Install

This section contains procedures to guide you through the installation, configuration, and initial operation of XenServer. It also contains information about troubleshooting problems that might occur during installation and points you to extra resources.

This information is primarily aimed at system administrators who want to set up XenServer hosts on physical servers.

XenServer installs directly on bare-metal hardware avoiding the complexity, overhead, and performance bottlenecks of an underlying operating system. It uses the device drivers available from the Linux kernel. As a result, XenServer can run on a wide variety of hardware and storage devices. However, Citrix recommends that you use certified device drivers. For more information, see the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).

Important:

The XenServer host must be installed on a dedicated 64-bit x86 server. Do not install any other operating system in a dual-boot configuration with the XenServer host. This configuration is not supported.

Before you start

Before installing XenServer 7.6, consider the following factors:

  • Which release stream of XenServer do you want to use?

  • What is the appropriate installation method?

  • What are the system requirements?

XenServer release streams

XenServer releases are in one of following release streams: Current Release (CR) or Long Term Service Release (LTSR). XenServer 7.6 is a Current Release. When you choose whether to install a version of XenServer from the CR stream or the LTSR stream, consider the following:

  • How often do you want to update your version of XenServer?
  • Do you prefer a stable feature set or the latest feature set?

Current Release

Current Releases of XenServer enable you to consume new features at the earliest possible opportunity. New versions of XenServer from the CR stream are released each quarter. If you are on the CR stream, you must regularly adopt new CRs to remain in support. Most issues discovered in XenServer CR are fixed in a subsequent current release. Security issues are fixed in hotfixes that can be applied to the CR.

If you have XenServer 7.5 or 7.4 installed, you must update to XenServer 7.6 to continue to receive support.

Long Term Service Release

Long Term Service Releases of XenServer guarantee stability in terms of the feature set within XenServer. New versions of XenServer from the LTSR stream are released every two years and are supported for up to 10 years. Any issues in XenServer LTSR are fixed in hotfixes or cumulative updates that can be applied to the XenServer LTSR.

If you currently have XenServer 7.1 Cumulative Update 1 LTSR installed, you can upgrade to the XenServer Current Release stream to take advantage of its new features.

Installation methods

XenServer 7.6 is in two forms:

  • As an update that can be applied to the previous CR of XenServer
  • As a base installation that can be used to upgrade an earlier version of XenServer or to create a fresh installation

The file that you use to get XenServer 7.6 depends on the existing version XenServer that is installed.

Existing version of XenServer How to get XenServer 7.6 ISO File to use
None Fresh installation Base Installation ISO
7.5, 7.4 Update Updates ISO
7.1 Cumulative Update 1, 7.0 Upgrade Base Installation ISO

Fresh installation

If you are creating a fresh installation of XenServer 7.6:

Update

If you are updating a previous current release of XenServer 7.4 or 7.5 to XenServer 7.6:

Upgrade

If you are upgrading from XenServer 7.1 Cumulative Update 1 or 7.0 to XenServer 7.6:

Install locations

Install the XenServer host by using one of the following methods:

  • From a CD

    You can download the installer (ISO file format) and burn it to a CD. To download the installer, visit the XenServer Downloads page.

    The main installation file contains the basic packages required to set up XenServer on your host and install XenCenter on your Windows computer.

  • Set up a network-accessible TFTP server to boot.

    For details about setting up a TFTP server to boot the installer using network, see Network Boot Installation.

  • Install XenServer to a remote disk on a SAN to enable boot from SAN

    For details, see Boot From SAN.

Supplemental packs

You can install any required supplemental pack after installing XenServer. Download the supplemental pack (filename.iso) to a known location on your computer and install the supplemental pack in the same way as an update. For more information, see Supplemental Packs and the DDK Guide.

Upgrades

The installer presents the option to upgrade when it detects a previously installed version of XenServer. The upgrade process follows the first-time installation process, but several setup steps are bypassed. The existing settings are retained, including networking configuration, system time and so on.

Important:

Upgrading requires careful planning and attention. For detailed information about upgrading individual XenServer hosts and pools, see Upgrading from an existing version of XenServer.

