Linux Virtualization

HowTo: OpenSuSE 11.2 PV running on XenServer 5.5.0

I’ve been running virtual machines for a while now (maybe 3 years?) and they have all been running on some bare minimal OpenSuse installation (in Dom U) with Xen being the hypervisor.

I decided the other day to give XenServer 5.5.0 (the free version) a try. I had a few days of unhappiness, mainly because I love openSuse, and it seemed that nobody knew how to get it installed in XenServer, as a PV guest.

I finally got it working. Finally got openSuSE 11.2 running in XenServer, as a PH guest, with the Server Tools installed and working. It was actually quite easy. This writeup explains how to install openSuSE 11.2 into XenServer 5.5.0 as a PV guest.

– To create a new VM, click the “New VM” button.

– Select “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11” from the list of templates when creating a new VM.

– When you’re prompted to select a location, paste “” in the “Install URL:” location (If you use a disk media, it won’t find the proper xen kernel, and won’t work)

– Go through all the other prompts, and adjust the disksize, CPUs, memory, etc to your desire.

Your VM should now start. Give it a bit while it downloads all it needs, and starts the installer. The installer will start in text mode (which is fine).

The only thing you’ll need to do is make sure the /boot partition (or the / partition if there is no separate /boot partition) is an EXT3 partition. By default openSuSE 11.2 makes every partition an EXT4 partition. The XenServer bootloader can’t access EXT4 partitions. This took me the longest time to figure out. I have read somewhere that XenServer also reads ReiserFS partitions, but I’ve only tried EXT3, and it works.

That’s it. Once you reboot the VM, install the XenServer Tools, and everything should work.

Speaking of XenServer Tools: it was the other thing I had issues with. All the documentation I read refers to the virtual DVD drive as /dev/xvdd, but in openSuSE it’s /dev/sr0.  Also, the first time I tried to mount the XenServer Tools iso in openSuSE 11.2, it crashed and rebooted the VM. So I opened the iso in a HVM Windows XP installation, and copied the “Linux” folder to a network location which I later accessed from the openSuSE 11.2 installation, to install the XenServer Tools.

14 thoughts on “HowTo: OpenSuSE 11.2 PV running on XenServer 5.5.0

  1. i worked it out the same way. but after that my suse guests are always pausing for some seconds and i cant’t work it out why…. its quite annoying :-(((

  2. Thanks for the tip of /dev/sr0 .
    I am trying this on a mono 2.10 vmware image converted to xen but the xen tools are not starting. They installed just fine and the os has been detected but the tools don’t start. Any tips?

  3. I just run the installation with openSUSE 11.3 using the XenServer 6 FP1. Just download the ISO file and mounted using a ISO NFS or CIFS library. For template choose SUSE 11 SP1.

  4. I get the error below, when starting the VM. Using your description (and the the link to the 11.4 repository, posted by Ben):

    “Error: The bootloader for this VM returned an error — did the VM installation succeed? Error from bootloader: Return code: 1; Log = INVALID_SOURCE
    The repository specified did not contain a required file,”

    This is definitely not true, because the file “vmlinuz-xen” is available at this exact path (and I can also download it manually).

    I’m using XenServer 5.5.0 and template “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 x64”.

    Does anybody know why this happens and how to deal with it?

  5. Pink, did you make sure to change the file system of the partition into which the OS is installed into? By default OpenSUSE 11.4 will use EXT4 as the default FS, but XenServer (at least 5.5.0) doesn’t know how to boot from that FS.
    The partition needs to be EXT3.

  6. Hi and loads of thanks for the procedure.
    All went fine till the xentools installation.
    There i had problems it says
    Unable to install guest packages for the distribution. I should manually install the xe-guest-utilities for my distro.
    Any ideas ?

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