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How to install XenServer in your home lab

In this article we’ll review the steps on how to install XenServer. In particular this setup is running as a nested VM inside VMware. In the previous article we have seen how to prepare the VMware Virtual Machine to use as a container for the Citrix XenServer Host.

For those who want to install XenServer on a physical hardware and use this one as an Hypervisor of choise I would recommend to visit this document about the configuration limits.

We are now ready to proceed with the next step about to install XenServer in our home lab.


How to install XenServer in your home lab

As soon as we Power On the VM the boot will load the console to install XenServer. Interestingly enough we can use advanced options to choose a different hardware or perform an upgrade.

domalab.com install XenServer nested VMware

Let’s specify the keyboard layout.

domalab.com install XenServer select keyboard

From this screen we have the option to either run a fresh install or upgrade an existing version. In addition we can also restore the system settings. If we are using a special type of storage (typically SCSI) which requires additional drivers we can use them here.

In this specific case the SCSI storage presented by the VM virtual hardware is a “standard one” so no need to specify any driver.

Let’s cleck ok and continue.

domalab.com install XenServer wizard

Let’s accept the EULA and continue.

domalab.com install XenServer EULA

Since we have added only one disk of 70 GB this is the one we can use to install XenServer. Of course it is possible to add more storage which we’ll use to run XenServer Virtual Machines.

In addition we can also enable the Thin Provisioning option to support XenDesktop storage.

domalab.com install XenServer select disk

sincce we have the ISO file mounted to install XenServer let’s go for the “Local Media” option and continue.

domalab.com install XenServer local media

Before continuing I would suggest to verify the install media to make sure the ISO file is not corrupted.

domalab.com install XenServer verify source

The process the verify the installation media is very quick and takes a few seconds to complete.

domalab.com install XenServer check media

The verification process completed successfully. We can now carry on with the install.

domalab.com install XenServer verification ok

We need to specify a password for the local “root” account. Later on when installing XenCenter we can also enable a Master password to manage multiple Hosts connected to the same XenCenter. More details on this topic in the next article.

domalab.com install XenServer root password

At this poit we can configure the network. Ideally It would be nice to have either multiple nics to diferentiate the tyep of traffic or use Vlans to logically separate traffic on the same broadcast domain. In our home lab for now we can use just one nic and add more later on as required.

Very importanlty I would suggest to pre-create  a DNS entries in the Forward and Reverse Zones with a static IP address to associate to the XenServer Host. This will make sure the DNS FQDN name resolution is working both ways as expected.

domalab.com install XenServer networking

At this point let’s specify a Hostname for the XenServer Host along with a list of DNS servers.

domalab.com install XenServer DNS

In the next screens we can configure the time zone. First we need to choose the Continent.

domalab.com install XenServer Time zone

and then the closest city to our location.

domalab.com install XenServer timezone

Another important aspect of course is the configuration for an NTP server.

domalab.com install XenServer NTP

There are plenty of free and public NTP servers we can use. The most popular of course are the ones available from ntp.org but the new ones from google are becoming popular as well.

domalab.com install XenServer NTP configuration

The wizard now has all the basic info to install XenServer.

domalab.com install XenServer install wizard

Again also in this case the installation process is quick and taking a few minutes in my home lab environment.

domalab.com install XenServer prepare installation

As a final option we have the ability to install Supplemental Packs to add for example special drivers or configurations that are vendors specific. For example when running the install of XenServer using their hardware.

domalab.com install XenServer supplemental packs

At this point the install of the XenSever Host is complete. all we have to do is to eject or disconnect the installation media from the VMware virtual machine and click to reboot the XenServer Host.

domalab.com install XenServer complete

In the next article we’ll review the options to configure XenServer Host.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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