Installing Xen On CentOS 5.0 (i386)
Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Sun, 2007-06-10 16:52. :: CentOS | Xen | Virtualization
Installing Xen On CentOS 5.0 (i386)
This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Xen (version 3.0.3) on a CentOS 5.0 system (i386).
Xen lets you create guest operating systems (*nix operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD), so called "virtual machines" or domUs, under a host operating system (dom0). Using Xen you can separate your applications into different virtual machines that are totally independent from each other (e.g. a virtual machine for a mail server, a virtual machine for a high-traffic web site, another virtual machine that serves your customers' web sites, a virtual machine for DNS, etc.), but still use the same hardware. This saves money, and what is even more important, it's more secure. If the virtual machine of your DNS server gets hacked, it has no effect on your other virtual machines. Plus, you can move virtual machines from one Xen server to the next one.
I will use CentOS 5.0 (i386) for both the host OS (dom0) and the guest OS (domU).
This howto is meant as a practical guide; it does not cover the theoretical backgrounds. They are treated in a lot of other documents in the web.
This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!
1 Preliminary Note
I use the following partitions on my CentOS 5.0 host system (dom0):
I will create the virtual machines in the /vm directory; of course, you can use any other directory that has enough space left, and you don't have to create a partition of its own for it. If you use another directory, replace /vm with your own directory in this tutorial.
If you want to save your virtual machines in /vm, too, but haven't created a partition for it of if the directory /vm doesn't exist on your system, you can create it like this:
(Please note: You don't need a /boot partition, but then you have to keep in mind that the Grub stanzas I describe in this howto are slightly different. For example, when I write that I add
to /boot/grub/menu.lst then you should probably use
in that file instead...)
2 Installing Xen
To install Xen, we simply run
yum install kernel-xen xen
This installs Xen and a Xen kernel on our CentOS system. Afterwards, we can find our new Xen kernel (vmlinuz-2.6.18-8.1.4.el5xen) and its ramdisk (initrd-2.6.18-8.1.4.el5xen.img) in the /boot directory:
ls -l /boot/
[root@server1 ~]# ls -l /boot/
Before we can boot the system with the Xen kernel, we must tell the bootloader GRUB about it. We open /boot/grub/menu.lst:
and add the following stanza above all other kernel stanzas:
Then change the value of default to 0:
The complete /boot/grub/menu.lst should look something like this:
Afterwards, we reboot the system:
shutdown -r now
The system should now automatically boot the new Xen kernel. After the system has booted, we can check that by running
[root@server1 ~]# uname -r
So it's really using the new Xen kernel!
We can now run
to check if Xen has started. It should list Domain-0 (dom0):
[root@server1 ~]# xm list
3 Creating A Virtual Machine
CentOS comes with a nice tool called virt-install with which we can create virtual machines for Xen. To start it, we simply run
The tools asks a few questions before it creates a virtual machine. I want to call my first virtual machine vm01, with 256MB RAM and a disk size of 4GB. I want to store it in the file /vm/vm01.img:
What is the name of your virtual machine? <-- vm01
The question about the graphics support refers to the installer, not the virtual machine itself! It is possible to start a graphical installer, but you'd have to connect to it via VNC. It's easier to use the text installer - it offers the same options, so I choose the text installer.
As install location, you should specify a mirror close to you where the installer can download all files needed for the installation of CentOS 5.0 in our virtual machine. You can find a list of CentOS mirrors here: http://www.centos.org/modules/tinycontent/index.php?id=13
After we have answered all questions, virt-install starts the normal CentOS 5.0 installer (in text mode) in our vm01 virtual machine. You already know the CentOS installer, so it should be no problem for you to finish the CentOS installation in vm01.
After the installation, we stay at the vm01 console. To leave it, type CTRL+] if you are at the console, or CTRL+5 if you're using PuTTY. You will then be back at the dom0 console.
virt-install has created the vm01 configuration file /etc/xen/vm01 for us (in dom0). It should look like this:
xm console vm01
to log in on that virtual machine again (type CTRL+] if you are at the console, or CTRL+5 if you're using PuTTY to go back to dom0), or use an SSH client to connect to it.
To get a list of running virtual machines, type
The output should look like this:
[root@server1 xen]# xm list
To shut down vm01, do this:
xm shutdown vm01
To start vm01 again, run
xm create /etc/xen/vm01
If you want vm01 to start automatically at the next boot of the system, then do this:
ln -s /etc/xen/vm01 /etc/xen/auto
Here are the most important Xen commands:
xm create -c /path/to/config - Start a virtual machine.