Installing XenServer VM Tools
XenCenter 2023.x.x is currently in preview and is not supported for production use. Note that any future references to production support apply only when XenCenter 2023.x.x and XenServer 8 go from preview status to general availability.
You can use XenCenter 2023.x.x to manage your XenServer 8 and Citrix Hypervisor 8.2 CU1 non-production environments. However, to manage your Citrix Hypervisor 8.2 CU1 production environment, use XenCenter 8.2.7. For more information, see the XenCenter 8.2.7 documentation.
You can install XenCenter 8.2.7 and XenCenter 2023.x.x on the same system. Installing XenCenter 2023.x.x does not overwrite your XenCenter 8.2.7 installation.
XenServer VM Tools (formerly Citrix VM Tools or XenServer PV Tools) provide high performance I/O services without the overhead of traditional device emulation.
XenServer VM Tools for Windows
XenServer VM Tools for Windows consist of I/O drivers (also known as paravirtualized drivers or PV drivers) and the Management Agent.
The I/O drivers contain storage and network drivers, and low-level management interfaces. These drivers replace the emulated devices and provide high-speed transport between Windows and the XenServer product family software. While installing a Windows operating system, XenServer uses traditional device emulation to present a standard IDE controller and a standard network card to the VM. This emulation allows the Windows installation to use built-in drivers, but with reduced performance due to the overhead inherent in emulating the controller drivers.
The Management Agent, also known as the Guest Agent, is responsible for high-level virtual machine management features and provides a full set of functions to XenCenter
Get the XenServer VM Tools for Windows installer from the XenServer downloads page.
The version of the XenServer VM Tools for Windows is updated independently of the version of XenServer. For more information about the latest version of the tools, see Updates to XenServer VM Tools for Windows.
Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows on each Windows VM for that VM to have a fully supported configuration, and to be able to use the xe CLI or XenCenter. A VM functions without the XenServer VM Tools for Windows, but performance is hampered when the I/O drivers are not installed. Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows on Windows VMs to be able to perform the following operations:
Cleanly shut down, reboot, or suspend a VM
View VM performance data in XenCenter
Migrate a running VM (using live migration or storage live migration)
Create snapshots with memory (checkpoints) or revert to snapshots
For more information, see Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows.
XenServer VM Tools for Linux
XenServer VM Tools for Linux contain a guest agent that provides extra information about the VM to the host.
Get the XenServer VM Tools for Linux installer from the XenServer downloads page.
Install the XenServer VM Tools for Linux on Linux VMs to be able to perform the following operations:
View VM performance data in XenCenter
Adjust the number of vCPUs on a running Linux VM
Enable dynamic memory control
You cannot use the Dynamic Memory Control (DMC) feature on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 VMs as Red Hat does not support memory ballooning with the Xen hypervisor.
For more information, see Install XenServer VM Tools for Linux.
To have a supported configuration when running a VM, ensure that you install XenServer VM Tools. While a Windows VM can function without them, performance is hampered when the I/O drivers are not installed. Run Windows VMs with these drivers to be supported. Some features, such as live relocation across physical hosts, are available only with the I/O drivers installed and active.
Finding out the virtualization state of a VM
XenCenter reports the virtualization state of a VM on the VM’s General tab. You can see whether XenServer VM Tools (I/O drivers and the Management Agent) are installed, and whether the VM can install and receive updates from Windows Update. The following section lists the messages displayed in XenCenter:
I/O optimized (not optimized) - displays whether the I/O drivers are installed on the VM.
Management Agent installed (not installed) - displays whether the latest version of the Management Agent is installed on the VM.
Able to (Not able to) receive updates from Windows Update - specifies whether the VM is able to receive I/O drivers from Windows Update.
Install I/O drivers and Management Agent - indicates that the VM does not have the I/O drivers or the Management Agent installed.
If you have many VMs on your server or a pool, select the server or pool on the Resources pane and select the Search tab. From the Saved Searches list, select VMs without XenServer VM Tools Installed. This search displays a list of VMs that do not have XenServer VM Tools installed.
Updating XenServer VM Tools
XenServer has a simpler mechanism to automatically update I/O drivers (PV drivers) and the Management Agent for Windows VMs. This mechanism enables customers to install updates as they become available, without having to wait for a hotfix.
The Virtualization state section on a VM’s General tab specifies whether the VM is able to receive updates from Windows Update. The mechanism to receive I/O driver updates from Windows Update is turned on by default. If you do not want to receive I/O driver updates from Windows Update, disable Windows Update on your VM, or specify a group policy.
If you are currently using the 8.2.x.x drivers or earlier and want to use the Management Agent MSI file to update to the latest version of the drivers, you must use Device Manager to uninstall the 8.2.x.x drivers from your VM before installing these drivers. If you do not complete this step, the MSI install process fails.
Ensure that all requested VM restarts are completed as part of the update. Multiple restarts might be required. If all requested restarts are not completed, this update might result in unexpected behavior.
