How To Install XenServer 5.6 Beta to external USB

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The Citrix XenServer 5.6 Beta is out and I would like to update one of my most popular blog posts. Here is instructions and also a YouTube video on how to install Citrix XenServer 5.6 to an external USB drive.

Mistyping is very common and I would recommend using the <TAB> key to auto fill. I have also included the DIR command so you will see the filename. This will make it easier when type pluss you will know how to do this for further releases.

  1. Disconnect or disable all hard drives except the external USB drive
  2. Download the Citrix XenServer 5.6 ISO
  3. Boot and install XenServer 5.6 on your external USB drive, see installation video here
  4. When the installation is finished, boot on the XenServer CD and press “F2″ when you see “Welcome to XenServer”

[youtube ahVDK1E0UxQ]

Command lines :

  1. mkdir /tmp/sda
  2. mount -t ext3 /dev/sda1 /tmp/sda
  3. chmod -R 664 /sys/block
  4. cp -R /sys/block/ /tmp/sda/sys/block/
  5. chroot /tmp/sda
  6. cd /boot
  7. dir
  8. mv initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen.img initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen.img.old
  9. mkinitrd –with-usb initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen.img 2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen

ScreenShot of Commands :

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25 Responses to How To Install XenServer 5.6 Beta to external USB

  1. Hi I tried the above with the release CD for 5.6 and it works all the way up to the mkinitrd command
    I then get several modinfo: messages as follows:-
    could not find module dm-mem-cache
    could not find module dm-region_hash
    could not find module dm-message
    could not find module dm-raid45
    could not find module usb

    any help really appreciated
    Thanks

  2. Hi Simon,

    The version number has been changed to : initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.6.0.44.11115

    Eric

  3. Hi Simon,
    I have the correct version number but I also get the message when running the mkinitrd:
    could not find module dm-mem-cache
    could not find module dm-region_hash
    could not find module dm-message
    could not find module dm-raid45
    could not find module usb

    If I type the wrong initrd version number then it errors with a different message.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

  4. Chris/Avi,

    in the ‘mkinitrd’ portion of the script, make sure its –make-usb and not –make -usb. Thant space made the difference for me.

  5. This should do the trick:
    mkinitrd –with-usb initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen.img 2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen

    It’s double – in front of with-usb

    BTW: It’s working for XenServer 5.6 (not BETA) as well.

    • Yes it will, but the initrd.xxx.img would have a new version number. Do a LS command to list the new one or type mv initrd- and press TAB

    • Hi,

      After the mkinitrd you are ready to boot from your USB to Citrix XenServer. Just make sure that the BIOS boot order in list your USB device first.

  6. Hi Trond, I’m having problems running FP1 on USB sticks. Both servers installed fine and your method worked great. But few days later xenserver started throwing all sorts of write errors regarding /dev/sda1. I tried several different flash cards, other usb ports, mounted ext3 with ‘noatime’, but the issue remains. Another identical server still has xenserver 5.6 and I don’t have this problem. I also heard that HP and Dell don’t sell servers with Xenserver on build-in flash cards anymore. Do you think there is something else I could try or the changes in FP1 make such a setup unreliable? Thanks.

    • Hi Romuluz, I don’t use this myself in production. If XS5.6 works, and FP1 not I would have sticked with that one. Another option is to by a small SSD disk or boot directly from your SAN. Try the Citrix Support Forum – XenServer section

  7. Thanks Trond, I’m thinking about SSD option now. Don’t want to get stuck with 5.6 missing on new exciting features of FP1 and future releases. I was just hoping there is something else I could do to minimize house-keeping (perhaps avoiding extra disk writes) 🙂

  8. Has anyone tried this with XCP 1.0?
    If so, did it work?
    Any changes or gotchyas?

    Thanks,
    Tachyon

  9. solved the problem

    could not find module dm-mem-cache
    could not find module dm-region_hash
    could not find module dm-message
    could not find module dm-raid45
    could not find module usb

    the error is that

    mkinitrd –with -usb initrd-….etcetc
    its wrong, you have to write

    mkinitrd –-with-usb initrd-…..etcetc

    with two — before with and no space after with !!

    now you will have
    could not find module dm-mem-cache
    could not find module dm-region_hash
    could not find module dm-message
    could not find module dm-raid45

    without the line

    could not find module usb

    you will be able to boot

  10. Greetings!

    I followed your tutorial, however the process hangs at Loading /boot/intird-2.6.xen… Ok

    And then nothing happens… Any idea?

  11. mkinitrd doesn’t work… it says that there is no module available for this kernel…

    • Hi Leonardo. You need to to a list to find the correct version number because the initrd-2.6.27.42-0.1.1.xs5.5.901.760.1073xen.img changes for every version build of XenServer. Then do mkinitrd.

  12. I have working installation of xenserver 5.6 SP2 and have one issue that is possibly because of usb behavior. After some time that the server is running I receive errors that drive is not accessible… and I cannot login to server on console or over xencenter but VMs are working and the server is working but not manageable… so one of the possible problems is that for some reason system cannot access usb bus and therefore cannot access root file system …
    my storage is on separate disk so that is why VMs are running without problem..

    I have checked and changed USB stick but problem is not rersolved…

    anyone with same problem?
    regards, Vladimir

  13. Does this also works for XenServer 6.0 ?

    Same procedure? –> only change the version number?

    Thanks in advance,
    Filip

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