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We are creating a cloud app and have Debian on which we create a customized image and upload it to the Amazon EC2. After uploading it to the cloud we made some more customizations and are trying to rebundle it.

We are facing some issues in rebundling it. We would like to know if we could do something like this.

  1. Create an AMI Image on Debian
  2. Load it on to the Xen Hypervisor which would be over the Debian
  3. Customize the image
  4. Save the customized image
  5. Upload it to EC2

The issue is that I am unable to find a proper solution on how to install Xen on Debian and will the AMI on Xen work on EC2.

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You can't "install Xen on Debian". Xen is a Type 1 Hypervisor and must run on bare metal. I think you need to read up on how all this works before moving any further. –  Chris S Jul 3 '12 at 23:02
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2 Answers

It is not guaranteed that the AMI will work on XEN, even if Amazon uses xen to run the images, your mileage may vary.

Your best option is just to spawn that image in EC2 itself and build a new AMI based on that, you can remove that virtual machine later and the cost involved compared to the time investigating and running the local machine will be satisfactory.

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I agree with lynxman, amazon runs a modified version of XEN, though I do not know how modified it is.
Your best bet is to create a debian image from scratch for AWS specifically. I would suggest using an automated process for that.

Luckily there's an app for that.
ec2debian-build-ami will build a debian image for you from scratch, it is highly modifiable via plugins, so adding your own modifications shouldn't be a problem at all. A big plus is the automated process once you have written the scripts.
Every modification to an AMI can be tested quickly and all changes are easily tracked (provided you use some kind of VC).

This does however not solve your problem with running it on your own XEN installation first.
I do think that once you have an AMI running, booting that image with your own hypervisor will be less of a hassle than the other way around.

p.s.: Please post your results in the comments. I am excited to hear whether ec2 images can run on other things than AWS.

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