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Virtualization With XenServer Express 5.0.0

This Howto covers the installation of XenServer Express 5.0.0 and the creation of virtual machines with the XenCenter administrator console. XenServer Express is the free virtualization platform from Citrix, the company behind the well known Xen virtualization engine. XenServer Express makes it easy to create, run and manage Xen virtual machines with the XenCenter administrator console. The XenServer Express installation CD contains a full Linux distribution which is customized to run XenServer Express.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

Take a look at the XenServer installation guide to find out if your system fulfills the minimum requirements. You must have a 64bit processor and at least 1GB RAM. Support for hardware virtualization in the CPU is not required if you want to run Linux guests, but a must if you want to run Windows guests.


2 Installing XenServer Express

Visit and click on the Get started now — Express Edition link to download XenServer Express 5.0.0. Follow the instructions and download the two ISO images XenServer-5.0.0-install-cd.iso (includes XenServer, XenCenter administration console installer) and XenServer-5.0.0-linux-cd.iso (includes templates and other tools required for support of Linux guests). Burn the ISO images on two CDs and boot from the XenServer-5.0.0-install-cd.iso CD (the installer will later on ask for the XenServer-5.0.0-linux-cd.iso CD).

Press ENTER:


Select your keyboard layout:


Select Install or upgrade XenServer Host:


Confirm that you wish to install XenServer (this is because all existing data on the hard drive will be erased by the installation):


Accept the XenServer license:


In case the server does not support the latest hardware virtualization techniques from Intel or AMD, you will get this screen. You will still be able to run various Linux distributions as virtual machines.


If you want to run virtualized versions of Linux only, this is fine. But Windows virtualization won’t work without hardware virtualization support.

Select Local media (CD-ROM) as installation media:


Now the installer asks you about the second CD you downloaded (the one with support for Linux guests). Select Yes to install support for Linux guests:


You can skip the media verification because it can take a long time:


Specify the root password. This password will later also be used to connect to the XenServer host from the XenCenter:


Specify your network configuration. As this is a server, it’s a good idea to specify a static IP address:


Next specify a hostname (you can as well leave the default one) and fill in up to three DNS servers (e.g. and


Now we come to the time zone configuration. Select your region…


.. and a city that is close to the server:


To make sure that the system time is accurate, you should choose Using NTP:


Fill in up to three NTP servers (e.g.


Select Install XenServer to finally start the installation to the hard drive:



During the installation you will be asked to insert the second CD (the one with support for Linux guests) if you have chosen to install the Linux pack earlier in the setup:


If you want to skip the media test of the second CD, select Use media right away:


Linux guest support is now being installed:


The XenServer Express setup is now finished. Remove the CD from the drive and reboot the system: 23

The XenServer host is now booting:


When the system has finished booting, you will see the following menu which you can use to manage the system, change configuration settings, shut down/reboot the system, etc. The default settings should be ok, so there’s no need to change anything right now, and you can start using XenServer Express right away.



3 Installing XenCenter Administrator Console

To create, run, and manage virtual machines, we can use the XenCenter administrator console which is a desktop application for Windows systems (please note that the .NET 2.0 framework must be installed on the Windows system) that connects to the XenServer Express host. The XenCenter installation file is in the folder client_install of the first XenServer Express CD (the one that contains XenServer-5.0.0-install-cd.iso). Insert that CD into a Windows system, navigate to that folder in Windows Explorer, and start the installation wizard:


The installation wizard will guide you through the installation:







This is how the XenCenter looks. To connect to the XenServer host, click on Add your XenServer


… and enter the hostname/IP address, the user name (root) and the root password:


If you want you can tell XenCenter to restore the connection to the XenServer host at each startup:


After the connection has been established, you can manage virtual machines on the Xen Server host.

4 Creating A Virtual Machine

This is a short example how you can create a virtual machine with XenCenter. Click on New VM:


The New VM wizard comes up. Select the guest operating system (e.g. Debian Etch):


Enter a name and description (optional) for the VM:


Specify the number of virtual CPUs and the amount of memory for the VM:


On the next page you can add or remove virtual network interfaces. Normally the default settings are ok:


Finally click on Finish. The VM will then be created on the XenServer host…


… and you can see a progress bar for the creation process in the lower right corner. The creation can take a few minutes, so please be patient.


Afterwards, the VM will boot automatically if you have chosen so at the end of the New VM wizard:


You should switch to the Console tab. At the end of the first boot process, you will be asked a few question in the console so that the VM gets configured to your likings:


You should switch to the Console tab. At the end of the first boot process, you will be asked a few question in the console so that the VM gets configured to your likings: