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LXC - Linux Containers on OpenSuSE/SLES

Posted on Wed, Oct 05, 2011 at 9:27 by Hubertus A. Haniel

Recently somebody pointed me at LXC so I thought I give it a try.

As I mainly work on SuSE/SLES - I attempted this following the documentation at http://en.opensuse.org/LXC with a little extra help from http://lxc.teegra.net unsing OpenSuSE 11.4

At the time of me writing this the OpenSuSE guide did work pretty well but I had to make a few adjustments to get the container running properly:

  • To get the network to start up properly I had to comment out the paragraph that sets the mode to "onboot" in /etc/init.d/network so during boot it is just called with start. - This is a bit of a hack and may break things if the networking setup is a little more complex then a single interface. I also adjusted my config slightly to use DHCP rather then static addresses as that is a little easier to handle in my test environment.
  • This is not mentioned in the documentation I found but autofs has problems within a container. - My homedirectory gets mounted from a NFS server and autofs just seemed to hang while a hard nfs mount in fstab would work just fine.
  • Booting the environment came up with lots of errors about udev so I re-enabled that even though the documentation mentions that it should be taken out.

I have the advantage that I have puppet in my environment to adjust the configuration of systems to suit my test environment but a few things to make LXC on SuSE viable in a proper environment would be:

  • LXC/YaST intigration so AutoYaST templates could be fed into a container creation.
  • Currently there are no LXC templates for OpenSuSE or only the frameworks so one would have to create proper templates to use the lxc-create/lxc-destroy commands to create and destroy containers on the fly.
  • LXC is part of the SLES11 distribution but there does not seem to be any documentation what Novell would support inside a container in a production environment especially since I had to hack startup scripts in /etc/init.d so I think the startup scripts would need to be properly adjusted to be aware to do the right things if they are running inside a container. Hacking the start up scripts is not really an option as those changes may get reversed out during patching.

Other then the above concerns and gotchas LXC is a very interesting project and has the potential of Solaris Zones and offers for Linux a full compliment of Virtualisation technologies alongside UML (Not realy used any more), Xen and KVM.

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