Managing Containers

Citrix Hypervisor includes the following features to enhance deployments of Docker Containers on Citrix Hypervisor:

  • Support for CoreOS Linux VMs and configuring Cloud Config Drives
  • Container Management for CoreOS, Debian 8, and RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux 7
  • Container Management for Windows Server Containers on Windows Server 2016

CoreOS is a minimalist Linux distribution which has become popular for hosting Docker™ applications. CoreOS Cloud Config Drive allows the customization of various operating system configuration options. When Container Management is enabled on a VM, Citrix Hypervisor becomes aware of any Docker containers running in the VM.

Install the Container Management Supplemental Pack available from the Citrix Hypervisor Download page to enable Citrix Hypervisor to:

  • query the VMs to interact with Cloud Config Drives
  • discover the application containers running on each VM and display these containers within XenCenter’s Infrastructure view

XenCenter enables interaction with the containers and allows users to perform container lifecycle operations, access the container console, view logs, and provides other performance monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. However, you must meet the requirements documented in the following section to manage containers using XenCenter.

Network requirements

For Container Management to work, managed VMs must be reachable from Citrix Hypervisor Control Domain (dom0). Depending on the guest OS, the networking topology and firewalls must allow outbound SSH (port 22) or Docker TLS (port 2376) connections from dom0 to container-managed VMs.


For detailed information about container management network requirements and security, see Container management.

To manage Docker containers using XenCenter (for CoreOS VMs)

  1. Install the XenCenter build shipped with the version of Citrix Hypervisor or XenServer you are using, or higher.
  2. Install the Container Management Supplemental pack.
  3. Create a CoreOS VM and include a config drive for the VM. For more information about config drive, see Cloud-Config Parameters.
  4. Enable container management for the VM. You can update this setting on the VM’s Properties tab. For more information, see Change VM Properties.

To use Debian 8, RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux 7, Windows Server 2016 VMs to manage Docker containers, first enable container management by using the CLI. Once the container management is enabled on these VMs, you can use XenCenter to perform lifecycle operations such as start, stop, pause, and resume the containers.

For information about configuring Debian 8, RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux 7, Windows Server 2016 VMs for container management, see Container management.

To access Docker container console and logs

For Linux VMs, XenCenter enables customers to access the container console and view logs to manage and monitor applications running on Docker containers. To access the container console and logs:

  1. Select the container on the Resources pane.
  2. On the Container General Properties section, select View Console to view the container console. To see the console logs, select View Log.

    This action opens an SSH client on the machine running XenCenter.

  3. When prompted, log into the SSH client using the VM user name and password.


    Customers can automate the authentication process by configuring their public/private SSH keys. See the section Automating the authentication process for details.

Automating the authentication process (optional)

When accessing the container console and logs, customers are required to enter the login credentials of the VM to authenticate SSH connections. However, customers can automate the authentication process to avoid entering the credentials manually. To configure the automatic authentication process, complete the following steps:

  1. Generate a public/private key pair.
  2. Add the public SSH key to the user directory on the VM running the container.

    For example, for containers running on a CoreOS VM, add the public key to the Cloud-Config Parameters section on the VM’s General tab in XenCenter. For more information, see Cloud-Config Parameters. For RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux 7 and Debian 8, manually add the public key to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys.

  3. Add the private SSH key to the %userprofile% directory on the machine running XenCenter and rename the key as ContainerManagement.ppk.
Managing Containers