HP ML350e Gen8 and XenServer PoC

HP ML350e Gen8 and XenServer PoC

  1. UpdateXpress
  2. Firmware
  3. BIOS
  4. Turn on DIP Switch 12 on the Motherboard to Enable Active Health System Download
  5. Other
  6. XenServer updates- http://support.citrix.com/product/xens/v6.2.0/#tab-hotfix
  7. HP Xenserver updates – http://h20565.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.PAGE/public/psi/swdHome/?sp4ts.oid=5177962&spf_p.tpst=swdMain&spf_p.prp_swdMain=wsrp-navigationalState%3DswEnvOID%253D4109%257CswLang%253D%257Caction%253DlistDriver&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken
  8. Install XenServer on USB – http://blogs.citrix.com/2010/10/18/how-to-install-citrix-xenserver-from-a-usb-key-usb-built-from-windows-os/
  9. Linux Drivers
  10. HP Proliant 350e Gen8 User Guide –  http://h20628.www2.hp.com/km-ext/kmcsdirect/emr_na-c03390868-6.pdf
  11. HP Software for 350e Gen8 – http://h20565.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/public/psi/swdHome/?cc=us&cc=us&lang=en&lang=en&sp4ts.oid=5272973&ac.admitted=1379316460693.876444892.492883150
  12. HP Smart Array Controllers for HP ProLiant Servers User Guide – http://h20566.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.BINARYPORTLET/public/kb/docDisplay/resource.process/?spf_p.tpst=kbDocDisplay_ws_BI&spf_p.rid_kbDocDisplay=docDisplayResURL&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&spf_p.rst_kbDocDisplay=wsrp-resourceState%3DdocId%253Demr_na-c01608507-11%257CdocLocale%253D&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken
  13. HP ML 350e Gen8 Options – http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?prodSeriesId=5260584&objectID=c03405327
  14. HP Service Packs
  15. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/server-software/product-detail.html?oid=5104018#!tab=features
  16. http://h17007.www1.hp.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/products/service_pack/spp/index.aspx
  17. HP SmartStart
  18. HP Power Regulator – http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c00300430/c00300430.pdf
  19. HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) Version 2013.09.0(B) – http://h17007.www1.hp.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/products/service_pack/spp/index.aspx

XenServer iDR

The above video show how easy it is to configure XenServer iDR and you can also have a Active/Active Sites

XenServer Site Recovery – Provide site-to-site disaster recovery planning and services for virtual environments

  • Simple and Reliable Set Up – Using the step-by-step Site Recovery wizards and StorageLink capabilities customers can quickly initiate remote data replication between arrays and automate the ongoing syncing of primary and secondary VM configurations.
  • Fast Recovery & Failback – Once the data and VM’s have been replicated to the secondary datacenter, Site Recovery provides single click failover for protected applications ensuring key IT services are back up and running quickly.
  • Unlimited Testing  – Site Recovery allows the user to stage frequent tests in an isolated virtual environment without disrupting ongoing operations. This helps to ensure disaster recovery plans remain valid.
This document describes how to configure manual DR for a XenServer Resource Pool http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX117258

Before designing any DR solution you must agree to RPO and RTO with your CEO and CFO. You also need to select the workloads and applications to protect. Consider the following:
Continuous availability is availability’s upper limit—nonstop operation through failures and outages, eliminating downtime and associated data and transaction loss.
High availability means applications remain accessible a very high percentage of the time and recover quickly from localized failures so users experience little or no interruption.
Disaster recoveryis restoration of IT services after a widespread disruption: floods, regional power interruptions or other major disasters.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – The time by which an application must recover from a failure, or maximum acceptable loss of service
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – The point in time at which an application must recover, or maximum acceptable loss of data and transactions
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – The direct and indirect costs of achieving the specified RTO and RPO over an application’s lifespan (vs Risk to Business)

Learn XenServer

Citrix Master Classes are webinars that air live for a worldwide.  These webinars provide an opportunity for Citrix customers to interact with product specialists at Citrix.  Below are a list of previously-aired XenServer Master Classes in chronological order.   The list includes links to view videos of each class at your convenience.


