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CASIMIR [en]

Virtual Machines Supervisor

Sunday 19 August 2007, by François Guerraz

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

In French, C.A.S.I.M.I.R. is an acronym standing for "Simplified Machine Images Creation and Administration Using the Network", so we could have named it SMICAUN but it doesn’t mean anything while in French it is the name of an nice Monster for children :)

At the time of writing this article, CASIMIR is only available in french: everyone willing to contribute is welcome, so please tell me if you want to translate CASIMIR.

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Updated on 09/25/07


CASIMIR was written using LAMP and released under the GPLv2 licence.

It is a web site, it uses a small amount of resources and can be installed on a small server. It controls by the network, thanks to SSH, virtual machines running under Qemu and/or KVM

The interface looks like this :

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Capture d’écran
CASIMIR gérant une machine virtuelle Windows XP.
PNG - 305.5 kb
Capture d’écran Etch
Debian Etch fonctionnant dans CASIMIR
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Capture d’écran Etch-Control
Contrôles applicables à une machine virtuelle en cours de fonctionnement.
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Capture d’écran Création
Création d’une nouvelle machine virtuelle

The packaged version I’m offering here is cleaner than the previous one: it’s a TGZ containing CASIMIR plus the Java TightVNC Applet signed with my own key, and an other archive downloads/casimir.tgz which contains

  • the scripts to install on the servers hosting VMs
  • the compiled CVS version of qemu and kqemu is no longer present

Download the package on SourceForge

If you wish to automate the qemu/kvm installation on your servers, you’ll have to add the binaries to the downloads/casimir.tgz archive.

The web interface uses an editable template thanks to the PHP class made by PHPlib. The beautiful template shipped with CASIMIR was made by JHeyes & Spyka Production, it was a commercial template. But they are still great people :) after a few mails to Josh, I had this answer:

Hi,

Sorry for the late response.

I’m pleased to say I will agree to the template being released under the GPL, free software is great!

Thanks

What else could I wish? :)

Installation subtleties :

On the server hosting the web site

SSH keys generation : in the keys/ folder make a RSA key pair with the following commands :
# sh-keygen -t rsa -f id_rsa
# chown www-data:www-data id_rsa*
# chmod 600 id_rsa*
# mkdir ~www-data/.ssh

You can use NTLM authentication, to do so, you just have to configure Apache to use it, NTLM authentication is then automatically used... You can use this guide in French (I’m sure you’ll understand it :) ), it is made for Ubuntu but it works exactly the same way for Debian Etch.

Import the MySQL Data Base making script right here. The default administrator account is admin, password admin

Download the script on SourceForge

On the servers hosting virtual machines :

When you add a Hosting server from CASIMIR, you have to copy-paste a script in a root terminal, it installs the needed scripts and software. But beware ! Not everything is yet automatic !

Please modify /etc/network/interfaces according to your network parameters and load the tun module and restart the network.

Change your starting scripts in order to load automatically the kqemu kernel module and change the /dev/kqemu rights for the casimir user to have rw rights on it.

Think about raising the shared memory size (about 110% of the memory virtual machines are supposed to use), if not, you’ll not be able to use software (kqemu) or hardware (kvm) acceleration. The shared memory is swappable so you can mount more than the RAM amount you really have. But beware of the impact it can have on performances ! For example, to mount 2GB of shared memory :

# mount -t tmpfs none /dev/shm/ -o remount,size=2G

Shared memory can be resized on the fly without loosing memory content thanks to the remount option.

P.S.

There is certainly things I haven’t thought about, and English translation mistakes! Please react in the forum below to ask for help or make comments or subscribe to the mailing list !

You can also visit the SourceForge project’s page

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