Monthly Archives: March 2017

[Updated] Citrix XenServer 7: Unattended Installation Pitfalls

Citrix XenServer 7.x still supports the previous approach for Network Boot Installation of XenServer hosts that is based on PXE, TFTP, HTTP or NFS, and some post install shell scripting. However, if you adopt your existing XenServer 6.x deployment system you may face some challenges due to changes that I didn’t found explicitly mentioned in the installation guide.

Given that you have experience with unattended XenServer 6.x deployments, I just want to quickly share two major issues that prevented the installation process succeeding:

1. Carefully double-check the files in the pxelinux.cfg directory, especially the append statement. Within that statement there has to be the word “install”. Example (see line 4):

2. Unlike previous versions, XenServer 7.x won’t execute a “XenServer First Boot” shell script in /etc/rc3.d (chmod +x given). Although it will execute a shell script in /etc/init.d that has a proper symbolic link in /etc/rc3.d you should be aware of the fact that XenServer 7 uses systemd for bootup (instead of Sys V style). Therefore I recommend to embrace systemd. For an example see CTX217700)

Please note that systemd might terminate a long-running “XenServer First Boot” script due to exceeding a timeout limit. A simple approach to avoid that is to set TimeoutStartSec to “infinity” as follows:

A rather sophisticated approach to avoid script termination is to set the systemd unit’s type for “XenServer First Boot” to “notify” (in the code above it is “simple”). The notify type binds you to add notification commands to the XenServer First Boot script. systemd-notify seems a proper command for that purpose. But I haven’t tested it as I opted for the infinit timeout approach.

Hope this helps