Citrix XenServer 6.0 on VMWare Player

VMWare Player

I finally received a laptop that has an Intel Processor with VT-x and VT-d technology, allowing me to install my own Citrix XenServer 6.0 virtual host so I stop bugging my colleagues for time on their labs.

It will be a big help while I’m writing the rest of the 1Y0-A26 Citrix XenServer 6.0 Administration practice exam. Most of the time I find very detailed information online either through the Citrix Support documentation, a virtualization expert’s blog post, or an image on Google Images. I also recently downloaded the XenCenter 6.0 Windows Management Console from MyCitrix.com, so I finally had my hands on the Help documentation that can only be found (as far as I know) in the console itself.

I decided to see if I could install it on VMWare Player, since it’s free, and although I couldn’t find any documentation online about installing it on Player, I did find some nice articles on installing XS (usually older versions) on VMWare Workstation, which I had done myself in the past. I decided to read though a few of the articles, and one of the highest ranked Google results happened to be a blog post from my good buddy Eric Haavarstein of XenAppBlog.com. That post led me to his YouTube video, “Citrix XenServer 6 and Web Self Service on VMWare Workstation 8″. I decided to give it a try on Player using the WS instructions. To make a long enough story short, with a few variations in settings, I was able to install XS 6 on a USB external drive on VMWare Player.

The basic differences are that Player, of course, isn’t as powerful as Workstation, and Player is free. There are fewer configurations that need to be performed on Player.

If you’re thinking of installing XS 6 on VMW Player, read Eric’s blog post, watch about half of his video (the whole video is only about 6 minutes long), and when the configurations differ, see the images and descriptions below for the settings that I configured to make it work. Of course these exact settings might not work for you, but try different settings and configurations and you’ll get it to work if you have the correct hardware.

The settings are really basic, not that other virtual machine installer applications are complicated, but it’s very simple to use, as one would expect from a freeware virtualization application.

As you can see, I already removed the floppy drive and sound card, because they are not needed. I also set memory to 4GB. All of that is in the video.

VMWare Player settings for Citrix XenServer 6.0 vm

The network settings weren’t too bad to configure. They differ a little from Workstation. As you can see, I chose Bridged, just like Eric did in the video, and I have ‘Connect at power on’ selected, which may have given me problems when first installing because it kept trying to use PXE to find the network address information. I should have documented it at the time of installation because I might have had something else configured wrong, so that might not have been the issue at all. Either way, it boots up fine now with networking enabled; and of course, you have to have networking!

VMWare Player network settings for XS 6

I tried different USB settings, but using the three that I have chosen, ‘Enable high-speed support for USB 2.0 devices’, ‘Automatically connect new USB devices’, and ‘Show all USB input devices’ worked fine. I believe that when I didn’t have the first one, ‘Enable high-speed…’ chosen, I received a message that the USB connection wouldn’t allow me to keep going, or something to that effect.

Don’t worry about display settings and just make sure to connect the XenServer 6 ISO package to the correct drive letter for your USB drive.

Another good practice is to be sure your external hard drive isn’t 15 years old with only 5GB of space, because you’ll need quite a bit of room to allocate for the XenServer. Documentation states that the minimum requirement is 2GB, but I received an error stating that I didn’t have enough disk space when I tried the minimum. I settled on allocating 40GB just to be on the safe side.

VMWare Player USB settings for XenServer 6

The next tab over, Options, is very straight-forward. During initial setup you’ll have already chosen Other for ‘Guest operating system’ and ‘Other 64bit’ for Version. Just make sure you are in the correct directory where you want the VM created and that’s all for options.

VMWare Player options for XS 6

That’s really all I had to do, along with Eric’s instructions, to get it to install and run. Now I’m enjoying performing all of the configurations on my own XenServer lab.



5 comments to Citrix XenServer 6.0 on VMWare Player

  • Paul Blitz

    XS6 needs a minimum of 16 gig of disk space to install: 4 gig for “Xen Hypervisor & Control Domain”; 4 gig for “In-place upgrade partition”; and 8 gig for “Guest VM storage repository”. Given thet the guest VM’s can easily be stored on other disks / SAN storage, I must admit that I don’t really understand the need for that 8 gig on the main disk.

    • Jeff Rohrer

      Yeah, I’ve read conflicting reports. But you’re right about the minimum of 16GB for the guest vms. In some specs I read, it stated XS host, 2GB to 1TB. They may have been talking about “extra” disk space. Then went on to say 16GB for a guest repository. So I suppose the point is, go much higher than 2GB to start with. Anything under 20GB would probably be taking a chance, assuming local storage.

      Here are the specs I got 2GB from: http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/subfeature.asp?contentID=1681139

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Fred

    Dont think you can run VMs on Xenserver when Xenserver is installed in any virtualization environment as the installation cant detect that virtualization is running in the VM(running xenserver 6 in virtualbox).

    If its possible do tell as Ive not been able to get this to work.

  • Walley

    I want to install XenServe 6.0 in VMware Workstation 9.0,but there is a error occured durng installationg:”Hardware virtualation assist support is not available on this system”.My system is Windows 7 64bit,6G RAM,intel Core I3-2330 CPU,and I have enable Inel Virtualation technology in BIOS setting.How can I do to solve this problem?Thanks.

    • Jeff Rohrer

      It seems like I ran into this problem at one point also. I’ll check my lab and get back to you on this, but if it’s the same message I received, it wasn’t a big issue. Just some tweaking of the CPU options I believe.

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