Well fresh from my return from the Citrix iForum I decided to fire head long into installing XenServer in my home lab so I could have a look at it.
I already run VMware vSphere 4i on my home lab which consists of an HP Proliant ML115 G5. Instead of buying another machine to install Xenserver on or rebuilding my current vSphere server I thought I would try and install XenServer inside a virtual machine. As Eric Gray over at vCritical proved you can install vSphere 4 inside a vSphere 4 virtual machine so surely the same would be possible XenServer 5.5, shouldn’t it?
Well the screenshot below should prove exactly that, Xenserver 5.5 successfully running on vSphere 4i
So how did I conduct the install, well first of all I downloaded the ISO from Citrix’s website and then did the following.
1 - Create a Virtual Machine with custom settings.
2 - Select the new Virtual Machine version 7 hardware.
3 - Select Red Hat Enterprise Linux v5 (64-bit).
4 - 1 vCPU and 1GB of RAM will suffice.
5 - I used the LSI Logic Parallel SCSI Controller.
6 - Create a disk based between 20 – 30GB (less has caused issues, see comments below)
7 - Make it thin provisioned if you want, why wouldn’t you?
8 - Connect the ISO image to the VM and start it.
9 - Follow the prompts on screen to complete the install.
I only had one issue during install and that was when the following message appeared, I carried on installing XenServer and it completed without issue.
However when It came to starting up windows based Virtual Machines, like the message above indicated, I couldn’t. XenCenter showed the following error.
Basically because Windows requires the hardware virtualised assist features (Intel VT or AMD-V), hypervisor on top of hypervisor masks this underlying virtualisation assistance and hence Windows can’t operate. What I did manage to get up and running was virtual machines running Debian Lenny 5.0, so at least I had something to play about with and test out XenServer features such as live motion. Linux machines on XenServer start up in a para virtualised mode and are therefore supported where hardware virtualisation assist is not available.
check out the Debian Lenny based DreamLinux desktop edition, this should give you some VM’s to play within your virtualised XenServer environment.
So although I didn’t get XenServer operating like I wanted to in Vmware vSphere, I did get it working enough to play about with it and it’s features. To be honest that’s all I was after in the first place!!