We use Xen Orchestra as the web interface for students to create and manage VMs via our XCP-ng Pool in PJ Carrolls. The login is found at https://xoa.comp.dkit.ie and most students are familiar with this excellent resource. But what if a student wanted to mange their own pool of virtualisation servers in a Specialist Lab, running either XCP-ng or XenServer?
Ideally, you should use the “Quick Instances” and other VM templates provided by our Xen Orchestra Dashboard when creating virtual servers for your project. These have been optimised with tools and drivers designed to get the best performance from your virtual machine, and to access advanced features such as safe shutdown in the event of power outage. But what if your VM was built from scratch, can you still access these tools?
Debian is a volunteer project that has developed and maintained a GNU/Linux operating system for well over a decade. Since its launch, the Debian project has grown to comprise more than 1,000 members with official developer status, alongside many more volunteers and contributors. Today, Debian encompasses over 50,000 packages of free, open source applications and documentation. The popular distribution Ubuntu builds on the Debian architecture and infrastructure and collaborates widely with Debian developers, but there are important differences. Ubuntu has a distinctive user interface, a separate developer community (though many developers participate in both projects) and a different release process.
If you decide to use a Debian server for your project (good idea – it’s secure, robust and fast), then you should always have the latest security patches and updates, whether you’re asleep or not. This is actually pretty easy to do. Here’s how.
Advanced Package Tool, or APT, is a free software user interface that works with core libraries to handle the installation and removal of software on Debian, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. APT simplifies the process of managing software on Unix-like computer systems by automating the retrieval, configuration and installation of software packages, either from precompiled files or by compiling source code.
Ubuntu Core is a transactional version of the Ubuntu Linux OS, made specifically for internet of things (IoT) devices and large container deployments. This OS powers many digital signs, robotics and gateways, and uses the same kernel, libraries and system software as the standard Ubuntu, but on a much smaller scale.
The Cloud Virtualisation Platform we have built at https://xoa.comp.dkit.ie is a fantastic resource, comparable to AWS, Digital Ocean etc but yet free and importantly, secure because it is inside the DkIT Firewall. However, this same security can prevent useful features most server can do easily, like sending email.
This tutorial details how to configure your virtual server in DkIT to send email via the Microsoft Outlook Mail Server (which is actually the other side of the firewall).