XenServer

Install

XenServer installs directly on bare-metal hardware avoiding the complexity, overhead, and performance bottlenecks of an underlying operating system.

XenServer uses the device drivers available from the Linux kernel. As a result, XenServer can run on a wide variety of hardware and storage devices. However, ensure that you use certified device drivers. For more information, see the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).

Important:

The XenServer host must be installed on a dedicated 64-bit x86 server. Do not install any other operating system in a dual-boot configuration with the XenServer host. This configuration is not supported.

This section is primarily aimed at system administrators who want to set up XenServer hosts on physical servers. It contains procedures to guide you through the installation or upgrade process. It also contains information about troubleshooting problems that might occur during installation and points you to extra resources.

Before you start

Before installing XenServer 8, consider the following factors:

  • What is the appropriate installation method?

  • What are the system requirements?

Installation methods

XenServer 8 can be installed in one of the following ways:

Fresh installation

If you are creating a fresh installation of XenServer 8:

Upgrade

If you are upgrading from Citrix Hypervisor 8.2 Cumulative Update 1 to XenServer 8:

The installer presents the option to upgrade when it detects a previously installed version of XenServer. The upgrade process follows the first-time installation process, but several setup steps are bypassed. The existing settings are retained, including networking configuration, system time and so on.

You cannot upgrade directly from out-of-support versions of XenServer or Citrix Hypervisor to XenServer 8. Instead, perform a fresh installation.

Supported boot modes

XenServer supports booting hosts using either UEFI or BIOS boot mode. UEFI Secure Boot is not currently available for XenServer hosts.

Note:

Booting XenServer hosts in BIOS mode is now deprecated. You can still install your XenServer 8 hosts in BIOS boot mode. However, doing so can prevent you from upgrading your XenServer 8 hosts to a future version of XenServer. We recommend that you install your XenServer 8 hosts by using UEFI boot mode.

The server boot mode changes how you initiate the installation process. After the installer starts, the installation process is the same for both boot modes.

Install the XenServer host

This procedure takes you through doing a manual installation from local media. For information about other types of installation - such as network installation, unattended installation, or boot from SAN, see Other installation scenarios.

Tip:

Throughout the installation, quickly advance to the next screen by pressing F12. Use the Tab key to move between elements and Space or Enter to select. Press F1 for general help.

To install a XenServer host:

  1. Back up any data you want to preserve. Installing XenServer overwrites data on any hard drives that you select to use for the installation.
  2. Boot the computer from the installation media:

    • To install XenServer host from a bootable USB:

      1. Use a tool like rufus or diskpart to create a bootable USB from the XenServer installation ISO. Ensure that the tool does not alter the contents of the ISO file.
      2. Insert the bootable USB drive into the target system.
      3. Restart the system.
      4. Go into the boot menu.
      5. Change the settings to boot the system from the USB.

        (If necessary, see your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing the boot order)

    • To install XenServer host from a CD/DVD:

      1. Burn the XenServer installation ISO file to a CD/DVD.
      2. Insert the bootable CD/DVD into the CD/DVD drive on the target system.
      3. Restart the system.
      4. Go into the boot menu.
      5. Change the settings to boot the system from the CD/DVD.

        (If necessary, see your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing the boot order)

    • To install XenServer host from virtual media:

      1. Go to the virtual console of your system.
      2. Insert the XenServer installation ISO file as virtual media.
      3. Restart the system.
      4. Go into the boot menu.
      5. Change the settings to boot the system from the virtual media.

        (If necessary, see your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing the boot order)

    • For information about network installation, see Other installation scenarios.

  3. Following the initial boot messages and the Welcome to XenServer screen, select your key map (keyboard layout) for the installation.

    Note:

    If a System Hardware warning screen is displayed and hardware virtualization assist support is available on your system, see your hardware manufacturer for BIOS upgrades.

