Xen is a type 1, bare-metal virtual machine monitor (or hypervisor), which provides the ability to run one or more operating system instances on the same physical machine. Xen, like other types of virtualization, is useful for many use cases such as server consolidation and isolation of production and development environments (e.g. corporate and personal environments on the same system).

As of Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric), the default kernel included in Ubuntu can be used directly with the Xen hypervisor as the management (or control) domain (Dom0 or Domain0 in Xen terminology).

The rest of this guide gives a basic overview of how to set up a basic Xen system and create simple guests. Our example uses LVM for virtual disks and network bridging for virtual network cards. It also assumes Xen 4.1 (the version available in 12.10) and the xend toolstack. It assumes a familiarity with general virtualization issues, as well as with the specific Xen terminology. Please see the Xen wiki for more information.

During installation of Ubuntu

During the install of Ubuntu for the Partitioning method choose "Guided - use the entire disk and setup LVM". Then, when prompted to enter "Amount of volume group to use for guided partitioning:" Enter a value just large enough for the Xen Dom0 system, leaving the rest for virtual disks. Enter a value smaller than the size of your installation drive. For example 10 GB or even 5 GB should be large enough for a minimal Xen Dom0 system. Entering a percentage of maximum size (e.g. 25%) is also a reasonable choice.

Installing Xen

Install a 64-bit hypervisor. (A 64-bit hypervisor works with a 32-bit dom0 kernel, but allows you to run 64-bit guests as well.)

sudo apt-get install xen-hypervisor-amd64

Modify GRUB to default to booting Xen:

sudo sed -i 's/GRUB_DEFAULT=.*\+/GRUB_DEFAULT="Xen 4.1-amd64"/' /etc/default/grub
sudo update-grub

Set the default toolstack to xm (aka xend):

sudo sed -i 's/TOOLSTACK=.*\+/TOOLSTACK="xm"/' /etc/default/xen

Now reboot:

sudo reboot

And then verify that the installation has succeeded:

sudo xm list
Name                                        ID   Mem VCPUs      State   Time(s)
Domain-0                                     0   945     1     r-----      11.3

Network Configuration

This section describes how to set up linux bridging in Xen. It assumes eth0 is both your primary interface to dom0 and the interface you want your VMs to use. It also assumes you're using DHCP.

sudo apt-get install bridge-utils

Note if you are working with a desktop install, disable Network Manager.

sudo update-rc.d network-manager disable
sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager stop

Edit /etc/network/interfaces, and make it look like this:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto xenbr0
iface xenbr0 inet dhcp
    bridge_ports eth0

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet manual

Restart networking to enable xenbr0 bridge:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

The brctl command is useful for providing addition bridge information. See: man brctl

Creating vms

There are many options for installing guest images:

Or you can manually create one, as described below.

Manually creating a PV Guest VM

In this section we will focus on Paravirtualized (or PV) guests. PV guests are guests that are made Xen-aware and therefore can be optimized for Xen.

As a simple example we'll create a PV guest in LVM logical volume (LV) by doing a network installation of Ubuntu (other distros such as Debian, Fedora, and CentOS can be installed in a similar way).

sudo pvs

choose your VG

create LV

sudo lvcreate -L 4G -n ubuntu /dev/<VG>

get netboot images

choose an archive mirror https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archivemirrors

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot
cd /var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot
sudo wget <mirror>/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/xen/initrd.gz
sudo wget <mirror>/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/xen/vmlinuz

With a specific mirror chosen:

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot
cd /var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot
sudo wget http://mirror.anl.gov/pub/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/xen/initrd.gz
sudo wget http://mirror.anl.gov/pub/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/xen/vmlinuz

Set up the initial guest configuration: /etc/xen/ubuntu.cfg

name = "ubuntu"

memory = 256

disk = ['phy:/dev/<VG>/ubuntu,xvda,w']
vif = [' ']

kernel = "/var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot/vmlinuz"
ramdisk = "/var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot/initrd.gz"
extra = "debian-installer/exit/always_halt=true -- console=hvc0"

Start the VM and connect to console (-c):

sudo xm create -c /etc/xen/ubuntu.cfg

Do the install.

Once installed, we can use pygrub as the bootloader.

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/xen-4.1/bin/pygrub /usr/bin/pygrub

Once the install is done, the VM will shutdown. Next change the guest config, /etc/xen/ubuntu.cfg:

name = "ubuntu"
memory = 256
disk = ['phy:/dev/<VG>/ubuntu64,xvda,w']
vif = [' ']

bootloader = "pygrub"

#kernel = "/var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot/amd64/vmlinuz"
#ramdisk = "/var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-netboot/amd64/initrd.gz"
#extra = "debian-installer/exit/always_halt=true -- console=hvc0"

Start the VM and connect to console (-c):

sudo xm create /etc/xen/ubuntu.cfg -c

Manually installing an HVM Guest VM

Download Install ISO.


sudo pvs

choose your VG

Create a LV

sudo lvcreate -L 4G -n ubuntu-hvm /dev/<VG>

Create a guest config file /etc/xen/ubuntu-hvm.cfg

builder = "hvm"
name = "ubuntu-hvm"
memory = "512"
vcpus = 1
vif = ['']
disk = ['phy:/dev/<VG>/ubuntu-hvm,hda,w','file:/root/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso,hdc:cdrom,r']
vnc = 1

xm create /etc/xen/ubuntu-hvm.cfg
vncviewer localhost:0 

After the install you can optionally remove the CDROM from the config and/or change the boot order.

For example /etc/xen/ubuntu-hvm.cfg:

builder = "hvm"
name = "ubuntu-hvm"
memory = "512"
vcpus = 1
vif = ['']
#disk = ['phy:/dev/<VG>/ubuntu-hvm,hda,w','file:/root/ubuntu-12.04-server-amd64.iso,hdc:cdrom,r']
disk = ['phy:/dev/<VG>/ubuntu-hvm,hda,w']
vnc = 1

Xen Toolstack Choices


Xen and xl

As of Xen 4.2, xend/xm will be deprecated. To test xl, do the following:

sudo sed -i 's/TOOLSTACK=.*\+/TOOLSTACK="xl"/' /etc/default/xen
sudo reboot
sudo /etc/init.d/xend stop
sudo xl list

xl and xm are very similar with a few notable exceptions: http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/XL

Xen and Libvirt

Make the following change to the xend configuration in /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp:

(xend-unix-server yes)

Restart xend:

/etc/init.d/xend restart

sudo apt-get install virtinst

sudo virt-install --name ubuntu --ram 256 --disk <path to LV or disk image> --location  http://mirror.clarkson.edu/fedora/linux/releases/16/Fedora/x86_64/os/

Xen and XAPI

Other tips and tricks

Create and format disk image file

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/xen/images
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-guest.img bs=1M seek=3096 count=0
sudo mkfs.ext4 -F /var/lib/xen/images/ubuntu-guest.img

See Also

External Links

XenProposed (last edited 2012-09-05 09:53:21 by keyz182)