Install the XenServer host

Tip:

Throughout the installation, quickly advance to the next screen by pressing F12. Use Tab to move between elements and Space or Enter to select. Press F1 for general help.

Warning:

Installing XenServer overwrites data on any hard drives that you select to use for the installation. Back up data that you want to preserve before proceeding.

To install or upgrade the XenServer host:

  1. Boot the computer from the installation CD or, if applicable, network-boot from your TFTP server.

  2. Following the initial boot messages and the Welcome to XenServer screen, select your keymap (keyboard layout) for the installation.

    Note:

    If a System Hardware warning screen is displayed and hardware virtualization assist support is available on your system, see your hardware manufacturer for BIOS upgrades.

  3. The Welcome to XenServer Setup screen is displayed.

    XenServer ships with a broad driver set that supports most modern server hardware configurations. However, if you have been provided with any additional essential device drivers, press F9. The installer steps you through installing the necessary drivers.

    Warning:

    Only update packages containing driver disks can be installed at this point in the installation process. However, you are prompted later in the installation process to install any update packages containing supplemental packs.

    After you have installed all of the required drivers, select OK to proceed.

    XenServer enables customers to configure the XenServer installation to boot from FCoE. Press F10 and follow the instructions displayed on the screen to set up FCoE.

    Note:

    Before enabling your XenServer host to boot from FCoE, manually complete the configuration required to expose a LUN to the host. This manual configuration includes configuring the storage fabric and allocating LUNs to the public world wide name (PWWN) of your SAN. After you complete this configuration, the available LUN is mounted to the CNA of the host as a SCSI device. The SCSI device can then be used to access the LUN as if it were a locally attached SCSI device. For information about configuring the physical switch and the array to support FCoE, see the documentation provided by the vendor.

    When you configure the FCoE fabric, do not use VLAN 0. The XenServer host cannot find traffic that is on VLAN 0.

    Warning:

    Occasionally, booting a XenServer host from FCoE SAN using software FCoE stack can cause the host to stop responding. This issue is caused by a temporary link disruption in the host initialization phase. If the host fails to respond for a long time, you can restart the host to work around this issue.

  4. The XenServer EULA is displayed. Use the Page Up and Page Down keys to scroll through and read the agreement. Select Accept EULA to proceed.

  5. Select the appropriate action. You might see any of the following options:

    • Perform clean installation

    • Upgrade: If the installer detects a previously installed version of XenServer, it offers the option to upgrade. For information about upgrading your XenServer host, see Upgrading from an existing version of XenServer.

    • Restore: If the installer detects a previously created backup installation, it offers the option to restore XenServer from the backup.

    Make your selection, and choose OK to proceed.

  6. If you have multiple local hard disks, choose a Primary Disk for the installation. Select OK.

  7. Choose which disks you want to use for virtual machine storage. Information about a specific disk can be viewed by pressing F5.

    If you want to use thin provisioning to optimize the use of available storage, select Enable thin provisioning. This option selects the local SR of the host to be the one to be used for the local caching of VM VDIs. Citrix Virtual Desktops users are recommended to select this option for local caching to work properly. For more information, see Storage.

    Choose OK.

  8. Select your installation media source.

    To install from a CD, choose Local media. To install by using network, select HTTP or FTP or NFS. Choose OK to proceed.

    If you select HTTP or FTP or NFS, set up networking so that the installer can connect to the XenServer installation media files:

    1. If the computer has multiple NICs, select one of them to be used to access the XenServer installation media files. Choose OK to proceed.

    2. Choose Automatic configuration (DHCP) to configure the NIC using DHCP, or Static configuration to configure the NIC manually. If you choose Static configuration, enter details as appropriate.

    3. Provide VLAN ID if you have your installation media present in a VLAN network.

    4. If you choose HTTP or FTP, provide the URL for your HTTP or FTP repository, and a user name and password, if appropriate.

      If you choose NFS, provide the server and path of your NFS share.

      Select OK to proceed.

  9. Indicate if you want to verify the integrity of the installation media. If you select Verify installation source, the SHA256 checksum of the packages is calculated and checked against the known value. Verification can take some time. Make your selection and choose OK to proceed.

  10. Set and confirm a root password, which XenCenter uses to connect to the XenServer host. You also use this password (with user name “root”) to log into xsconsole, the system configuration console.

