Home Applications Learning the Basics of XenApp 5 and XenServer 5.5 (Part 2 of 10) Updated February 23, 2010

Learning the Basics of XenApp 5 and XenServer 5.5 (Part 2 of 10) Updated February 23, 2010


Updated February 23, 2010 to include XenServer 5.5 Update 2

In Part 1 of this 10-part series, you learned how to create a MyCitrix.com account, download a copy of XenServer 5.5 Enterprise, download an evaluation copy of XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2 and download a new license file for XenApp 5.  In Part 2 of this series, you will learn how to install XenServer 5.5, XenCenter 5.5, activate XenServer and do some optional configuration of XenServer.

XenServer is a enterprise-class and cloud-proven server virtualization platform that delivers features such as live migration of Virtual Machines and centralized multi-server management for FREE.  XenServer hosts are managed through XenCenter.  Simon Crosby, the CTO of Citrix, is famous for his saying of “Ten to Xen”.  Meaning you should be able to have XenServer installed and ready for use in ten minutes or less.  I have installed XenServer many times in my lab and it has never taken more than ten minutes.

When you completed Part 1, you had downloaded the XenServer 5.5 ISO file.  XenServer can be installed a variety of ways but for the purposes of this article, XenServer will be burned onto a CD for installation.  You can use your favorite ISO burner to burn the XenServer image to a CD.  I will be using Windows 7’s built-in ISO burner.

Right-click the XenServer 5.5 ISO file and select Open with -> Windows Disc Image Burner (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Insert a blank CD into the required drive and then click Burn (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Wait while the disc imaged is burned (Figure 3).

Figure 3

When the disc image burning is complete, click Close (Figure 4).

Figure 4

Remove the new XenServer 5.5 boot CD and insert it into the CD drive of your soon-to-be XenServer.

You will need to predetermine several pieces of information before installing XenServer:

1.       The password for the root user account. 

2.       If you have multiple network interfaces in your XenServer, the MAC address of each interface.

3.       The IP address, subnet mask and default gateway for the management interface.

4.       The IP address and subnet mask for the second interface.

5.       The name to assign to your XenServer.

6.       The IP address for DNS.

7.       If using Network Time Protocol, the host name or IP address of the NTP server.

Note:  Most recent servers have two or more gigabit Ethernet NICs embedded on the motherboard.  You can take advantage by using one NIC for XenCenter to XenServer management traffic and another NIC for Virtual Machine traffic.  More advanced XenServer installation may also have NICs dedicated to storage and backup traffic.

The physical box for my XenServer host has two network interfaces.  XenServer uses the Linux convention of naming the first network interface eth0, the second eth1 and so forth.  For my server, eth0 will be the management interface and eth1 will be used for the Virtual Machine (VM) traffic.

Network Configuration Information

Interface Name

MAC Address

IP Address

Subnet Mask

Default Gateway






Server Name



NTP Server



Note:  XenServer is a bare-metal hypervisor.  This means it runs directly on the host’s hardware and controls all the hardware components on the host.  I am using HyperTerminal to enable screen shots of the XenServer installation from my Windows 7 writing station.

Boot up your XenServer host with the XenServer 5.5 CD.  After the initial power-on and boot-up sequence, the XenServer 5.5 installation begins.  Since I am in the Central time zone in North America, I will be selecting the relevant options.  You will need to select the settings appropriate for where you live.

Select your Keymap and then select OK (Figure 5).

Figure 5

Select Install or upgrade XenServer Host and then select OK (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Select OK to allow the XenServer installation process to remove all partitions and destroy all data on your hard drive (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Select Accept EULA to continue with the installation (Figure 8).

Figure 8

Select Local media and then select OK (Figure 9).

Figure 9

For this article, select No on installing the Linux Pack (Figure 10).

Figure 10

Select Skip verification and then select OK (Figure 11).

Figure 11

Enter and verify the password for the root account and then select OK (Figure 12).  The root account has unlimited access and privileges on the XenServer host.  If this account is compromised, your server can be damaged beyond repair and may require a complete reinstall.

