Virtualization Test Day tomorrow!

Tomorrow – Thursday May 7th – will be a Test Day for virtualization for Fedora 11. As always, it’ll be held in #fedora-qa on Freenode IRC.

We’d really like to get as many people as possible out to help test. What’s up for testing are the virtualization technologies Fedora has done a lot of work with: KVM, qemu, libvirt, virt-manager and the like.

I’ve noticed when you start talking about this stuff, a lot of people’s eyes glaze over. Many people are used to using the lower-end VMware products and VirtualBox, because they’re simple and easy to use for pretty basic virtualization cases. Whereas if, like me, you tried to run Xen or KVM / qemu two or three years ago, you probably wound up reaching for the Tylenol.

See, here’s what I discovered when I decided to bite the bullet and give this stuff a shot again a few weeks ago: it’s nothing like that any more. Take a look – there’s some screenshots of virt-manager. It’s really just a UI on top of some of those scary virtualization technologies – especially qemu and KVM – but it works in a surprisingly similar way to, say, VirtualBox. You get a simple graphical interface with a nice wizard for setting up a VM, which you can then just run with a single click. It’s nothing like the scariness it used to be.

Yes, things can get a lot more involved if you have complex needs, and some of the planned Test Day testing covers those areas. But a lot of the testing is on pretty basic stuff that just about any casual geek will be able to wrap his or her head around. This technology is really cool and it’s a worthwhile benefit to have a cohesive virtualization stack which covers everything from basic VirtualBox-type functionality up to the scary VMware enterprise stuff on the top end, all based on the same technologies that are very open and upstream-friendly. So really, if you have any interest in virtualization, come along and help out! It’s really not difficult, and there will be plenty of experienced developers and testers in the channel to help you over any bumps you encounter. There’s also links to Getting Started documentation right on the Wiki page, so you can go ahead and set up your environment ahead of time.

You’ll need a Rawhide installation, but now we’re in the run-up to Fedora 11, Rawhide is pretty stable; it’s not as dicey as it would have been a few months back. All you need to do is install Fedora 11 Preview and do a regular update – there’s instructions on the Wiki page. Some tests do require hardware virtualization support, but not all of them – so even if your CPU and BIOS don’t provide hardware virtualization support, you’ll be able to help with some testing (though the virtual machine will run quite slowly).

So please do come along and help us test this stuff tomorrow! It’s a really exciting area of development that will lead to some cool code in Fedora 11, 12 and future Red Hat releases. Thanks. Remember – #fedora-qa, Thursday May 7th.

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