Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update on FreeBSD Jail Based Virtualization Project

Bjoern Zeeb has provided a summary regarding the completion of the funded portion of the FreeBSD Jail Based Virtualization Project:

I am happy to report that the funded parts of the FreeBSD Jail Based Virtualization project are completed. Some of the results have been shipping with 8.1-RELEASE while others are ready to be merged to HEAD.

Jails have been the well known operating system level virtualization technique in FreeBSD for over a decade. The import of Marko Zec's network stack virtualization has introduced a new way for abstracting subsystems. As part of this project, the abstraction framework has been generalized. Together with Jamie Gritton's flexible jail configuration syscalls, this will provide the infrastructure for, and will ease the virtualization of, further subsystems without much code duplication. The next subsystems to be virtualized will likely be SYSV/Posix IPC to help, for example, PostgreSQL users. This will probably be followed by the process namespace.

Along with the framework, debugging facilities, such as the interactive kernel debugger, have been enhanced so that every new subsystem will be able to immediately make use of these improvements without modifying a single line of code. Libjail and jls can now work on core dumps and netstat is able to query individual live network stacks attached to jails.

For the virtual network stack, work was focused on network stack teardown, a concept introduced with the network stack virtualization. The primary goal was to prototype a shutdown of the (virtual) network stacks from top to bottom, which means letting interfaces go last rather than first and still being able to cleanly shutdown TCP connections. Good progress was made, but a lot of code over the last two decades was never written in a way to be cleanly stopped. Work on this will have to continue, along with virtualizing the remaining network subsystems to allow long term stability and a leak and panic free shutdown. As a side effect, users of non-virtualized network stacks will also benefit, as other general network stack problems are identified and fixed along the way.

I am happy to see more early adopters, former OpenSolaris users, and people contributing code or reporting problems and would like to encourage people to further support this project.

My special thanks go the FreeBSD Foundation and CK Software GmbH for having sponsored this project, as well as to John Baldwin and Philip Paeps for helping with review and excellent suggestions.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FreeBSD Foundation Turns to NYI for East Coast US Mirror

From this morning's joint press release (available for PDF download):

Deployment Adds Enterprise-Grade Redundancy for Improved Reliability, Reduced Latency, High-Speed Backups and Other Efficiencies

BOULDER, CO, August 10, 2010 — The FreeBSD Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the FreeBSD Project and community, today announced that NYI, a New York City-based, mission-critical data services provider, will be mirroring key West coast infrastructure at NYI's 999 Frontier Road data center in Bridgewater, New Jersey, a recently opened 40,000 square foot facility.

In addition to providing enterprise-grade redundancy and reliability for the Project's infrastructure, the East coast mirror will reduce latency during heavy download times, distribute load between the two coasts, and allow for up-to-date backups of all Project data that can be synchronized via high-speed Internet connections.

"Having a well-connected, secondary site with NYI's amenities to host FreeBSD project infrastructure means that we can move services between sites when doing scheduled maintenance to improve reliability for FreeBSD developers and users," said Simon L. Nielsen, administrative team. He added, "The new site also enables us to expand significantly the available hardware for FreeBSD package building, allowing the FreeBSD ports team to perform QA test builds and quickly produce binary FreeBSD packages for end-users."

"We are long-time open-source advocates," said Phillip Koblence, VP Operations, NYI. "The FreeBSD Foundation in particular represents everything that got us into technology in the first place. With this deployment, we take our commitment to a new level in the hope that what we are doing lays the foundation for next-generation data centers built around FreeBSD. As many people in the community know, NYI's 999 Frontier Road facility features many of the Project's efforts, as everything from PDUs to the servers run FreeBSD."

The East coast mirror at 999 Frontier is also notable because it replaces aging and inadequate hardware; provides dual-configuration so that experimental vs. production runs can be separated out, allowing changes to the ports system to be evaluated continuously rather the interrupting production flow; deploys to multiple sites, providing resiliency in the event of a failure; provides build capacity required to support the ports ABI changes required to improve the foundations for binary package support while maintaining ports-stable regression testing.

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to have been able to fund the purchase of the hardware. Brad Davis, Mark Linimon, and Simon Nielsen from the FreeBSD Project worked on the configuration, along with key members of the NYI team.

About The FreeBSD Foundation
The FreeBSD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the FreeBSD Project and community. The Foundation gratefully accepts donations from individuals and businesses, using them to fund and manage projects, sponsor FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. In addition, the Foundation represents the FreeBSD Project in executing contracts, license agreements, and other legal arrangements that require a recognized legal entity. The FreeBSD Foundation is entirely supported by donations. More information about The FreeBSD Foundation is available on the web.

About NYI

Established in 1996, NYI is headquartered in the heart of the Wall Street area and owns and maintains its own data centers, including 999 Frontier, a newly opened 40,000 square foot facility in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The company's core services include colocation, dedicated servers, web and email hosting, and managed services, as well as turnkey disaster recovery and business continuity solutions from its Bridgewater location. With high-bandwidth connectivity partners AboveNet, Verizon Business, Optimum Lightpath, and AT&T, NYI specializes in mission-critical data services for the financial services industry, in addition to customers from a broad range of industries, including media, law, fashion, architecture, life sciences and real estate. NYI is SAS 70 Type II-compliant, in additon to being both PCI and HIPAA compliant. For more information, visit.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Accepting Travel Grant Applications for EuroBSDCon 2010‏

The FreeBSD Foundation will be providing a limited number of travel grants to individuals requesting assistance. Please download, complete, and submit the Travel Grant Request Application by September 3, 2010 to apply for this grant.

This program is open to FreeBSD developers of all sorts (kernel hackers, documentation authors, bugbusters, system administrators, etc). In some cases we are also able to fund non-developers, such as active community members and FreeBSD advocates.

You request funding based on a realistic and economical estimate of travel costs, accommodations, and registration or tutorial fees. If there are other sponsors willing to cover costs, such as your employer or the conference, we prefer you talk to them first, as our budget is limited. We are happy to split costs with you or another sponsor, such as just covering airfare or board. If you are a speaker at the conference, we expect the conference to cover your travel costs, and will most likely not approve your direct request to us.

Once received, we review your application and, if approved, authorize you to seek reimbursement up to a limit. We consider several factors, including our overall and per-event budgets, and the benefit to the community by funding your travel. If approved, we require you to submit a report on your trip, which we may show to current or potential sponsors, and may include here and in our semi-annual newsletter.

There's some flexibility in the mechanism, so talk to us if something about the model doesn't quite work for you or if you have any questions. The travel grant program is one of the most effective ways we can spend money to help support the FreeBSD Project, as it helps developers get together in the same place at the same time, and helps advertise and advocate FreeBSD in the larger community.