Model=FUJITSU MHV2080BH                       , FwRev=00840028, SerialNo=        NW05T6B29HM5
 Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec Fixed DTR>10Mbs }
 RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=4
 BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=8192kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=?16?
 CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=156301488
 IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:240,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120}
 PIO modes:  pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 
 DMA modes:  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 
 UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 *udma5 
 AdvancedPM=yes: mode=0x80 (128) WriteCache=enabled
 Drive conforms to: unknown:  ATA/ATAPI-3,4,5,6,7

 * signifies the current active mode

dpavlin@llin:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
 Timing cached reads:   1566 MB in  2.00 seconds = 782.85 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:   66 MB in  3.03 seconds =  21.79 MB/sec

Interesting numbers are BuffSize (cache in disk) and MaxMultSect which we want to use for read-ahead param:

hdparm -m 16 -a 16 /dev/sda

This will decrease a bit speed of linerar buffer reads which hdparm uses, but we will pull from disk only blocks which are allready in cache, improving random read/write performance.

To find optimal readahead for your drive using hdparm access pattern you can use hdparm-readahead.pl which will try different combinations for you.

Faster (!) external 3.5 USB disk (no hdparm -i on USB), but just because it's another disk not loaded by system.

dpavlin@llin:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb

 Timing cached reads:   1508 MB in  2.00 seconds = 753.72 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:   56 MB in  3.03 seconds =  18.48 MB/sec

Software RAID

Home-made software md RAID 5 array from SATA drives:

Note nice usage of construction metal stripes with holes which is usually used to hold fence. It has holes just the right size for screws to go through and hold disks nicely spaced (although a little bit more space would be ideal). It's soft enough to be bent at corners to produce nice and leveled space between it and case.

Blog post RAID5 for home describes setup in some details.

Drive info:

dpavlin@brr:~$ sudo hdparm -i /dev/sdd


 Model=WDC WD5000AAKS-00YGA0                   , FwRev=12.01C02, SerialNo=     WD-WCAS80929678
 Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec SpinMotCtl Fixed DTR>5Mbs FmtGapReq }
 RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=50
 BuffType=unknown, BuffSize=16384kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=?16?
 CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=976773168
 IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:120,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120}
 PIO modes:  pio0 pio3 pio4 
 DMA modes:  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 
 UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 udma5 *udma6 
 AdvancedPM=no WriteCache=enabled
 Drive conforms to: Unspecified:  ATA/ATAPI-1,2,3,4,5,6,7

 * signifies the current active mode

Speed of individual drives in array:

dpavlin@brr:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda /dev/sdb /dev/sdd

 Timing cached reads:   1982 MB in  2.00 seconds = 991.18 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  232 MB in  3.03 seconds =  76.67 MB/sec

 Timing cached reads:   2010 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1004.95 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  228 MB in  3.01 seconds =  75.85 MB/sec

 Timing cached reads:   2006 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1003.01 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  230 MB in  3.01 seconds =  76.47 MB/sec

How are hey assembled into /dev/md0 RAID 5 array:

dpavlin@brr:~$ cat /proc/mdstat 
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
md0 : active raid5 sdd1[0] sda1[2] sdb1[1]
      976767872 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/3] [UUU]

Speed of array

dpavlin@brr:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/md0

 Timing cached reads:   1986 MB in  2.00 seconds = 993.20 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  434 MB in  3.01 seconds = 144.41 MB/sec

As expected RAID 5 speed is 75 + 75 + 0 (parity disk) ~ 144 MB/sec


Disks don't like it hot!

root@brr:~# hddtemp /dev/sda /dev/sdb /dev/sdd
/dev/sda: WDC WD5000AAKS-00YGA0: 33°C
/dev/sdb: WDC WD5000AAKS-00YGA0: 32°C
/dev/sdd: WDC WD5000AAKS-00YGA0: 32°C

On output above, middle disk is /dev/sda so it's 1° hotter than other two. I could mitigate this with additional fan on front of case, but it's making enough noise already, so I'll leave it as is.

Data security


root@brr:~# smartctl --all /dev/sda | head -20
smartctl version 5.38 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar Second Generation Serial ATA family
Device Model:     WDC WD5000AAKS-00YGA0
Serial Number:    WD-WCAS80815866
Firmware Version: 12.01C02
User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Sat Oct 11 00:27:01 2008 CEST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

Before you start to beleve in SMART as solution to all disk health problems, read Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population


See also Bad block HOWTO for smartmontools if you ever get smart errors and don't just want to throw out your disk.


