How oVirt 3.1 enables free enterprise-level virtualization

If a free, enterprise-level virtualization deployment sounds like it's too good to be true, take a closer look at oVirt 3.1.

Despite its open-source status, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization still comes with a price tag, but thanks to oVirt

3.1, a free, enterprise-level virtualization deployment is now a reality. Red Hat Inc. based its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) platform on its oVirt open-source software, meaning a virtual architecture built using oVirt 3.1 would offer the same capabilities at no cost.

Meeting the requirements for installation

The software is included in both Fedora 17 and CentOS 6.3. A typical oVirt 3.1 setup on Fedora 17 requires a hypervisor and a management server. The hypervisor host does nothing but run virtual machines (VMs) in the most efficient way. The management host manages the VMs between different hypervisor hosts as needed, which is why it normally isn't installed on one of the hypervisor hosts themselves.

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For test purposes, though, you can run both on the same machine, as long as the machine is powerful enough. An ideal test environment would have at least 8 GB of RAM and hardware virtualization support. You must also ensure that the KVM packages are installed on that host.

Before installing the oVirt 3.1 pages, add the oVirt repositories to your Fedora 17 by using the command yum localinstall http://ovirt.org/releases/ovirt-release-fedora.noarch.rpm. Once you install this small RPM file, use the command yum install ovirt-engine to install the virtualization engine and its dependencies. This file is bigger -- approximately 350 MB – because oVirt is based on a Java environment, and needs a JBoss application server and a PostgreSQL database.

After installing the base packages, you need to run the oVirt 3.1 setup script named engine-setup. While you run the script, it will ask for the following configuration parameters:

HTTP Port

This is the Web server port. If no Web server is configured yet, use port 80; otherwise, choose a unique, easy-to-remember port, such as 8008. You will be prompted to choose again if the port you select is already in use. Choose a unique port for HTTPS services. The next prompt asks you to choose the host name. You must choose a host name that can be resolved -- a name all computers that will communicate with the host know – specifically, by Domain Name System if possible. Be sure the host name resolves into an IP address before continuing.

Passwords

You will also need to set some passwords, including one for the default internal administrator admin@internal. This user account logs in to the Web management interface. After entering this password, you must pick an organization name for the certificate that the Web interface will use. Next, specify how you will access the storage area for VM image files. Use an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN when available, or choose Network File System (NFS) for an easy-to-set-up storage type.

Database

Then you need to select which type of database to configure. For a large virtualization deployment where performance is an issue, select the remote database type. For a simple test environment, however, select the local type, and enter a password for the administrator. You will end up with no fewer than three different passwords, but this facilitates the delegation of tasks to different specialists.

ISO domain

Once you set up the database, the installer will ask where to put the ISO domain. This is the directory for ISO files used to install VMs. By default, this ISO domain is shared with an NFS share. After choosing a location for the ISO domain, the installer proposes to open the firewall as a final step. Before applying the configuration, you see an overview of the settings you entered. To apply these settings, type yes to write them to the database.

You'll see this overview window before writing all settings to the database.

You'll see this overview window before writing all settings to the database.

Comparing capabilities and features

After writing all components to the database and starting the Web server, you can launch a browser and open the host URL, as well as the port address, if you're using a non-default port. This allows you to log in to the Administrator interface using the admin account you created during installation. This, in turn, grants you access to a Web management interface almost identical to that in RHEV.

From this interface, click the Hosts tab and add a new host. Enter the name, IP address and root password needed for SSH authentication to the KVM host. Once you install the host into the system, you can complete the additional configuration. This installation and configuration process exactly mirrors that in RHEV.

This demonstrates how you add a KVM host to the oVirt management interface.This demonstrates how you add a KVM host to the oVirt management interface.

You don't need to break the bank for an enterprise-level virtualization deployment. OVirt 3.1 gives you all the capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization at no cost. Set up an oVirt management host to configure a free, data-center-ready and open-source virtualization platform.

This was first published in January 2013

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