  11. Set up the primary management interface that is used to connect to XenCenter.

    If your computer has multiple NICs, select the NIC which you want to use for management. Choose OK to proceed.

  12. Configure the Management NIC IP address by choosing Automatic configuration (DHCP) to configure the NIC using DHCP, or Static configuration to configure the NIC manually. To have the management interface on a VLAN network, provide the VLAN ID.

    Note:

    To be part of a pool, XenServer hosts must have static IP addresses or be DNS addressable. When using DHCP, ensure that a static DHCP reservation policy is in place.

  13. Specify the hostname and the DNS configuration, manually or automatically via DHCP.

    In the Hostname Configuration section, select Automatically set via DHCP to have the DHCP server provide the hostname along with the IP address. If you select Manually specify, enter the hostname for the server in the field provided.

    Note:

    If you manually specify the hostname, enter a short hostname and not the fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Entering an FQDN can cause external authentication to fail, or the XenServer host might be added to AD with a different name.

    In the DNS Configuration section, choose Automatically set via DHCP to get name service configuration using DHCP. If you select Manually specify, enter the IP addresses of your primary (required), secondary (optional), and tertiary (optional) DNS servers in the fields provided.

    Select OK to proceed.

  14. Select your time zone by geographical area and city. You can type the first letter of the desired locale to jump to the first entry that begins with this letter. Choose OK to proceed.

  15. Specify how you want the server to determine local time: using NTP or manual time entry. Make your selection, and choose OK to proceed.

  16. If using NTP, select NTP is configured by my DHCP server or enter at least one NTP server name or IP address in the fields below. Choose OK.

    Note:

    XenServer assumes that the time setting in the BIOS of the server is the current time in UTC.

  17. Select Install XenServer.

    If you elected to set the date and time manually, you are prompted to do so during the installation. Once set, choose OK to proceed.

  18. If you are installing from CD, the next screen asks if you want to install any supplemental packs from a CD. If you plan to install any supplemental packs provided by your hardware supplier, choose Yes.

    If you choose to install supplemental packs, you are prompted to insert them. Eject the XenServer installation CD, and insert the supplemental pack CD. Choose OK.

    Select Use media to proceed with the installation.

    Repeat for each pack to be installed.

  19. From the Installation Complete screen, eject the installation CD (if installing from CD) and select OK to reboot the server.

    After the server reboots, XenServer displays xsconsole, a system configuration console. To access a local shell from xsconsole, press Alt+F3; to return to xsconsole, press Alt+F1.

    Note:

    Make note of the IP address displayed. Use this IP address when you connect XenCenter to the XenServer host.

Install XenCenter

XenCenter must be installed on a Windows machine that can connect to the XenServer host through your network. Ensure that .NET framework version 4.6 or above is installed on this system.

The XenCenter installation media is bundled with the XenServer installation media. You can also download the latest version of XenCenter from the XenServer Download page.

To install XenCenter:

  1. Before installing XenCenter, be sure to uninstall any previous version.

  2. Launch the installer.

    If installing from the XenServer installation CD:

    1. Insert the CD into the DVD drive of the computer which you want to run XenCenter.

    2. Open the client_install folder on the CD. Double-click XenCenter.msi to begin the installation.

  3. Follow the Setup wizard, which allows you to modify the default destination folder and then to install XenCenter.

Connect XenCenter to the XenServer host

To connect XenCenter to the XenServer host:

  1. Launch XenCenter. The program opens to the Home tab.

  2. Click the Add New Server icon.

  3. Enter the IP address of the XenServer host in the Server field. Type the root user name and password that you set during XenServer installation. Click Add.

  4. The first time you add a host, the Save and Restore Connection State dialog box appears. This dialog enables you to set your preferences for storing your host connection information and automatically restoring host connections.

    If you later want to change your preferences, you can do so using XenCenter or the Windows Registry Editor.

    To do so in XenCenter: from the main menu, select Tools and then Options. The Options dialog box opens. Select the Save and Restore tab and set your preferences. Click OK to save your changes.

    To do so using the Windows Registry Editor, navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\XenCenter and add a key named AllowCredentialSave with the string value true or false.