XenServer Master Class – XenServer 101: Sept. 28, 2011

This is your quick-start to getting the most out of your XenServer software and covers why upgrading to a paid-for edition of XenServer is so compelling.
Start unpacking the XenServer technologies, then go into a deep dive of the XenServer Advanced Edition.  Included as well is the Master Class Extra.
View On-demand

Master Class – XenServer Project “Boston” Beta: June 21, 2011

This video is 1 hr in duration (excluding Q&A) and it includes:

  • The new features in the beta release of “Project Boston”
  • A discussion will be Bill Caravano, Director of Product Management
  • XenServer “Demos on Demand”
  • Interactive questions and comments

View On-demand

XenServer Master Class – Troubleshooting XenServer: March 23, 2011

This is your opportunity to learn the key skills you need to troubleshoot a XenServer environment.

The topics include:

  • XenServer architecture
  • Advanced Troubleshooting techniques
  • Understanding the key log files and commands
  • Troubleshooting tools and demos
  • Where to get the help you need
  • A sneak peek at the forthcoming Xenoscope troubleshooting tool
  • Master Class “Extra” and conversations with Bill Caravano and Simon Crosby.

View On-demand

XenServer Master Class – Networking Technologies: January 27, 2011

Join Steve Benton & Lee Bushen on another exciting master class experience here at Citrix.  The duration of this webinar will be 1 hour after which we will be taking questions.

Topics include:

  • A deep dive into the architecture of the XenServer networking stack
  • What’s New in XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack
  • Master Class Extra Q&A and ‘Demos on Demand’
  • Live interview – Simon Crosby, Citrix CTO
  • Live interview – Ian Pratt, Founder, Xen hypervisor

View On-demand

Master Class – Storage Technologies: Sept. 22, 2010

This video is 1 hr in duration (excluding Q&A) and will demo many of the key features & business benefits of using XenServer to virtualize & transform your data center.

Topics include:

  • Unpack the technologies behind the Free XenServer edition.
  • Why are so many people activating and using this cool technology.
  • How easy is it to get up and running?
  • Deep dive in to the new XenServer Advanced Edition with Memory Optimization and High Availability.
  • Check out the Enterprise level features of XenServer Enterprise and Platinum Editions.
  • Master Class Plus: Chat room style! Stay online after the first hour when we will take your questions and show XenServer demos on demand.

View On-demand

Master Class – High Availability & Disaster Recovery: July 29, 2010

This video is 1 hr in duration (excluding Q&A) and it includes:

  • A short overview of free XenServer, highlighting the key features together with live demo’s that is simply making XenServer the people’s choice in server virtualization.
  • Exploring the Enterprise features and business benefits of the higher pay-for versions of XenServer.
  • A dive into XenDesktop 4 & XenApp. We demonstrate why hosting your XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure on XenServer is a “no brainer”.
  • An interview with Bernie Hannon, Citrix’s testing and scalability expert.

View On-demand

Master Class – XenServer overview and scalabilty: June 24, 2010

This video is 1 Hr in duration (excluding Q&A) It includes:

  • A short overview of free XenServer, highlighting the key features together with live demo’s that is simply making XenServer the people’s choice in server virtualization.
  • Exploring the Enterprise features and business benefits of the higher pay-for versions of XenServer.
  • A dive into XenDesktop 4 & XenApp. We demonstrate why hosting your XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure on XenServer is a “no brainer”.
  • An interview with Bernie Hannon, Citrix’s testing and scalability expert.

