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O'Reilly Network: System Failure and Recovery Practice

Dec 06, 2001, 13:15 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Dike)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"User-Mode Linux (UML) is a Linux virtual machine running on Linux that allows you to boot Linux on a "software" machine. These virtual machines can be easily created and destroyed, and allow you do do virtually anything that can be done with a physical system. Because of this, UML has turned out to have a wide variety of uses. In this article, I will talk about an application that has not received anywhere near the attention I think it deserves.

UML virtual machines are nearly identical to physical machines in their behavior, except that they are far more convenient to configure and boot. This makes them ideal for system administrator training and practice. In particular, they are very well-suited for creating admin disasters in order to practice recovering from them. I will be describing the creation of and recovery from three disasters, plus the creation (but not recovery) of a fourth.

To get started, you will need to download UML and install it. Go to http://user-mode-linux.sourceforge.net/dl-sf.html and grab and install either the UML RPM or deb, whichever is appropriate for your system. These will install UML itself, plus a number of utilities. You will also need a filesystem image to boot UML on. These are available from the same page. I will be using the Debian root filesystem in the examples below. If you are too short of bandwidth to download that one, get the tomsrtbt filesystem instead."

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