  4. At the Welcome to XenServer Setup screen, XenServer offers the following options:

    • To load a device driver press <F9>

      XenServer ships with a broad driver set that supports most modern server hardware configurations. However, you might need to apply driver disks (a type of supplemental pack) in order to be able to perform the XenServer installation. If you have been provided with any additional essential device drivers, press F9. The installer steps you through loading the necessary drivers.

      Warning:

      You cannot install other types of supplemental packs at this point in the installation process. You can install them along with additional driver disks near the end of the installation process.

    • To set up advanced storage classes press <F10>

      If you have done the necessary configuration in your network infrastructure, you can configure the XenServer installation to boot from software FCoE (deprecated). Press F10 and follow the instructions displayed on the screen to set up software FCoE. For more information, see Other installation scenarios.

    After you have completed any steps you require on this page, select OK to proceed.

  5. Scroll through and read the XenServer End User Agreement (EUA). Select Accept EUA to proceed.

    If you choose not to accept the EUA, you cannot continue with the installation.

  6. Select the appropriate action from the list. This list always includes:

    • Perform clean installation: Choose this option to continue with a fresh installation.

    Depending on the state of your server, you might also see the following options:

    • Upgrade: If the installer detects a previously installed version of XenServer or Citrix Hypervisor, it offers the option to upgrade. For information about upgrading your XenServer host, see Upgrading from an existing version.

    • Restore: If the installer detects a previously created backup installation, it offers the option to restore XenServer from a backup.

    Make your selection, and choose OK to proceed.

  7. If you have multiple local hard disks, choose a primary disk for the installation. Select OK.

  8. Choose which disks that you want to use for virtual machine storage. View information about a specific disk by pressing F5.

    If you want to use thin provisioning to optimize the use of available storage, select Enable thin provisioning. This option selects the local SR of the host to be the one to be used for the local caching of VM VDIs. Citrix Virtual Desktops and DaaS users are recommended to select this option for local caching to work properly. For more information, see Storage.

    Choose OK.

  9. Select your installation media source.

    • To install from a USB, CD, or virtual media, select Local media.
    • To install from the network, select HTTP or FTP or NFS.

    Select OK to proceed.

  10. If you select HTTP or FTP or NFS in the previous step, set up networking so that the installer can connect to the XenServer installation media files:

    1. If the computer has multiple NICs, select one of them to be used to access the XenServer installation media files. Choose OK to proceed.

    2. Choose Automatic configuration (DHCP) to configure the NIC using DHCP, or Static configuration to configure the NIC manually. If you choose Static configuration, enter details as appropriate.

    3. Provide VLAN ID if you have your installation media present in a VLAN network.

    4. If you choose HTTP or FTP, provide the URL for your HTTP or FTP repository, and a user name and password, if appropriate.

      If you choose NFS, provide the server and path of your NFS share.

    5. Choose OK to proceed.

    For more information about setting up your installation media on NFS, FTP, or HTTP, see Other installation scenarios.

  11. Indicate if you want to verify the integrity of the installation media. If you select Verify installation source, the SHA256 checksum of the packages is calculated and checked against the known value. Verification can take some time. Make your selection and choose OK to proceed.

  12. Set and confirm a root password, which XenCenter uses to connect to the XenServer host. You also use this password (with user name “root”) to log into xsconsole, the system configuration console.

    Note:

    XenServer root passwords must contain only ASCII characters.

  13. Set up the primary management interface that XenCenter uses to connect to and manage the host.

    If your computer has multiple NICs, select the NIC that you want to use for management. Choose OK to proceed.

  14. Configure the management interface with the following options:

    • Choose Automatic configuration (DHCP) to configure the NIC using DHCP.
    • Choose Static configuration to configure the NIC manually. Provide an IP address, subnet mask, and gateway.
    • Select Use VLAN to have the management interface on a VLAN network. Provide the VLAN ID.