View On-demand

XenServer 6 Released to the Web

XenServer 6.0 has been successfully Released-To-Web and is now available for download here. Full release information here : http://blogs.citrix.com/2011/09/30/xenserver-6-0-is-here/ and more info here – http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/feature.asp?contentID=1681747#top

XenServer 6.0 Release Notes – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX130418

XenServer 6.0 Feature Matrix

What’s New

  • XenServer 6 Configuration limits – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX131047
  • Integrated Site Recovery (Disaster Recovery) – Remote data replication between storage arrays with fast recovery and failback capabilities. Integrated Site Recovery replaces StorageLink Gateway Site Recovery used in previous versions, removes the Windows VM requirement, and works with any iSCSI or Hardware HBA storage repository.
  • Integrated StorageLink – Access to use existing storage array-based features such as data replication, de-duplication, snapshot and cloning. Replaces the StorageLink Gateway technology used in previous editions and removes requirement to run a Windows VM with the StorageLink components.
  • GPU Pass-Through – Enables a physical GPU to be assigned to a VM providing high-end graphics. Allows applications to leverage GPU instructions in XenDesktop VDI deployments with HDX 3D Pro.
  • Virtual Appliance Support (vApp) –  Ability to create multi-VM and boot sequenced virtual appliances (vApps) that integrate with Integrated Site Recovery and High Availability. vApps can be easily imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard.
  • Rolling Pool Upgrade Wizard –  Simplify upgrades (automated or semi-automated) to XenServer 6.0 with a wizard that performs pre-checks with a step-by-step process that blocks unsupported upgrades.
  • Microsoft SCVMM & SCOM Support –  Manage XenServer hosts and VMs with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012. System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2012 will be also able to manage and monitor XenServer hosts and VMs. System Center integration is available with a special supplemental pack from Citrix. For more information refer to the Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager page.
  • Distributed Virtual Switch Improvements –  New fail safe mode which allows Cross-Server Private Networks, ACLs, QoS, RSPAN and Netflow settings to still be applied to a running VM in the event of vSwitch Controller failure.
  • Increased Performance and Scale –  Supported limits have been increased to 1 TB memory for XenServer hosts, and 16 virtual processors and up to 128 GB virtual memory for VMs. Improved XenTools with smaller footprint.
  • Networking Improvements – Open vSwitch is now the default networking stack in XenServer 6.0 and now provides formal support for Active-Backup NIC bonding.
  • VM Import & Export Improvements – Full support for VM disk and OVF appliance imports directly from XenCenter with the ability to change VM parameters (virtual processor, virtual memory, virtual interfaces, and target storage repository) with the Import wizard. Full OVF import support for XenServer, XenConvert and VMware.
  • SR-IOV Improvements – Improved scalability and certification with the SR-IOV Test Kit. Experimental SR-IOV with XenMotion support with Solarflare SR-IOV adapters.
  • Simplified Installer – Host installations only require a single ISO.
  • Enhanced Guest OS Support – Support for Ubuntu 10.04 (32/64-bit). Updated support for Debian Squeeze 6.0 64-bit, Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.0 (32/64-bit) and SLES 10 SP4 (32/64-bit). Experimental VM templates for CentOS 6.0 (32/64-bit), Ubuntu 10.10 (32/64-bit) and Solaris 10.
  • Workload Balancing Improvements. New, ready-to-use Linux-based virtual appliance with a smaller footprint replaces the Windows-based virtual appliance and eliminates the Windows licensing dependency.
  • XenDesktop Enhancements –  HDX enhancements for optimized user experience with virtual desktops, GPU Pass-Through, and increased VM and XenServer host limits.
  • VM Protection & Recovery – Now available for Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum Edition customers.
  • NFS Support for High Availability – HA Heartbeat disk can now reside on a NFS storage repository.
  • XenCenter Improvements – XenCenter operations now run in parallel, and XenCenter will be available in Japanese and Simplified Chinese (ETA Q4 2011).
  • Host Architectural Improvements – XenServer 6.0 now runs on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, provides GPT support and a smaller, more scalable Dom0.