Also interesting is Some RAID Issues

Read also Why RAID 5 stops working in 2009




sudo apt-get install kvm



Prepare shared disk image

Usually, you will use nfs for this. Edit /etc/exports and add something like (if your local network is 192.168.1.x):


And start nfs server

dpavlin@llin:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-user-server start

New target

Mount shared storage and run qemu which will receive running machine

dpavlin@squeak:~$ mkdir mnt/rest
dpavlin@squeak:~$ sudo mount mnt/rest/
dpavlin@squeak:~$ ls -al mnt/rest/iso/gparted-live-0.3.9-4.iso 
-rw-r--r-- 1 dpavlin dpavlin 98347008 Oct  9 17:31 mnt/rest/iso/gparted-live-0.3.9-4.iso

dpavlin@squeak:~$ kvm -cdrom mnt/rest/iso/gparted-live-0.3.9-4.iso -incoming tcp://0:4444 -monitor stdio

Running source

dpavlin@llin:~$ kvm -m 128 -cdrom /rest/iso/gparted-live-0.3.9-4.iso -monitor stdio -no-kvm
QEMU 0.9.1 monitor - type 'help' for more information
(qemu) migrate tcp://

We use -no-kvm to disable kvm because our target machine doesn't have vmx|svm support!


Contents: [ virtualization_workshop]


sudo apt-get install qemu kqemu-source

kqemu module compilation on Debian:

sudo module-assistant a-i kqemu


Seems to be best supported right now (package in Debian, optional drivers for Windows, starting unmodified VMWare machines -- after you guess right settings that is!)


Debian Install

OSE version (no USB!) comes in Debian, compile vboxdrv with:

root@llin:~# module-assistant a-i virtualbox-ose

Command line VM creation

VBoxManage createvm -name "VirtWorkshop" -register
VBoxManage modifyvm VirtWorkshop -memory 512Mb -acpi on -boot1 dvd -nic1 nat -dvd /rest/iso/ScummVM\ Launcher\ 2.iso 
VBoxManage createvdi -filename hda-8Gb.vdi -size 8Mb -register
VBoxManage modifyvm VirtWorkshop -hda hda-8Gb.vdi
VBoxHeadless -startvm VirtWorkshop

Convert .vdi disk to raw image

sic this requires more than reading -h output:

dpavlin@x200:/virtual/win$ vboxmanage internalcommands converttoraw hda-winxp.vdi hda.img
VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 2.1.4_OSE
(C) 2005-2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Converting image "hda-winxp.vdi" with size 8589934592 bytes (8192MB) to raw...


OpenVZ is nice name-space virtualization, creating chroot jails on steroids, similar in spirit to Solaris zones. It ideal if you want to run single kernel and allocate resources using bean counters as opposed to hard-limits (20% of CPU as opposed to one core). Each slice is called VE.

Disk speed

dpavlin@zut:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/cciss/c1d0 /dev/sda

 Timing cached reads:   2184 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1092.39 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  324 MB in  3.02 seconds = 107.40 MB/sec

 Timing cached reads:   2144 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1071.89 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  136 MB in  3.02 seconds =  45.02 MB/sec

Insert joke about enterprise storage

Add disk space to VE

We are using normal Linux LVM with single logical volume for all VEs.

First, resize logical volume:

root@koha-hw:~# vgextend -L +80G /dev/vg/vz
vgextend: invalid option -- L
  Error during parsing of command line.

root@koha-hw:~# lvextend -L +80G /dev/vg/vz
  Extending logical volume vz to 100.00 GB
  Logical volume vz successfully resized

root@koha-hw:~# resize2fs /dev/vg/vz 
resize2fs 1.40-WIP (14-Nov-2006)
Filesystem at /dev/vg/vz is mounted on /vz; on-line resizing required
old desc_blocks = 2, new_desc_blocks = 7
Performing an on-line resize of /dev/vg/vz to 26214400 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/vg/vz is now 26214400 blocks long.

root@koha-hw:~# df -h /vz/
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg-vz      99G   20G   79G  21% /vz

Then, take a look how much space does VEs take:

root@koha-hw:~# vzlist -o veid,diskspace,diskspace.s,diskspace.h,diskinodes,diskinodes.s,diskspace.h
    212052   11717220   15728640   20971520      61001     286527   20971520
    212226    6407804   10485760   12582912      69011     435472   12582912

alternativly, you can also execute df inside VEs:

root@koha-hw:~# vzlist -o veid -H | xargs -i sh -c "echo --{}-- ; vzctl exec {} df -h"
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
simfs                  15G   12G  3.9G  75% /
tmpfs                 2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /lib/init/rw
tmpfs                 2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /dev/shm
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
simfs                  10G  6.2G  3.9G  62% /
tmpfs                 2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /lib/init/rw
tmpfs                 2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /dev/shm

next, we will set diskpace on both VEs (becase we want them to share all available resources) to new logical volume size:

root@koha-hw:~# vzlist -o veid -H | xargs -i vzctl set {} --diskspace 100G:100G --save
Saved parameters for VE 212052
Saved parameters for VE 212226

This VEs are not in production, and one is development version of another. When we move to production, we want to enforce more strict limit on disk usage, to protect production machine from running out of disk space in case the development one goes wild.

