We began using Xen in Fall 2003 soon after reading the paper “Xen and the Art of Virtualization” published in the Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP). After attending SOSP and talking to some of the authors, Jeanna Matthews returned excited about Xen. She and her graduate operating systems course at Clarkson University decided to repeat and extend the results reported in that paper. That class included two of the co-authors for this book, Eli Dow (currently at IBM) and Todd Deshane (currently completing his Ph.D.), who were both studying for their Master’s degrees at the time. In the process of repeating the results from the 2003 Xen paper, we learned a lot about running Xen – much of it the hard way! Our goal for this book was to write exactly the material we wished was available when we first started using Xen.
In July 2004, we published the paper “Xen and the Art of Repeated Research” describing our experience with Xen and presenting the results we obtained repeating and extending the results. All the authors, in addition to being a part of the Fall 2003 graduate operating systems course, were also members of the Applied Computing Laboratories at Clarkson University specifically the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI) and the Clarkson Internet Teaching Laboratory (ITL). These labs were founded to provide students with hands-on experience with cutting-edge computing technologies and to form a community in which everyone both learns and teaches. Other students in the labs – both graduate and undergraduate – began to use Xen as the basis for both production systems and for research projects. Through the years, we have used Xen as the basis for a number of academic papers as well as the basis of award winning team projects. In the process, we have learned a lot about running Xen. It is our goal in this book to share this knowledge with you and to make your experience running Xen as smooth and simple as possible.