The MLN Project

Complex virtual machine management made easy

What is MLN?

MLN (Manage Large Networks) is a virtual machine administration tool designed to build and run virtual machine networks based on Xen, VMware Server and User-Mode Linux. It is ideal for creating virtual network labs for education, testing, hosting or simply playing around with virtual machines.

Get the latest MLN release:


tar xzf mln-latest.tar.gz; cd mln-latest

./mln setup

cp mln /usr/local/bin


04/11 - 2009
Introducing version 1.0.5 along with the Amazon EC2 plugin. This plugin allows you to manage Amazon EC2 instances just as any other VM on your server. In fact, you can use MLN and the EC2 plugin without Xen installed on your local machine if you are only interested in running virtual machines in the cloud.
MLN's strong points when used with EC2:
  • Handles all the packaging of the virtual machines filesystem and copies it into EC2 for you
  • A naming scheme you can actually remember
  • Grouping of VMs
  • Supports integration with EBS volumes and elastic IPs
Check out the extensive tutorial in the mln-manual.pdf (Chapter 10)

14/01 - 2009
A new version of MLN, 1.0.1 with mostly bugfixes and improved speed when building projects which use LVM. Also, a release of the iSCSI plugin and a complete howto in the MLN manual

9/11 - 2008
Scripts from the LISA 08 tutorial: "VMs: What are they good for" can be found here. Slides and info can be found at

3/11 - 2008
Version 1.0.0 is now official! It has been time to mark this milestone for quite some time now. I have been working on improving stability and getting MLN to a point where it is easy to use as a tool. Please sownload and test this latest version and provide feedback. 30/10 - 2008
I am proud to release another update to version 0.83. It hase several improvements, but the most noteworthy are:
  • VMware Server support See this link
  • More possibilities for plugins to add features

12/11 - 2007
The long-awaited release of MLN 0.83 is finally out, bringing with it some important improvements:
  • HVM Xen support
  • Improved installer
  • Live migration of entire networks
  • The filepath keyword to store vm filesystems in special locations
Thanks to Ingard M and Matt D for their effort on this one. This release is reccomended for Xen users. here

14/12 - 2006
Some confusion about LVM on non-debian distributions promted this little bugfix. here.

07/12 - 2006
LISA 06 slides can be downloaded here.
The demos are here as well: mln-demo1.avi, mln-demo2.avi

01/12 - 2006
In time for the USENIX/LISA conference, a batch of bugfixes. Download the newest version here.

31/08 - 2006
A beta release of the 0.82 version is now available here: mln-0.82b16.tar.gz (updated on 04/09)
One should be able to use it instead of the 0.81 release. Most of the work left is in documentation. Improvements of this release:
  • A MLN daemon function which can be used to manage large projects that span several servers. You can start, stop, build, upgrade and remove from one point and it is enforced on all involved servers. See the manual for more info.
  • A status command for the polling of status information from MLN daemons
  • Selected plugins are now released with the tarball
  • mln stop -p project -w i can now wait for all hosts in a project to stop before it returns
  • Xen projects can be frozen in mid-air and restarted again:
    mln stop -p xenproject -S
    mln start -p xenproject
    Note, that the project needs to have been built using this or a later version.
  • mln reconfigure will not rebuild the project, but re-create the start and stop script as well as re-do the internal configuration of a VM.

A minor version update with bugfixes: 0.81.1 .. and now even 0.81.2

20/4 - 2006
  • MLN tutorial at Technology Trasfer Day at Oslo University College (Norway)
  • The slides from the tutorial.
  • In time for the tutorial some bugs have been removed and the new version is: 0.81
  • In order to ease install of Xen, Matt Disney has written an shellscript called that installs Xen 3.0.2 on an Ubuntu Dapper or Debian Sarge install.

2/4 - 2006
I am pleased to announce version 0.80 of mln with the following improvements:
  • Support for Xen as well as User-Mode Linux. Assuming you have Xen 3.0.1 or later installed, you can make a host run Xen by using the xen keyword in a host.
  • A new plugin infrastructure for easy expansion of the MLN syntax and features
  • A new installer that configures MLN for a single user or for all users on a host
  • Support for LVM as disks for both Xen and UML
  • Rewrite of the internal data-structure
  • Preliminary support for distributed build accross a network
  • Additional templates based on Ubuntu

16/05 - 2005
Quick feedback from users enabled this little update: 0.74.3 is recommended for all.

11/05 - 2005
We are proud to announce that version 0.74 of MLN is available for download. It contains a host of bugfixes and also a range of usability features. Be sure to use the latest templates.

It has been a while, but another release candidate is out: 0.73rc3.
New features are:
  • Support for the swap keyword
  • A new template, blimp, which contains a wiki, request tracker and the drupal weblog system.

A release candidate for version 0.73 is now available. The output is still a bit rough. New features include:
  • COW support!
  • A clean command to remove residual sockets after hard UML takedowns
  • You can now choose starting application (xterm | screen ) at boot time instead of just build-time.
  • Numerous bugfixes.
  • Non-root building is now the default build mode.
  • It is possible to move projects with the start and stop scripts still woriking.

30/07 2004
The latest revision of mln, 0.72r1 is now out. If contains a few bugfixes and no new features.

15/07 2004
A new revision of version 0.72 is out due to a bug in the user/group ownership of switches.

11/07 2004
We are proud to announce the release of MLN version 0.72 with numerous usability fixes and new features. Main changes from the previous version are:
  • "mln register_template" for manually created/downloaded templates
  • "mln status" shows what hosts are running
  • RedHat templates are now supported
  • Support for nice values
  • Support for halting machines instantly
  • owner,sudo, group ownerships on hosts
  • owner,sudo, group ownerships on switches
  • Impossible to use smaller size then the template's
  • list_templates shows sizes too
  • Start and stop scripts can create/take down tun/tap devices
  • Start and stop scripts handle unforseen cases better
10/05 2004
mln-0.71 is out! It is now possible to download templates from sourceforge too. We hope you'll have great fun with it.

13/4 2004
We have just written this very webpage. The next task is to bring the documentation online.

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