More details on this release can be found in the XenServer 6.0 Product Documentation.

XenConvert 2.4 has been successfully Released-To-Web and is now available for download here.

XenConvert 2.4 adds the following improvements :

  • XenServer 6.0 support
  • Provisioning Services 6.0 support
  • Select target storage repositories during conversion
  • Copy files in use during Windows Server 2003 conversions

XenConvert virtual-to-virtual (V2V) functionality is now included in XenCenter and complements the new virtual appliance and disk image import feature in XenServer 6.0.

Provisioning Services 6.0 is now available for download here.

Blog entry with a description of the new single image management features in this release here.

New improvements include:

  • Integrated vDisk Versioning
  • Automated vDisk updates
  • Support for Replicated vDisk Storage
  • XenDesktop and Streamed VM Setup Wizards

Xen 4.1 supports the following new features:

  • A re-architected XL toolstack that is functionally nearly equivalent to XM/XEND
  • Prototype credit2 scheduler designed for latency-sensitive workloads and very large systems
  • CPU Pools for advanced partitioning
  • Support for large systems (>255 processors and 1GB/2MB super page support)
  • Support for x86 Advanced Vector eXtension (AVX)
  • New Memory Access API enabling integration of 3rd party security solutions into Xen virtualized environments
  • Even better stability through our new automated regression tests

Further information can be found in the release notes.

XL Toolstack: Xen 4.1 includes a re-architected toolstack, that is based on the new libxenlightlibrary, providing a simple and robust API for toolstacks. XL is functionally equivalent and almost entirely backwards compatible with existing XM domain configuration files. The XEND toolstack remains supported in Xen 4.1 however we strongly recommend that users upgrade to XL. For more information see the Migration Guide. Projects are underway to port XCP’s xapi and libvirt to the new libxenlight library.

Credit2 Scheduler: The credit1 scheduler has served Xen well for many years.  But it has several weaknesses, including working poorly for latency-sensitive workloads, such as network traffic and audio. The credit2 scheduler is a complete rewrite, designed with latency-sensitive workloads and very large numbers of CPUs in mind. We are still calling it a prototype scheduler as the algorithm needs more work before it will be ready to become the main scheduler. However it is stable and will perform better for some workloads than credit1.

CPU pools: The default credit scheduler provides limited mechanisms (pinning VMs to CPUs and using weights) to partition a machine and allocate CPUs to VMs. CPU pools provide a more powerful and easy to use way to partition a machine: the physical CPUs of a machine are divided into pools.  Each CPU pool runs its own scheduler and each running VM is assigned to one pool.   This not only allows a more robust and user friendly way to partition a machine, but it allows using different schedulers for different pools, depending on which scheduler works best for that workload.

Large Systems: Xen 4.1 has been extended and optimized to take advantage of new hardware features, increasing performance and scalability in particular for large systems. Xen now supports the Intel x2APIC architecture and is able to support systems with more than 255 CPUs. Further, support for EPT/VTd 1GB/2MB super pages has been added to Xen, reducing the TLB overhead. EPT/VTd page table sharing simplifies the support for Intel’s IOMMU by allowing the CPU’s Enhanced Page Table to be directly utilized by the VTd IOMMU. Timer drift has been eliminated through TSC-deadline timer support that provides a per-processor timer tick.

Advanced Vector eXtension (AVX): Support for xsave and xrestor floating point instructions has been added, enabling Xen guests to utilize AVX instructions available on newer Intel processors.

Memory Access API: The mem_access API has been added to enable suitably privileged domains to intercept and handle memory faults. This extents Xen’s security features in a new direction and enables third parties to invoke malware detection software or other security solutions on demand from outside the virtual machine.

