Emil Lerch

Husband, Father, Technologist, Cloud Architect

Xen on AWS EC2

Since I’m working for AWS, I want to understand fundamentally the workings of the open source Xen Hypervisor. I also want to dig more deeply into the emerging Unikernel ecosystem. Of course, I want to do this on Amazon EC2, because generally I prefer to assume my laptop is ephemeral and could be lost, stolen, dropped, etc. However, Xen doesn’t nest well, so putting Xen in a virtual machine on top of Xen is a little bit crazy-talk.

Undaunted, I searched around, finally bumping into an old research project at Cornell called Xen Blanket that aims to do just this. The instructions are old for an old version of Xen and CentOS. So old that it took me two runs to get it right. This course lab was more explicit and ultimately I compared the directions and kind of ran through both sets of instructions together.

At the end of the day, I ended up with an older version of CentOS with an older version of Xen installed. This was all in us-east-1 (Virginia) region, and since I live in Oregon I migrated the AMI over to us-west-2 (Oregon). If you would like to play around with Xen for Unikernel development or any other reason, I’ve created AMIs in us-east-1 and us-west-2 and made them public. Once launched, use your ssh key with the ‘root’ user.

The following links will start the launch wizard in the console with these AMIs.