Whilst deployment can refer to almost all stages of turning a planned computer system into a real implementation this section will concentrate on concrete techniques and systems which can be used to assist the deployment of Gentoo Linux in a production environment.

The documentation found here explores, amongst other things, the construction of a "build-server" to automatically build updated binary-packages enabling Gentoo Linux to be used more like a traditional binary distribution without sacrificing any of its flexibility and use of the Xen hypervisor as a virtualisation technology enabling the consolidation of many logical servers to fewer physical servers.

Automated package building system for Gentoo Linux

Whilst Gentoo Linux is widely recognised for the extreme flexibility afforded by the unique combination of a source based distribution with the innovative portage package management system allowing customisation of the build of most major applications using use flags it is often decried for the time taken to perform an installation as well as the time wasted by repeatedly building the same packages on multiple machines.

This document aims to address this problem by implementing a "build server" responsible for automatically building updated packages as well as making those pre-built binary packages and relevant configuration information available for use by client machines.

Storage Area Networks (SANs)

A Storage Area Network (SAN) is usually defined as a “network that provides access to consolidated, block-level data storage” . A SAN is therefore inherently different to a Network File System such as NFS as it does not provide file level access to clients but instead provides access to a block device over a network.

As you would expect there are a wide array of different SAN solutions offering an equally wide array of features. In this section we shall focus on producing Storage Area Networks offering advanced features such as distributed fault-tolerance.

Virtualisation with the Xen hypervisor
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In recent years the subject of virtualisation has seen increasing interest. This interest has been driven by a number of factors including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the power consumption of servers and the cooling equipment required to maintain their operating temperature within an acceptable range, the desire to increase the utilisation of expensive hardware by combining separate functions requiring their own incompatible configurations onto a single physical server, and the improvement in reliability which can be achieved by decoupling the operating system and applications from the hardware on which they operate.

In this document we shall examine using the Xen hypervisor to provide paravirtualisation support to the Linux operating system, as both the control domain and the guest domain, as well as full hardware virtualisation which can be useful when virtualising operating systems which do not have virtualisation support built-in.