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Managing Citrix XenServer Overview

Updated: July 9, 2014

Applies To: System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 SP1 - Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) enables you to deploy and manage virtual machines and services across multiple hypervisors, including Citrix XenServer hosts. Through VMM, you can manage the day-to-day operations of XenServer hosts and XenServer pools. These operations include the discovery and management of XenServer hosts and pools, and the ability to create, manage, store, place and deploy virtual machines and services on XenServer hosts. Managing XenServer hosts through VMM also gives you more choice with regard to Linux-based guest operating systems than if you were only managing Hyper-V.

In addition, VMM enables you to make resources from Hyper-V, XenServer and VMware ESX hosts available to private cloud deployments, all from a common user interface and common command-line interface (CLI).

Operating System Requirements

The computers that you want to add as XenServer hosts must meet the requirements that are outlined in Preparing your environment for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager.

noteNote
Through VMM, the XenServer hosts are directly managed. Therefore, there is no interaction between the VMM management server and the Citrix XenCenter server.

Additional Requirements

Make sure that the following additional requirements are met:

  • You must have a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server available to automatically assign IP addresses for Citrix TransferVMs. The addresses that are assigned by the DHCP server must be accessible from the XenServer host management network.

    noteNote
    A TransferVM is a template for paravirtual virtual machines that contains Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and iSCSI servers. The virtual machine is temporary. A TransferVM is created and destroyed on the XenServer host during each transfer and mount operation in XenServer. For example, TransferVMs are used for disk transfers over HTTP.

  • If the VMM library servers that the XenServers will use are running Windows Server 2008, you must do the following:

    1. Install Windows Management Framework Background Intelligent Transfer Service 4.0 (BITS 4.0) on each library server. To download BITS 4.0, see Windows Management Framework (Windows PowerShell 2.0, WinRM 2.0, and BITS 4.0).

    2. After you install BITS 4.0, enable the BITS Compact Server feature in Server Manager.

    You must have the BITS Compact Server feature enabled to successfully create a new XenServer virtual machine from an existing template or virtual hard disk, or to create a VMM virtual machine template from a XenServer virtual machine.

Supported Features

The following table shows the VMM and XenServer features that are supported when VMM manages XenServer hosts.

 

Feature Notes

VMM command shell

The VMM command shell is common across all hypervisors.

Adding XenServer hosts and pools

VMM supports the addition of stand-alone XenServer hosts and XenServer clusters (known as pools) to VMM management. Realize that you must install and configure XenServer before you add the hosts to VMM management. Also, you must create and configure XenServer pools in Citrix XenCenter.

Placement

VMM offers virtual machine placement based on host ratings during the creation, deployment, and migration of XenServer virtual machines. This includes concurrent virtual machine deployment during service deployment.

Services

You can deploy VMM services to XenServer hosts.

Private clouds

You can make XenServer host resources available to a private cloud by creating private clouds from host groups where XenServer hosts reside. You can configure quotas for the private cloud and for self-service user roles that are assigned to the private cloud.

For more information, see Creating a Private Cloud in VMM Overview.

Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization

You can use the new Dynamic Optimization features with XenServer hosts. For example, VMM can load balance virtual machines on XenServer pools by using Live Migration. Through Power Optimization, you can configure VMM to turn XenServer hosts on and off for power management.

Migration

Supported migration types include the following:

  • Live Migration between hosts in a managed pool (through Citrix XenMotion)

  • LAN migration between a host and the library through BITS

    noteNote
    TransferVM is used for each virtual hard disk.

Maintenance mode

You can place a XenServer host that is managed by VMM in and out of maintenance mode by using the VMM console.

Library

You can organize and store XenServer virtual machines, virtual hard disks, and VMM templates in the VMM library. VMM supports creating new virtual machines from templates.

TipTip
If you store virtual hard disks for XenServer in the VMM library, we recommend that you open the properties of the .vhd or .vhdx file, and then on the General tab, in the Virtualization platform list, click Citrix XENServer Server. This will help you distinguish which files are for XenServer.

XenServer Templates

XenServer templates are not used by VMM. However, you can use XenCenter to create a virtual machine, and then create a VMM template from the virtual machine.

noteNote
To retain paravirtualization properties of a virtual machine, you must create a virtual machine with paravirtualization properties on the XenServer host, and then create a VMM virtual machine template from the virtual machine.

