Monday, July 20, 2009

Virtual Iron > Citrix XenServer Conversion

With the purchase of Virtual Iron by Oracle we decided to move away from VI/Oracle and into the realm of either MS HyperVisor or Citrix XenServer. This lead us to the need of converting Virtual Iron VM's to XenServer VM's as we tested out Citrix XenServer.

I began by removing the Virtual Iron tools installation and then exporting a test server that was created with a Virtual Iron logical disk (ie boot source of "Disk") to a .vhd format. Download and Open XenConvert v2.0 and convert from VHD to Xen Virtual Appliance format. This will create an ova.xml and related directories for importing into XenServer (you could convert directly into XenServer as well). Open XenServer and select Import > Browse > change file types to "XenServer Virtual Appliance Version 1 (ova.xml) > select the ova.xml file > Select Home Server > Select Storage > Click Import.

A 20 Gig .vhd took approx 20 mins to import and I didn't see a progress bar. Instead when it was completed the option for starting the server became available. Once the VM was started I removed the VI tools and installed the XenServer tools.

I haven't attempted a server that is raw LUN boot (ie boot source of SAN), but will post when I do and whether it's successful or not.

Edit: The import progress bar is displayed on the logs tab.

Note: I found it extremely important to remove the VI Tools before the conversion. Otherwise a lot of issues would begin on the second boot of the VM.


  1. Hey there, were up in Seattle and today we are doing the exact same thing as you are. Testing the VI to Xen conversion process. We too are looking to move off of Virtual Iron into Xenserver, I just think it's funny you are doing this today. If you want to share info, tip or tricks, I can get you my information more privately somehow.


  2. Hey Todd, I hope all of your conversions have been going well. Have you gotten a chance to test out boot from LUN servers conversion yet? I'll likely get my XenServer node connected to the iSCSI SAN tomorrow and give it a go.

    Must be fresh on everyones mind this week.

    I'd love to share info with you. Not sure how to get you my email address without posting it here, but I normally don't do that for spam amongst other reasons heh ;) Perhaps I'm paranoid.

    Email me at and I'll reply with my "real" address. Be interesting to see how much spam if any is generated from this :)

  3. Yeah, I wanted to start with using the DAS first, I will be connecting it to a iscsi san this week. Can you convert right off the LUN, that would save the process of exporting the vhd's?

    I sent you an email to the address above.

  4. I'm hoping that they can be converted from the LUN. My environement is mixed with the way I set it up so some of the disks can't be converted to .vhd using the VI interface.

    I have a few ideas to try today so we'll see...

  5. Anybody have any luck on booting from iSCSI? I imported the xva and it booted the first time, then on the next boot I got the invalid boot.ini and ntdetect error. Of course you can't repair because it's on the iscsi and you can't connect to it because you don't have IP yet... I'm thinking it may work if you make the drive a slave on a vm using local storage and edit the boot.ini that way... Not sure....

  6. Hey Randy,

    I have now successfully converted several machines to iSCSI.
    I have seen the error that you mention and here is how I fixed it. Has worked like a charm each time I've seen the error now.

    From my post:
    the initial boot of the server was fine, but after a shutdown I began to receive the error "NT Detect Failed" when booting. I was able to fix this by booting to the installation CD and running a repair (R). Once at the prompt I ran chkdsk /r which resolved the issue.

  7. Perfect Aaron, that worked great...
    thanks for the help.

  8. Great, Glad it worked for you!

  9. Did you buy essentials so you can migrate??? I'm just using the free version right now, but if I buy will I be able to migrate the VMs I create with the free???

  10. We did not buy essentials as it's only needed for advanced functionality. It would be nice, but not currently worth the $ to us.

    There is no need to migrate your VM's. If you buy Essentials all that happens is Citrix sends you new license keys for the hosts that unlock the HA and other features in your current installation. All the functionality is already installed with the free version, just locked. Absolutely no installation needed for Essentials, just update licensing and play. :)

  11. Just found this:

    All editions are fully compatible. Citrix XenServer and Essentials for XenServer systems can be upgraded in place via license key, with no additional software installation or downtime required. Pricing is done on a per server basis.