XenServer Management Suite – doublerev


Free Tools:

  • CMB-Tool – This tool will let you create a common CPU mask to bring two XenServer hosts together in one pool using the Heterogeneous Pool feature from the XenServer Advanced Edition.
  • Pool-Watch – This tool you can monitor your XenServer environment. It will stay in the system tray and inform you if a XenServer is disabled or offline

Fee Based Tools:

  • XenTools-Update – Automatic and agent less mass update of XenTools
  • Change Poolmaster – Easily designate a new pool master
  • Storage-Analyzer – Analyze and get a deep look into your Storage
  • VM-Online-Copy – Mass and online copy of your virtual machines
  • VM-Inventory – Export detailed information of your virtual machines
  • Template-Converter – Re-convert your tempaltes to virtual machines
  • VM-Manager – Manage your virtual machine placement profiles
  • DVD-Manager – Manage all your virtual machine DVD drive

XenServer Performance and ScalabilityTesting

XenServer Scalability Configuration:

Generally speaking you should go more for a scale out scenario (higher number of VMs with lower CPU configuration) than vice versa in my experience. This is because IRQ handling in XenServer on a guest VM level is restricted to only 1 CPU. Hence if there is a log of IRQs a scaled-up VM could come to its limits. Max out hardware by higher number of VMs with lower number of vCPUs each should get better values.

Performance benchmark reports available by Cisco, HP, Dell, IBM, NetApp, EMC and Fuijts

Whatever the hypervisor XenServer, ESX 4/5, Hyper-V R2SP1, no reports of showing more than 110/120 VMs per hypervisor.

ProjectVRC – www.projectvrc.com has a number of hypervisor scalability reports created using LoginVSI the industry standard to measure user performance and the maximum amount of sessions a host can support with a decent performance.

XenServer Configuration Limits – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX131047

Concurrent VMs per host 75
Concurrent XenDesktop VMs per host (2940 MB dom0 RAM) 75 – 130
Concurrent PVS VMs per host (2940 MB dom0 RAM) 75 – 130
Concurrent XenDesktop VMs using IntelliCache per host (2940 MB dom0 RAM) 50 – 130
Concurrent protected VMs per host with HA enabled 60

XenServer Performance Tweaking Items:

Example line for xe-serial


1. XenServer (Serial)

kernel mboot.c32

append /boot/xen.gz numa=on dom0_vcpus_pin dom0_max_vcpus=4 com1=115200,8n1 console=com1,vga dom0_mem=2940M lowmem_emergency_pool=1M crashkernel=64M@32M — /boot/vmlinuz-2.6-xen root=LABEL=root-nrvrrkli ro console=tty0 xencons=hvc console=hvc0 — /boot/initrd-2.6-xen.img

Virtual Machine Performance Monitoring Tools


XenServer TroubleShooting Tools

Auto-provision of VPX / VMs on XenServer

Here is a few methods to auto-provision VMS on XenServer.. There are two methods, first is the add metadata to the VM, OVF or Template and the second is to directly read this information from XenTools commands.

Method 1:

You can add XenStore/.. metadata key value to a VM, Template or OVF. These settings are used by VPX appliance if the ns.conf does not exist.  Here is a example to Auto-provision a VPX appliance

  • Xe vm-param-set uuid=<vm uuid> xenstore-data:vm-data/ip-address= ## Needs to be done while the VM is powered
  1. Import NetScaler VPX Appliance (Do not boot)
  2. Convert this NetScaler Appliance to a XenServer Template
  3. Apply the IP details via the following commands to the Template UUID
  4. xe vm-param-add uuid=f453b65d-5d46-34b0-7efd-bef32a3484f4 param-name=xenstore-data vm-data/ip=
  5. xe vm-param-add uuid=f453b65d-5d46-34b0-7efd-bef32a3484f4 param-name=xenstore-data vm-data/netmask=
  6. xe vm-param-add uuid=f453b65d-5d46-34b0-7efd-bef32a3484f4 param-name=xenstore-data vm-data/gateway=
  7. Quick Create VM via Template and boot up (Apply name label, networks and any other configs)
  8. xe vm-clone new-name-lablel=<name_for_clone> uuid= f453b65d-5d46-34b0-7efd-bef32a3484f4
  9. xe vm-start
  10. Shell into the NS IP and upload license files (How do you do that)? Once you obtain a license from Citrix, upload it to /nsconfig/licenses and reboot VPX. Once it’s up you should be able to enable licensed features: “enable feature NAME”