Figure 12

Select which network interface to use for management traffic and then select OK (Figure 13).

Figure 13

Select Static configuration, enter the necessary IP and then select OK (Figure 14).

Figure 14

Enter the Hostname, the IP address for at least DNS Server 1 and then select OK (Figure 15).

Figure 15

Select the geographical area for your Time Zone and then select OK (Figure 16).

Figure 16

Select the city closest to you for your time zone and then select OK (Figure 17).

Figure 17

Select Using NTP and then select OK (Figure 18).

Figure 18

Enter the information for at least NTP Server 1 and then select OK (Figure 19).

Figure 19

Select Install XenServer (Figure 20).

Figure 20

The XenServer installation proceeds (Figure 21).

Figure 21

When the XenServer installation is complete, remove the CD from the CD drive and then select OK (Figure 22).

Figure 22


As the XenServer reboots, now XenCenter needs to be installed.  Insert the XenServer CD into your management PC and the XenCenter Setup Wizard begins (Figure 23).  Click Next.

Figure 23

Click Next (Figure 24).

Figure 24

Select whether to install XenCenter for all users on your management PC or just you and then click Next (Figure 25).

Figure 25

Click Install (Figure 26).

Figure 26

When the XenCenter setup wizard completes, click Finish (Figure 27).

Figure 27

Double-click the Citrix XenCenter 5.5 icon on your desktop (Figure 28).

Figure 28

XenCenter starts up.  Click the Add a server button (Figure 29).

Figure 29

Enter the IP address of your XenServer, the password for the root account and then click Connect (Figure 30).

Figure 30


Your XenServer host is added to the XenCenter console and the XenServer License Manager appears (Figure 31).  Notice there are only 29 days left before XenServer will expire.

Figure 31

Select your XenServer and then click the Activate button (Figure 32).

Figure 32

You are taken to the Citrix XenServer Activation web form.  Fill in the required information, agree to comply with the Export Control Laws and then click Request Activation (Figure 33).

Figure 33

Check your e-mail for the XenServer license file (Figure 34).  You can exit the activation form browser window.

Figure 34

Save the XenServer license file to a location accessible by XenCenter (Figure 35).

Figure 35

In XenCenter, select Server from the toolbar and then select Install License Key (Figure 36).

Figure 36

Browse to the XenServer license file, select it and then click Open (Figure 37).

Figure 37

The license file is applied (Figure 38).

Figure 38

To verify the license has been applied properly, from the toolbar, select Tools -> License Manager (Figure 39).

Figure 39

You will see that the time left before needing another free XenServer license is now 12 months (Figure 40).

Figure 40

Close the License Manage.


Optional XenServer Configuration:

If you have multiple NICs in your XenServer host, you have the option of dedicating a NIC for VM traffic.

The second network interface, eth1, on the XenServer needs to be configured.  Select XenServer1 in the Server View and then click the Console tab (Figure 41).

Figure 41

Click on the black XenServer1 server console area and then press Enter (Figure 42).

Figure 42

From the command shell, type in:

Ifconfig eth1 netmask and press Enter (Figure 43).

This command sets the IP address and subnet mask for the second network interface eth1.

Figure 43

To verify that eth1 was configured properly and the network interface works, open a command prompt on your management PC and type in:

Ping and press Enter (Figure 44).

Figure 44

Since eth0 will be used for XenServer management traffic, there is no need for it to be added to any VM that is created.  To prevent eth0 from being added to new VMs, click XenServer1 in the Server View and click the Network tab (Figure 45).

Figure 45

Click on Network 0 and then click Properties (Figure 46).

Figure 46

Click Network Settings (Figure 47).

Figure 47

Uncheck the box next to Automatically add this network to new virtual machines and then click OK (Figure 48).

Figure 48

In this part, you have successfully installed XenServer, XenCenter, added your XenServer host to XenCenter, activated XenServer and performed additional optional configuration steps.  In Part 3, you will learn to create a Virtual Machine optimized for XenApp and install Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x86.

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