VIRTUALISATION: XenServer ISO Repository?

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  • Kyuuketsuki

    So I killed my ESXi server and “embraced” Xen!
    The reason I did so was that I was unable to create templates on ESXi … I would have to buy a license which, as far as I can tell, would cost something like $3000. This is understandable from VMWare’s POV as they wish to charge for their enterprise class products but hardly suitable for a server used as a home server and test/dev/training and so on.

    My first thoughts on XenServer are as follows:

    • Installed with no hardware issues (that wasn’t true of ESXi but, to be fair to them, it took me 3 months to get the server to a good ESXi compatible spec and I would fully expect Xen to run on kit like that).
    • Lower footprint … ESXI memory footprint is around 2Gb, Xen is under 1.
    • ESXi is faster to power up but since it will typically be running all the time that’s no great issue.
    • Storing ISO images locally on an ESXi server is a doddle, on Xen it seems to require a major configuration change (see below).
    • Virtual machines don’t seem to be as configurable under Xen as ESXi.
    • Connects as easily from the local client PC as ESXi does.
    • Connects via XenCentre seemingly faster than ESXi (excepting first time when you have to connect the specific host).
    • XenCentre works as well under Windows 7 as it does under XP … getting VMWare’s VI Client working under Windows 7 is an absolute nightmare (I still haven’t succeeded).
    • Xen requires specific Linux support (a second CD during install or run later via script) whilst ESXi appears to support Linux out-of-the-box.

    Right now my particular issue is ISO image storage. With ESXi you can simply browse to wherever you’ve stored your ISO’s and there appear to be no limits on what you can store outside of disk capacity. On Xen ISO’s are selected by drop down list so presumably there is a specific location for the ISO’s storage repository … some sources say that is the /iso_import/images folder but I couldn’t find that, another suggestion is /var/opt/xen/iso_import/ (found that).

    Apparently once you have uploaded an ISO you need to run the command:

    xe sr-scan uuid=`xe sr-list | /usr/bin/perl -e
    ‘while () { if (/^uuid.* ([^ ]*)$/) { $uuid = $1; }
    if (/name-label ( RW): ISOs/) { last; } } print “$uuid”;’`

    It doesn’t appear to make any difference to me.

    Judging by the error messages I get, there appears to be a limit on the amount that can be copied to that area … I managed to load 1 iso but when I tried to copy the server 2008 ISO across it failed with the server error “File system on Control Domain Full” (seems crazy because it’s an 80Gb drive).

    [[email protected] ~]# sfdisk /dev/sda –force
    Checking that no-one is using this disk right now …
    BLKRRPART: Device or resource busy

    This disk is currently in use – repartitioning is probably a bad idea.
    Umount all file systems, and swapoff all swap partitions on this disk.
    Use the –no-reread flag to suppress this check.

    Disk /dev/sda: 9729 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track
    Old situation:
    Units = cylinders of 8225280 bytes, blocks of 1024 bytes, counting from 0

    Device Boot Start End #cyls #blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 0+ 498 499- 4008186 83 Linux
    /dev/sda2 499 997 499 4008217+ 83 Linux
    /dev/sda3 998 9728 8731 70131757+ 83 Linux
    /dev/sda4 0 – 0 0 0 Empty
    Input in the following format; absent fields get a default value.

    Usually you only need to specify and (and perhaps ).

    You see this broadly speaking makes no sense to me … I installed Xen on an 80Gb drive, it can’t be using more than say 1Gb in actual files (2Gb to be kind) and the above hints at that! /dev/sda3 appears to be around 70GB and I’ve no idea what Xen is using that for but there should be plenty of room there for an ISO store.

    Sure I know I could put the ISO’s on some kind of network share (although, in truth, I don’t actually know how to do that yet) but why should I have to (that’s why I chose to use an 80Gb drive and Xen’s direct competitor, ESXi, has no such issues in this respect)? What I want to do is:

    • Create a folder on /dev/sda3
    • Repoint the ISO repository pointer/flag/symbolic link at that folder
    • Copy ISO’s to it
    • Rescan if necessary
    • Have those ISO’s become available to me for my virtual machines.

    Maybe some of this makes sense to someone here or maybe they can give instructions to help me get the info so a solution can be suggested?

    Anyway, anyone got any ideas?


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