Method 2:

You can use commands provided by XenTools client on both windows and linux to read vaules in the XenStore metadata key:

Windows Command

  • “C:\Program Files\Citrix\XenTools\xenstore_client.exe” read vm-data/ip-address

Linux Commands

  • xenstore-chmod   xenstore-exists  xenstore-list    xenstore-ls      xenstore-read    xenstore-rm      xenstore-write


How to auto-provision VPX Appliance – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128236 & http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128250

XenServer API – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127586

Evaluating the XenStore Data Structure – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX116211

More info on XenStore –  http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/XenIntro

New Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta Program Now Available

New Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta Program Now Available

The XenServer product team is pleased to announce the availability of the new Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta Program release for the XenServer virtual platform.  As with previous XenServer Beta Programs, this release is available to all registered mycitrix.com account holders and everyone is encouraged to download, install, and experience the newest features in development in the industry’s fastest growing hypervisor and virtual infrastructure solution. Click here to download the beta.

XenServer 6.0 Beta Webinar

The Citrix XenServer Product team will host live webinar unveiling new capabilities and improvements in development for the XenServer product. Register to attend the live Beta Program Webinar on July 6th at 11 AM EST and get an overview of the newest technology from the XenServer team including detailed feature demonstrations and how-tos for new capabilities in development for future versions of the XenServer virtualization platform. This 60 minute event will give you a full understanding of what to expect and all the details to download the software and participate in the Beta Program. Experts will also stay on the line to answer questions submitted by webinar attendees. Click here to register.

XenServer Beta to feature many new capabilities and enhancements.

The Beta Program will showcase several new features in development for the XenServer product line. Notable new highlights include:

  • Continued Product Simplification & Ease of Use: All management functionality delivered by easy to deploy, Linux-based virtual appliances
  • Cloud Building Tools & Self-service: New Self-Service Manager Feature enables customers to build virtual private cloud environments that deliver pre-configured multi-VM catalogs, user self-service, and all the policy and control mechanisms required.
  • XenDesktop Enhancement & Improvements: Boston Beta represents the first inclusion of HDX enhancements for optimized user experience with virtual desktops including GPU pass-through.
  • Microsoft System Center Integration: The XenServer fabric can now be directly managed from Systems Center including pool management, machine operations and network configuration.
  • Architectural Improvements: Inclusion of the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, Open vSwitch is now the default network stack for XenServer, and many performance and scalability enhancements.


… and there are many other improvements beyond those included on the list above. Visit XenServer Beta Central for a full list of enhancements and improvements included in the Beta release and to get full details on participation, provide feedback, and get any new announcements or developments in the program.

VMware vSphere vs Citrix XenServer Cost Calculator

Download VMware vSphere vs Citrix XenServer Cost Calculator here :- VMware vs XenServer Cost Analysis – v1

Objectives of the Calculator

The calculator is a tool to assist getting in front of IT Decision makers to educate, visualize and discuss VMware vs XenServer cost comparison and identify business requirements, matching features to editions and simplifying the complexity of various licensing options.
How to Use the Calculator
To compare VMware vs XenServer Costs, simply complete the items in the green section and take note of the comments.

  • Number of Host Servers
  • Number CPUs per host

The VMware vs XenServer Calculator has tabs that contain the following for easy reference:

  • XenServer Editions and Features List
  • VMware Editions and Features List
  • Citrix XenServer Support Options

Clearly explain the highlighted points and difference between products and support agreements..

Someone is targeting my blog/this post with SPAM, please ignore any rude photos at the bottom of this blog.. WordPress.com is trying to fix it atm