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Install Xen 3 from Scratch on Debian Sarge using Backports

Introduction to Backports http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backport

Debian Backports are created to allow newer software run on existing systems.

Add in Backports

vi /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://www.backports.org/debian/ sarge-backports main

vi /etc/apt/preferences

Package: *
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 200 

Package: xen-3.0
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: linux-2.6
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: xen-tools
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: udev
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: lsb
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: module-init-tools
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: grub
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Note that for Backports, we can specify which packages can be used from backports. The dependencies are figured out from Documents and trial & error.

Now - Update, Dist-upgrade to recieve backports and get packages.

apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get install grub/sarge-backports
apt-get install makedev/sarge-backports
apt-get install lsb-base/sarge-backports
apt-get upgrade

apt-get install xen-hypervisor-3.0-i386 xen-utils-3.0
apt-get install linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-686
//or if your on AMD:
#apt-get install linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-k7
//or if your on a Hetzner Server (see bottom of page):
#apt-get install linux-image-2.6.16-1-xen-k7

dpkg --purge hotplug
apt-get install bridge-utils xen-tools/sarge-backports sysfsutils
mv /lib/tls/ /lib/tls.disabled

Make initial RAM Disk Module to LOAD Xen Kernel

cd /boot
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-2-xen-686 2.6.16-2-xen-686
//or if your on a Hetzner Server - make appropriate change to:
#mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-1-xen-k7 2.6.16-1-xen-k7

Configure Grub and Xen Config


  • Grub can be configured to allow a "fallback" option, whereby if the server hangs on kernel load etc. when it reboots, it will boot a second grub entry etc.
  • Please make necessary adjustments if your using SATA,RAID, or using a Hetzner Server

vi /boot/grub/menu.lst

title Xen 3.0 / XenLinux 2.6-686
kernel /boot/xen-3.0-i386.gz
module /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.16-2-xen-686 root=/dev/md0 ro
module /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-2-xen-686

My Current Grub Config

title Xen 3.0 / XenLinux 2.6-k7
root            (hd0,1)
kernel          /boot/xen-3.0-i386.gz dom0_mem=128000
module          /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.16-1-xen-k7 root=/dev/md0 ro panic=10
module          /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-1-xen-k7
savedefault     fallback

vi /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp

#xend-relocation-server yes
(vif-script vif-bridge)
(dom0-min-mem 128)
#(network-script network-dummy)
#(xend-relocation-hosts-allow '^localhost$')
(network-script network-bridge)

Have Xend Daemon start on System start

invoke-rc.d xend restart

Reboot into Dom0


All going well the server should boot up using a Xen modified Kernel. It should pick up sata drivers and boot off them. If the system boots - excellent. Type xm list to see if dom0 is listed and running.

If it fails

  • Check grub to see if it actually boots the Xen kernel or a standard one.
  • Check to see if the files in grub actually match the files located in /boot
  • Make sure grub is installed correctly to the Hard Disk.
  • Make sure that it boots off the correct partition, e.g. (hd0,1) or (hd0,0)
  • It will not work with RAID for the moment.
  • Go back and follow the initial how-to on debian adminisration at: http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/423
  • Go back and choose a different Xen Kernel: apt-get install linux-image-2.6.16-1-xen-k7

Links and Other How-To's

The BackPorts URL -> http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/423

Debian Sid & Xen -> http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/396

Dapper Drake & Xen -> http://www.howtoforge.com/xen_3.0_ubuntu_dapper_drake

HowtoForge - Debian & Xen -> http://www.howtoforge.org/perfect_setup_xen3_debian_p5

RemoteInstallofXen -> http://www.option-c.com/xwiki/Xen_at_ServerBeach

More Useful URLS




Summary of Solution to getting Xen (dom0) working on Hetzner

"use xen 3.0.1 (NOT 3.0.2) kernel has I apart from which in the Howto stood actually only the VIA sata drivers in kernel kompieliert, are unfortunately only with the CONSOLE of more hetzner draufgekommen where the problem is."

So working off backports on http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/423

It was a case of:

apt-get remove linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-k7
apt-get install linux-image-2.6.16-1-xen-k7

yey :-)


On my hetzner server I encountered great difficulty in getting "grub" working. At one stage, only LILO would boot my server. Although I did finally manage to get grub working after a hetzner admin looked into it, I researched the possibility of booting the XEN modified Kernel with LILO.

Get, compile and install "mbootpack".

/root/mboot/mbootpack -o /boot/mboot-2.6.16-xen -m /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.16-2-xen-k7 -m /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-2-xen-k7 /boot/xen-3.0-i386
mbootpack -o mboot-2.6.16-xen -m vmlinuz-2.6.16-2-xen-686 -m initrd.img-2.6.16-2-xen-686 ./xen-3.0-i386

But the modified Bootpack would not boot correctly. It appears from the documentation that Xen doesnt boot using Lilo.


Here was the planned method of moving from LILO to GRUB:

apt-get install grub
grub-install /dev/sda
apt-get remove lilo

grub-install /dev/sda

Special menu.lst config to Allow for FALLBACK ->

default 	saved
fallback 	0


	title Xen 3.0 / XenLinux 2.6-686
	kernel /boot/xen-3.0-i386.gz
	module /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.16-2-xen-686 root=/dev/md0 ro
	module /boot/initrd.img-2.6.16-2-xen-686
	savedefault     fallback

Make 0 option default.

grub-set-default 2

// 0 - first, 1 - second safe, 2 - our entry cat /boot/grub/default //to check

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