    Note:

    To be part of a pool, XenServer hosts must have static IP addresses or be DNS addressable. When using DHCP, ensure that a static DHCP reservation policy is in place.

  15. Specify the host name and the DNS configuration.

    1. In the Hostname Configuration section, select from the following options:

      • Choose Automatically set via DHCP to have the DHCP server provide the host name along with the IP address.
      • Choose Manually specify to define the host name yourself. Enter the host name for the server in the field provided.

    Note:

    If you manually specify the host name, enter a short host name and not the fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Entering an FQDN can cause external authentication to fail, or the XenServer host might be added to Active Directory with a different name.

    1. In the DNS Configuration section, select from the following options:

      • Choose Automatically set via DHCP to get name service configuration using DHCP.
      • Select Manually specify to define the DNS servers yourself. Enter the IP addresses of your primary (required), secondary (optional), and tertiary (optional) DNS servers in the fields provided.

    Select OK to proceed.

  16. Select your time zone by geographical area and city. You can type the first letter of the desired locale to jump to the first entry that begins with this letter. Choose OK to proceed.

  17. Specify how you want the XenServer host to determine local time. XenServer offers the following options:

    • Using NTP: Select this option to use the NTP protocol to set your server time. On the next screen, configure it in one of the following ways:

      • Select NTP is configured by my DHCP server to have your network provide the NTP server host name or IP address.

      • Manually enter at least one NTP server name or IP address.

      Choose OK to proceed.

    • Manual time entry: Select this option to set the date and time manually.

      On the next screen, enter the current time in UTC.

      Choose OK to proceed.

    Note:

    XenServer assumes that the time setting on the server is the current time in UTC.

    Choose OK to proceed.

  18. Select Install XenServer.

    The installation process starts. This process might take some minutes.

  19. The next screen asks if you want to install any supplemental packs (including driver disks).

    Note:

    If you have already loaded a driver disk during initial installation, you might be prompted to reinsert the driver disk so that the driver can be installed onto disk. At this point, reinsert the driver disk to ensure that your XenServer instance contains the new driver.

    • If you want to install any supplemental packs or driver disks provided by your hardware supplier, choose Yes.

      1. You are prompted to insert the supplemental pack. Eject the XenServer installation media, and insert the supplemental pack media.

      2. Choose OK.

      3. Select Use media to proceed with the installation.

      4. Repeat for each pack to be installed.

    • If you do not want to install a supplemental pack, choose No.

      The installation process completes. This process can take a few minutes.

  20. When prompted by the Installation Complete screen, eject the installation media (if installing from USB or CD).

  21. Select OK to reboot the host.

After the host reboots, XenServer displays xsconsole, a system configuration console. To access a local shell from xsconsole, press Alt+F3; to return to xsconsole, press Alt+F1.

Note:

Make note of the IP address displayed. Use this IP address when you connect XenCenter to the XenServer host.

Install XenCenter

XenCenter must be installed on a Windows machine that can connect to the XenServer host through your network. Ensure that .NET framework version 4.8 or above is installed on this system.

To install XenCenter:

  1. Download the installer for the latest version of XenCenter from the XenServer download page.

  2. Launch the installer .msi file.

  3. Follow the Setup wizard, which allows you to modify the default destination folder and then to install XenCenter.

For more information about using XenCenter, see XenCenter documentation.

Connect XenCenter to the XenServer host

To connect XenCenter to the XenServer host:

  1. Launch XenCenter. The program opens to the Home tab.

  2. Click the Add New Server icon.

  3. Enter the IP address of the XenServer host in the Server field. Type the root user name and password that you set during XenServer installation. Click Add.

  4. The first time you add a host, the Save and Restore Connection State dialog box appears. This dialog enables you to set your preferences for storing your host connection information and automatically restoring host connections.

    If you later want to change your preferences, you can do so from the XenCenter main menu, select Tools and then Options. The Options dialog box opens. Select the Save and Restore tab and set your preferences. Click OK to save your changes.

Install