VE management

We usually want to do some operations on bunch of VEs at once. This can be done using vzctl exec in one sweep like this:

Update Debian

vzlist -H -o veid | xargs -i vzctl exec {} 'apt-get update && apt-get -y upgrade' 2>&1 | tee ~/log

Quick reporting

You can read more about groupby.pl and sum.pl on my blog.

# install dependencies which are not part of standard lenny (sorry!)
cpanp i IPC::System::Simple

dpavlin@mjesec:~$ vzps -E axv --no-headers \
  | groupby.pl 'sum:($7+$8+$9*1024),1,count:1' --join 'sudo vzlist -H -o veid,hostname' --on 2 \
  | sort -rn | align | sum.pl -h
webgui.rot13.org  23      1026M OOOOOOOOOOOO                              1026M
0                385       855M OOOOOOOOOO------------                    1882M
saturn.ffzg.hr    32       544M OOOOOO-----------------------             2427M
eprints.ffzg.hr   18       351M OOOO-----------------------------         2778M
arh.rot13.org     20       224M OO----------------------------------      3003M

find getty processes

root@mljac:~# ps ax | grep getty | cut -c-5 | xargs vzpid
Pid     VEID    Name
5668    0       getty
5670    0       getty
5672    0       getty
5673    0       getty
5674    0       getty
5675    0       getty
9503    207016  getty
9504    207013  getty
9505    207013  getty
9534    207016  getty
9535    207015  getty
9536    207013  getty
9537    207013  getty
9538    207015  getty
9539    207015  getty
9540    207015  getty
9541    207016  getty
9542    207015  getty
9543    207016  getty
9545    207013  getty
9546    207013  getty
9547    207015  getty
9548    207016  getty

devices inside VE

For example, fuse

dpavlin@brr:/dev$ vzctl set 100 --devices c:10:229:rw --save



Suite of perl scripts in spirit of xen-tools but for OpenVZ


Install perl dependencies from Debian packages

This step is optional. If you don't want to use perl modules from packages provided by your distribution, skip this step, and modules will be automatically installed in next one.

sudo apt-get install libio-prompt-perl libregexp-common-perl libdata-dump-perl

Install utilities from Debian packages

sudo apt-get install host

Checkout source

svn co svn://svn.rot13.org/vz-tools/trunk vz-tools

Check and install perl modules from CPAN

cd vz-tools
perl Makefile.PL

Please note that there is no need to run make install

Tools are runnable from current directory. This will probably change in later versions.


This is quick hand-on overview of commands to get you started.

All commands must be started with root priviledges


This will perform following steps:

  • Create new virtual machine bootstraped using debootstrap
  • Change root password
  • Create single user
  • Make small custimization like installing vim and apt-iselect

All commands will be echoed on screen, even passwords. However, if you want to learn steps in creating OpenVZ VE, this is very helpful.

To run interactive session which asks questions use:


Other alternative is to just enter hostname (defined in /etc/hosts for example)

./vz-create.pl my-new-ve.exmple.com

or by specifing IP adress




root@black:~/vz-tools# time ./vz-clone.pl create 1001
Clone VE 1001 -> 101001
found LV /dev/vg/vz for /vz
vzquota : (warning) Quota is running, so data reported from quota file may not reflect current values
quota for 1001 | 10485760 < 20971520 | usage: 7826792
using existing /dev/vg/vz-clone-101001
Mounting /dev/vg/vz-clone-101001 to /tmp/vz-clone-101001
rsync /vz/private/1001 -> /tmp/vz-clone-101001/private
101001 new IP number:
101001 new hostname: clone-42.example.com

Please review config file: /etc/vz/conf/101001.conf
Add NAT for new VE with: iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
Start clone of 1001 with: vzctl start 101001

real    1m57.347s
user    0m2.252s
sys     0m8.591s


fetchrss: http://svn.rot13.org/index.cgi/vz-tools/rss/trunk
  • There was an error: 404 Not Found