You can get I/O driver updates automatically from Microsoft Windows Update, provided:
- You have created a Windows VM using XenCenter issued with XenServer 7.0 or later
- Windows Update is enabled within the VM
- You have access to the internet, or are able to connect to a WSUS proxy server
Customers can also receive I/O driver updates automatically through the automatic Management Agent update mechanism. See Updating the Management Agent for details.
XenServer enables you to automatically update the Management Agent on both new and existing Windows VMs. By default, XenServer allows the automatic updating of the Management Agent. However, it does not allow the Management Agent to update the I/O drivers automatically. You can customize the Management Agent update settings during XenServer VM Tools installation. For more information, see Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows. The automatic updating of the Management Agent occurs seamlessly, and does not reboot your VM. In scenarios where a VM reboot is required, XenCenter issues notification to users about the required action.
To update the Management Agent automatically:
- You must have installed XenServer VM Tools issued with XenServer 7.0 or later
- The Windows VM must be connected to the internet
Installing XenServer VM Tools causes any media in the VM’s CD/DVD-drive to be ejected. Do not attempt to install XenServer VM Tools if the virtual machine’s CD/DVD-drive is in use, for example, during OS install from CD.
Select the VM in the Resources pane, right-click, and then select Install XenServer VM Tools on the shortcut menu. Alternatively, on the VM menu, select Install XenServer VM Tools.
On the General tab of the VM, select Install I/O drivers and Management Agent.
When you install XenServer VM Tools on your VM, you are installing both I/O drivers (PV drivers) and the Management Agent.
- If AutoPlay is enabled for the VM’s CD/DVD drive, installation will start automatically after a few moments. The process installs the I/O drivers and the Management Agent. Restart the VM when prompted to get your VM to an optimized state.
If AutoPlay is not enabled, XenServer VM Tools installer displays the installation options. Click Install XenServer VM Tools to continue with the installation. This action mounts the XenServer VM Tools ISO (guest-tools.iso) on the VM’s CD/DVD drive.
When prompted, select one of the following options to choose what happens with the XenServer VM Tools ISO:
Click Run Setup.exe to begin XenServer VM Tools installation. This action opens the XenServer Windows Management Agent Setup wizard. Follow the instructions on the wizard to get your VM to an optimized state and perform any actions that are required to complete the installation process.
When you install XenServer VM Tools using this method, the Management Agent is configured to get updates automatically. However, the Management Agent update mechanism does not update the I/O drivers. This behavior is the default.
- Click Open folders to view files and then run Setup.exe from the CD drive. This option opens the XenServer Windows Management Agent Setup wizard and lets you customize the XenServer VM Tools installation and the Management Agent update settings.
- Follow the instructions on the wizard to accept the license agreement and choose a destination folder.
Customize your settings on the Installation and Updates Settings page. The XenServer Windows Management Agent Setup wizard displays the default settings. By default, the wizard:
- Installs the I/O drivers
- Allows automatic updating of the Management Agent
- Does not allow the Management Agent to update the I/O drivers automatically.
- Sends anonymous usage information to Citrix
If you do not want to allow the automatic updating of the Management Agent, select Disallow automatic management agent updates from the menu.
If you prefer to update the I/O drivers automatically by the Management Agent, select Allow automatic I/O driver updates by the management agent.
If you receive I/O driver updates through the Windows Update mechanism, we recommend that you do not allow the Management Agent to update the I/O drivers automatically.
If you do not want to share anonymous usage information with Citrix, clear the Send anonymous usage information to Citrix check box. The information transmitted to Citrix contains the UUID of the VM requesting the update. No other information relating to the VM is collected or transmitted to Citrix.
- Click Next and then Install to begin the installation process.
- When prompted, perform any actions that are required to complete the XenServer VM Tools installation process and click Finish to exit the setup wizard.
- If you prefer to install the I/O drivers and the Management Agent on many Windows VMs, install
managementagentx64.msiusing your preferred MSI installation tool. These files can be found on XenServer VM Tools ISO.
- I/O drivers are automatically installed on a Windows VM that can receive updates from Windows Update. However, we recommend that you install the XenServer VM Tools package to install the Management Agent and to maintain a supported configuration.
- Select the VM in the Resources pane, right-click, and then click Install XenServer VM Tools on the shortcut menu. Alternatively, on the VM menu, click Install XenServer VM Tools.
- Click Install XenServer VM Tools on the message dialog to go to the VM’s console.
As the root user, mount the image into the VM:
mount -o ro,exec /dev/disk/by-label/Citrix\\x20VM\\x20Tools /mnt <!--NeedCopy-->
If mounting the image fails, you can locate the image by running the command:
blkid -t LABEL="XenServer VM Tools"
Run the installation script as the root user:
Unmount the image from the guest by running the command:
umount /mnt <!--NeedCopy-->
- If the kernel has been upgraded, or the VM was upgraded from a previous version, reboot the VM now.
CD-ROM drives and ISOs attached to Linux VMs appear as
/dev/sdd in Ubuntu), rather than
/dev/cdrom. This naming is because they are not true CD-ROM devices, but normal devices. When XenCenter ejects the CD, it hot-unplugs the device from the VM and the device disappears. This behavior is different from Windows VMs, where the CD remains in the VM in an empty state.