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VIrtualization HA challenge

I've spent the past couple months tinkering with tools for high-availability
and virtualization; what seems tantalizingly possible is this setup:

- Two multi-core systems with two NIC cards and 4-6 SATA drives, 16-32GB of RAM.
- Xen or VirtualBox virtualization.
- Two ethernet switches, at least one of which is jumbo-frame capable (for use
as a SAN switch).
- Open-source SAN with automatic failover of all the storage contained in
these systems.
- Virtual machines capable of running on either of the two hosts.

It would be a bit of a challenge to build this using /four/ machines (a pair
each for storage and for virtualization) but doing this on two would make it a
killer-app platform.

I say it's "tantalizing", though, after getting various pieces work
individually but not quite integrated:  AoE (ATA-over-Ethernet), OCFS2, DRBD,

There's an open-source project called Archipel ( which
I've yet to investigate.  A good writeup of the state of the art is at
Aliver's blog: , the 2-Jan entry.  Another
article I find interesting is by Mike Neir (

My goal is basically to be able to walk into anyone's data center with a set
of well-tested tools that provide compelling HA and monitoring capability
without all the equipment/software expense of the VMware solution which is
basically what almost everyone's doing now (and my goal is to think different,
not just be like everyone else).

Anyone have any luck with these, or failed war stories?


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