Related posts on my blog

fetchrss: http://blog.rot13.org/mt/mt-search.cgi?search=openvz&Template=feed&IncludeBlogs=1
  • There was an error: 500 read failed: error:14094410:SSL routines:SSL3_READ_BYTES:sslv3 alert handshake failure | error:140940E5:SSL routines:SSL3_READ_BYTES:ssl handshake failure


Convert image to monolithic growable disk

This format is supported by other emulators, so it's a best choice.

dpavlin@llin:/rest/vmware/winxp$ vmware-vdiskmanager -r Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmdk -t 0 /mnt/usb/vmware/win-xp.vmdk 
Using log file /tmp/vmware-dpavlin/vdiskmanager.log
Creating a monolithic growable disk '/mnt/usb/vmware/win-xp.vmdk'
  Convert: 57% done.

vmware-vdiskmanager error messages

Have in mind that vmware-vdiskmanger doesn't have a really helpful error messages:

dpavlin@tab:/mnt/brr/virtual/winxp$ vmware-vdiskmanager -r Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmdk -t 0 /virtual/win-xp.vmdk
Using log file /tmp/vmware-dpavlin/vdiskmanager.log
Creating a monolithic growable disk '/virtual/win-xp.vmdk'
Failed to convert disk: The destination file system does not support large files (13).

is really permission denied !

Resize disk image

dpavlin@llin:/mnt/usb/vmware$ qemu-img info win-xp.vmdk
(VMDK) image open: flags=0x2 filename=win-xp.vmdk
image: win-xp.vmdk
file format: vmdk
virtual size: 3.0G (3221225472 bytes)
disk size: 3.0G

There is a way to extend image using only qemu-img, but that involves converting image to raw and appending zeros at end to produce larger image. However, we will do that using VMWare's vmware-vdiskmanager

dpavlin@llin:/mnt/usb/vmware$ vmware-vdiskmanager -x 6Gb win-xp.vmdk
Using log file /tmp/vmware-dpavlin/vdiskmanager.log
  Grow: 100% done.
The old geometry C/H/S of the disk is: 6241/16/63
The new geometry C/H/S of the disk is: 12483/16/63
Disk expansion completed successfully.

WARNING: If the virtual disk is partitioned, you must use a third-party
         utility in the virtual machine to expand the size of the
         partitions. For more information, see:

This will make disk unbootable, so we will have to resize partition. Download GParted live CD and resize partition using it...

kvm -m 512 -hda win-xp.vmdk -no-acpi -std-vga -cdrom /rest/iso/gparted-live-0.3.9-4.iso -boot d

Convert vmdk to qcow

dpavlin@llin:/mnt/usb/vmware$ qemu-img convert -O qcow win-xp.vmdk win-xp.qcow
(VMDK) image open: flags=0x2 filename=win-xp.vmdk
dpavlin@llin:/mnt/usb/vmware$ ls -al win-xp.*
-rw-r--r-- 1 dpavlin dpavlin 3190906880 Oct  9 17:41 win-xp.qcow
-rw------- 1 dpavlin dpavlin 3208577024 Oct  9 17:35 win-xp.vmdk


disk speed

this is domU

root@vega:~# uname -a
Linux vega 2.6.18-6-xen-amd64 #1 SMP Mon Jun 16 23:42:47 UTC 2008 x86_64 GNU/Linux
root@vega:~# hdparm -tT /dev/hda1

 Timing cached reads:   5488 MB in  2.00 seconds = 2750.74 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  318 MB in  3.00 seconds = 105.98 MB/sec

resize domU image


proxmox is bare metal Debian 64-bit installation supporting containers using OpenVZ and full system emulation using KVM.

Linux Containers

OpenVZ isn't only linux container solution:

Guest OS


Remove them:

cd c:\windows\system32\drivers
del agp440.sys
del intelppm.dll

Startup script:

# 3M RFID 810

sudo chown -R $USER /proc/bus/usb/*

kvm -m 512 -hda win-xp.vmdk -no-acpi -std-vga -monitor stdio -usb -usbdevice host:$usbdev

USB sniffing:

info usbhost


It will not boot pass "Loading Nexenta..." stage without kvm module loaded.

# to install from iso image
kvm -m 512 -hda solaris.vmdk -cdrom ../iso/nexenta-core-platform_1.0.1-b85-test4_x86.iso -boot d -net nic,model=rtl8139 -net user

# run after installation
kvm -m 512 -hda solaris.vmdk -net nic,model=rtl8139 -net user


Plan 9


Is Linux going wrong way with btrfs as solution to all storage problems? Linux and object storage devices


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