VMM Templates

VMM virtual machine templates are supported with XenServer, with the following restrictions:

  • The generalization and customization of virtual machines is supported for Windows-based virtual machines only.

  • You must manually install XenServer Tools (Citrix Tools for Virtual Machines).

  • When you create a VMM virtual machine template from a XenServer virtual machine, you cannot modify any associated disk images. Although you can modify the settings in the VMM console, when you deploy the template the original images will be attached. You can modify all other properties.

Networking

The new VMM networking management features are supported on XenServer hosts, such as the assignment of logical networks, and the assignment of static IP addresses and MAC addresses to Windows-based virtual machines that are running on XenServer hosts.

Be aware that you must create external virtual networks through XenCenter. VMM recognizes and uses the existing external networks for virtual machine deployment.

noteNote
VMM uses a single virtual switch to represent all XenServer switches with different VLAN IDs that are bound to a single physical network adapter.

Storage

VMM supports all virtual disk storage repositories that XenServer does. These include the following:

  • Software iSCSI, Network File System (NFS) virtual hard disk, Hardware host bus adapters (HBAs), and Advanced StorageLink technology

  • Shared and local storage

In addition, VMM supports ISO repositories on an NFS or a Windows File Sharing (Common Internet File System (CIFS)) share. Note the following:

  • If you want to deploy ISO images from the library to the XenServer host, you must set the permissions on the ISO repository to Read-Write.

  • You can only attach ISO images from the VMM library. Therefore, in XenCenter, connect to the XenServer host, and then specify a Read-Write share location in the VMM library as the ISO storage repository.

noteNote
The new VMM storage automation features are not supported for XenServer hosts. All storage must be added to XenServer hosts outside VMM.

Virtual machine management

VMM supports paravirtual (PV) and hardware-assisted virtualization (HVM) virtual machines, with the following restrictions:

  • Windows-based operating systems will only run on HVM virtual machines.

  • If you create a new virtual machine through the VMM console, you can only create HVM virtual machines.

  • To create a virtual machine with paravirtualization properties from VMM, you must first clone a virtual machine with paravirtualization properties to the library, and then clone and deploy the virtual machine. You cannot create a virtual machine with paravirtualization properties by using the New Virtual Machine wizard to create a virtual machine from an existing virtual hard disk.

Typical virtual machine management options are available, such as the use of virtual hard disks and the ability to attach ISO image from the library through an NFS or CIFS share. You can also control the state of the virtual machine, such as start, stop, save state, pause and shut down.

Conversion

In VMM in System Center 2012 and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) only, converting a XenServer virtual machine to a Hyper-V virtual machine is supported by using the physical-to-virtual machine conversion process (P2V conversion). You do not have to remove the Citrix Tools for Virtual Machines before you start the conversion. Realize that VMM only supports the conversion of virtual machines that are running supported Windows-based guest operating systems.

To start the P2V process, in the VMs and Services workspace, on the Home tab, in the Create group, click the Create Virtual Machine drop-down arrow, and then click Convert Physical Machine.

ImportantImportant
As of System Center 2012 R2, you can no longer convert a XenServer virtual machine to a Hyper-V virtual machine or perform other P2V conversions in VMM.

Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO)

Monitoring and alerting for XenServer hosts is possible through VMM with the integration of Operations Manager and PRO.

Additional Support Information

  • VMM does not support the host-to-host migration of stopped virtual machines (LAN migration) between XenServer and other hosts.

  • The Dynamic Memory feature only applies to Hyper-V hosts that are running an operating system that supports Dynamic Memory.

  • Update management through VMM is not supported for XenServer hosts. You must use your existing solution to update XenServer hosts.

  • The conversion of a bare-metal computer to a virtual machine host, and cluster creation through VMM is not supported with XenServer.

In This Section

Follow these procedures to manage XenServer hosts through VMM.

 

Procedure Description

How to Add XenServer Hosts to VMM

Describes how to add a XenServer host or pool to VMM management.

Configuring XenServer Host Properties

Describes the settings that are available in the XenServer host properties. Includes the following subtopics:

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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