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XEN Laptops & Desktops Driver Download

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Which OSes run on Xen Project?

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To achieve such high performance, Xen Project requires that OSes are ported to run on it.

See Xen Dom 0 Kernels and Xen Project Dom U support

Does Xen Project support Microsoft Windows?

The paravirtualized approach we use to get such high performance has not been usable directly for Windows to date. However Xen 3.0 added Intel VT-x support to enable the running of unmodified guest operating systems, including Windows XP & 2003 Server, using hardware virtualization technology. Xen 3.0.2 and later support AMD Pacifica technology as well. Check to see if your CPU is among the list of HVM Compatible Processors, and if your motherboard is among the list of HVM Compatible Motherboards.

XEN Laptops & Desktops Driver downloadXEN Laptops & Desktops Driver Download

(Note: This does not necessarily mean, that just about _any_ OS runs in HVM Mode! Reports vary about getting *BSD to work in HVM mode, on the Mailing List there's only 1 success for OpenBSD (http://www.openbsd-france.org/ml/archives/msg02494.html), no success message for the others, but some problem reports)

Does Xen Project run on laptops?

The Xen Project hypervisor will typically run on laptops.

Which architectures does Xen Project support?

Xen Project currently runs on the x86, x86_64 and ARM architectures. As of Xen 4.3 Xen requires at least x86 64-bit for the hypervisor. Xen used to be supported on IA64 (Itanium) but that support was dropped as of Xen 4.2 and Linux v3.14. On x86 Xen Project requires a 'P6' or newer processor (that's any Intel or AMD x86 CPU purchased in the last seven years). Multiprocessor and multicore machines are supported, including support for Hyper-Threading (SMT). Support for x86/64 is available since Xen 3.0. We hope to add other architectures such as PPC.

32bit and 64bit

The 32bit and 64bit questions are many and more complex than you might think. Things can be 32bit, 32bit PAE or 64bit. There is the hardware, the xen hypervisor, the dom0 kernel and userland and the domU kernel and userland.

32bit PAE Hypervisor
32bit PAE PV DomUYes
64bit PV DomUNo
32bit HVM DomUYes
64bit HVM DomUNo

Which VGA Adaptors work with VGA pass-through?

There is a community maintained list at Xen VGA Passthrough Tested Adapters.

Do the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers work with Xen Project?

A few people claim to be able to use them (mostly on older kernels), but for many more folks, they appear to be problematic. Until someone comes up with a real solution to the problem, it is safer to stay with the Open Source drivers (which do work, but have lower performance).

In some sense, the issue with any proprietary video driver is 'Does it support Xen Project?' rather than 'Does Xen Project support the driver?' The proprietary driver provider is the only one who has all the information to make the driver work. The project is happy to get it working if we can, but we don't have knowledge about what's hidden behind the proprietary curtain.

Is Xen Project 4.x incompatible with Xen 3.x

No. The 4.x version was just a version bump and had no more impact on compatibility than any other new version of Xen. See Xen Project Version Compatibility for more information on compatibility between versions of Xen Project software.

Where do I find more Compatibility related FAQs?

See Xen_Common_Problems#Compatibility

Retrieved from 'https://wiki.xenproject.org/index.php?title=Xen_Project_FAQ_Compatibility&oldid=14937'

Updated: August 15, 2012

I think you will find this article extremely unusual and yet fun. First of all, I did write about the Citrix XenServer in the past, namely how to install and configure it. All in all, the operation was a no-brainer, especially since XenServer is a basis for the free XCP, which comes with similar capabilities. However, I did not linger much beyond the initial setup.

Today, I will show you how to install XenServer one more time, on a laptop no less, being fully aware that laptops are not exactly meant to be the typical hardware for bare-metal hypervisors. Moreover, I will show you how you can manage the server from the command line using SSH as well as XenCenter, a GUI much like VMware vSphere. I will also show you how to manage ISO repositories, and we will even add a CIFS share. All of this on a box with SSD, VT and even VT-d, so it's going to be really awesome. Plus, there's another tutorial coming soon, so stay tuned. Now, follow me.

Test box

My victim for the installation is my brand-newish T400 laptop, which comes with a handsome array of goodies. In the desktop world, it's a respectable machine, but it's a joke for anything serious. Without at least 8 physical cores and some 72GB RAM, we shouldn't be talking at all. However, it has some muscle, including SSD for local storage and the full array of virtualization extensions. Before using the machine for distro testing, I decided to give it a spin with XenServer.

