CentOS Clone OpenNode Aims to Simplify KVM and OpenVZ

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 22, 2010

Active Systems has released the first public beta of OpenNode, a CentOS based distro that is designed to make it easier to run virtual machines using KVM or OpenVZ.

In addition to installing a minimal CentOS setup with support for OpenVZ and KVM out of the box, OpenNode provides a set of utilities to download pre-made OpenVZ templates or run the virsh shell to set up KVM. The project only provides OpenVZ templates at the moment, but KVM templates are in progress.

I'm particularly interested in the OpenVZ support with OpenNode. OpenVZ doesn't get the same amount of attention from the community as KVM, which is a shame. The project is fairly mature and and offers really good performance and decent management tools. OpenVZ is the basis for Parallels' proprietary Virtuozzo, which has some really well-designed management tools.

Future releases should support Func, the Fedora Unified Network Controller, to manage multiple machines simultaneously. According to the project status, OpenNode will eventually offer a Web-based management console, and CLI management tools via Func.

The system requirements are a bit more stringent for OpenNode systems. You'll need a 64-bit system that has the Intel-VT or AMD-V virtualization support to use KVM. Not sure if your system has those? The How-To Geek has a quick and simple method for grepping /proc/cpu info to see if the processor shows the right flags. If your CPU is flying the vmx or svm flags, you're good to go. If you're looking at buying a system review this page on Wikipedia to see if your CPU might make the list.

You'll also want a reasonable amount of disk space. The system's disk needs to be at least 80GB or larger to handle automatic partitioning with LVM, and two same-sized disks for softraid. No specifics on how much RAM the system needs to have, but if you're hoping to run multiple VMs, you'll probably want quite a bit.

The project is still in early stages. It's hosted on SourceForge for anybody interested in getting the bits or learning more.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks, Linux.com, CIO.com, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications. You can reach Zonker at jzb@zonker.net and follow him on Twitter.