[Admin-discuss] Admin training idea

John Bolger x at Redbrick.DCU.IE
Thu Dec 12 08:42:12 GMT 2002

Ive recently being playing with a neat system called UML (User Mode
Linux). UML lets you run virtual machines in userland on a linux box.
This is like what we hoped to do on the S/390 - with the small exception
that we can actually do it.

I think UML would be very useful for admin training for the following
reasons :

1. Every virtual machine can have its own seperate filesystems. The user
can login as root to the virtual machine, rm -Rf / and it would just be
a matter of building them a new box (which should envolve copying a new
image from a central master image repository) If they trash their own
filesystem nobody else would even notice :)

2. Every virtual machine runs in its own sandbox. It has by default no
access to external networks or other parts of the server its running on.
This makes them very safe to use. 

3. You can setup multiple virtual machines to work together in groups,
and have virtual switches between them. This could allow trainees (or
even people who just want to experiment) to setup mini "virtual"
networks. You can then play with firewalls, VPNs, load balancers, NFS,
etc - this wouldnt be possible with one box.

I have got as far as installing Debian on a UML and from there you can
install packages (either from sources or using apt/dpkg) and play
away/learn how they work. 

So anyone interested ?

If yes, all we need is an i386 box running Debian. apt-get install
user-mode-linux, RTFM, RTFWS (Read the Fine web site) and setup a small
test virtual machine. 

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