Getting Started

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Revision as of 16:27, 23 April 2012 by GarveyPatrickD (talk | contribs) (Getting Xen: whereever -> wherever ; recommend -> recommended ; instalation -> the installation ; has lead to -> has led to)


The aim of this document is to guide a new user through the decisions needed in order to get a Xen system up and running and to provide a jumping off point for more specific documentation to meet their aims.

Getting Xen

The recommended way for most people to get Xen is to install via your distribution wherever possible. There are many distros which have good support for Xen included right out of the box. This option is generally much simpler than the alternatives since many of the common pitfalls are eliminated by consuming existing tested packages. You will also benefit from being able to ask the distribution community for help which will often result in responses which are more specific to the distribution in question.

Selecting Domain 0 Operating System / Distro

The selection of a domain 0 operating system is largely one of personal preference and/or existing skillset. If you are already familiar with a particular distribution in a non-Xen context then this is likely to be the best choice for you, assuming that the distribution has support for Xen.

Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSuSE, SLES, XCP, Oracle VM, Fedora, NetBSD are all known to have good support for Xen in their current releases.

You can find articles on how to install Xen on various distributions in Category:Host Install.

Installing Xen From Source

If you are planning to develop on Xen or you require a bleeding edge feature which is not yet available in the distributions then you may find that you need to build from source.

Compiling Xen From Source describes how to go about doing this.

Selecting a Domain 0 Kernel

Xen no longer ships with a particular kernel which is recommended for domain 0 usage (nor domain U for that matter). This is because Xen support in distributions and in mainline kernels is now more than sufficient for most use cases.

As with the installation of Xen itself, the best option is generally to use your distribution kernel.

As of Linux v3.0 everything which is needed for a functional domain 0 is included in the mainline Linux tree and this has led to renewed support for Xen domain 0 by distributions. See above for a list of distributions which have good support for Xen.

Dom0 Kernels for Xen lists the various domain 0 kernels which are available. For a comparison of the features of various kernels you can see Xen Kernel Feature Matrix.

TODO link to a suitable guide for building from source

Selecting Toolstack

There are several toolstacks which can be used with Xen. Choice of Toolstacks discusses the features of the various toolstacks and the various use cases where they may be appropriate.

Installing a Guest

Category:Guest Install contains guides on how to install a variety of guests. Guest VM Images provides pointers to various preinstalled guest images.