Installation

The installation was identical to my previous attempt, so I will not bore you with any useless details. No screenshots either, as I did not bother redoing the installation cycle in another virtualization product, so I could demonstrate the different steps. All in all, it was a quick and painless procedure.

The interesting bits include XenServer/laptop interaction. First, XenServer comes with RedHat 5.1, so it's a relatively old release, but just as capable as any other. It had no problem detecting the SSD. Furthermore, when running in the battery mode, it would also automatically dim the display, and all the function buttons worked. But there was no Wireless connectivity, nor should there be one, as no one sane would ever manage their virtualization products without a wired network connection.

Manage XenServer

Now, to manage XenServer, you can try all kinds of things. First, there's the physical console itself on the box, which will show in a blue ncurses menu. You can also drop to local shell and run things there. You can SSH into the box from another machine and work on the command line or even fire the red-colored ncurses menu.

XenCenter

Or you can try XenCenter. The download for this utility is available if you access the XenServer via HTTP in a browser. Unfortunately, the installer is only available for Windows, but this kind of stands to logic, as you would expect Windows users to be more oriented toward GUI work.

The installation is fairly trivial. And soon you will be running a simple GUI that is quite self-evident and explanatory in what it can do. If you've worked with other solutions, you will know your way around defining storage pools, virtual machines, etc.

Your first step is to add a server and connect to it using name or IP address.

Now, let's install a machine.

Install and configure virtual machine

Well, I wanted to see how flexible and useful and intuitive this GUI manager is, so I decided to create a virtual machine. This also means adding some sort of ISO repository, as I didn't want to have to boot from physical DVD media. XenServer supports multiple types of storage repositories (SR), but not local ones. This stands to logic, but we will talk about this separately, i.e. how to configure local storage repositories on the server.

Configure storage repository

I went for a CIFS share, meaning a Windows box. It worked smoothly and without any problems. I just had to provide the server name and share and connect with the correct user and password.

Create VM

Next, I tried to create a virtual machine. Again, it's a no brainer. Click, click, next, next, utterly simple. You can also use templates, although XenCenter offers those for somewhat older releases of operating systems. For example, Lucid was there, but not Pangolin, which stands to logic, as businesses are much slower to adopt new things.

I did try to use the Lucid template first, but then it would not let me use the 12.04 image, so I had to redo this step and choose a custom template.

Then, there's the storage configuration. Pay attention, as you might find this step a little confusing. It will first ask you which server you want to use, and it will show your own hypervisor. But you might find the free space figure shown somewhat alarming. The reason is, that free space is reserved for the server's logging functionality and similar, which most of the disk capacity is taken by LVM, which is not shown there. This only becomes apparent after you get to the the Storage step, where you define virtual disks for your machine. It will be stored locally, although you can use other storage repositories. Somewhat tricky overall.

You can tweak your configuration a little, but essentially that's all. After this step is complete, the virtual machine will be auto-started. You can then switch to the console view and check the progress.

And while you're using the virtual machine, you can do all the usual things you're familiar with from every other virtualization product - snapshots and screenshots, dock/undock the console window, send signals, check client state and resource usage, and all that. And you can also install XenServer Tools to improve client performance.

Xen Laptops & Desktops Driver Downloads

Other interesting things

Citrix Xen Download

XenServer comes with some rather useful options. First, it will display system alerts on critical issues, like software updates. It will also warn you about the server certificate changing, especially after an upgrade or a reinstall.

Xen Virtual Desktop

XenServer also allows the use of plugins, which can enhance the functionality of your machine. And there's more. In fact, the XenCenter GUI is extremely rich and can be somewhat daunting on first use. You will have to go carefully through all the available options until you figure out the hidden gems and secrets and find the things you might need for your operational deployment.

For more reading, please take a look below:

Conclusion

My second encounter with XenServer was much more pleasant and successful than the first one, even though the first one worked just as fine. XenServer seems like a very potent product, the only problem is price and support. Does it justify all that it can offer in return for some money investment, while you fully well know that all of the functionality is available from the raw Xen command line, it just takes practice and skill?

I cannot answer that, as XenServer is designed for businesses and not home users. All in all, it looks professional and capable, and XenCenter adds that enterprise flair that makes admins used to work with GUI only warm up to the charms of Xen. I do lament the Windows only functionality, however with full and unrestricted SSH, all is well.

That would be all. Next time, we will do some local storage repo hacks.

XEN Laptops & Desktops Driver Download

Cheers.