How to upgrade XenServer 6.5 to XenServer 7.0

In this blogpost I will show you how to upgrade XenServer 6.5 to XenServer 7.0. Recently Citrix released XenServer 7. As you can see on my blog, I am a big fan of Citrix solutions :). So now I was wondering: how can I upgrade my Citrix XenServer 6.5 setup without losing the configuration. First of all, let’s take a look at some new features in Citrix XenServer 7.

What’s new in Citrix XenServer 7:

  • Intel Iris Pro Graphics GPU support
  • NVIDIA GRID vGPU support for Linux Applications
  • Up to 128 vm’s per host with the NVIDIA vGPU M6/M60 graphics card
  • Windows Update integration for XenTools

These are a few things I like. There are far more new features, take a look at the Citrix XenServer site here.

Requirements for the upgrade:

  • Citrix XenServer 6.5 with SP1 and all the latest hotfixes
  • Citrix XenServer 7 ISO (www.citrix.com)

My homelab setup

Since I don’t have additional hardware to run XenServer, I installed it as a virtual machine on Hyper-V 2012 R2. This is fine for testing purposes. Just make sure you create the virtual machine als a Generation 1 vm and add the Legacy Network Adapter. Also make sure that you don’t have anything else running on the disk where XenServer is installed. The partition scheme on that disk will be altered during the upgrade process.

Let’s start.

Upgrade XenServer 6.5

Check the version of XenServer using the console.

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Check the version of XenServer using Citrix XenCenter. Note that I am still using XenCenter 6.5. When I’m done updating the XenServer host to version 7, I will install XenCenter 7. Keep reading for that.

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So everything is looking great. Let’s mount the Citrix XenServer 7 ISO using the properties of the virtual machine.

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We can now reboot the host. Make sure it boots from the XenServer 7 ISO, so set it to boot from CD.

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Click on Yes to reboot the server.

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The host will now boot from the Citrix XenServer 7 ISO. Press Enter to start the upgrade proces.

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Choose your keyboard layout. Then choose OK.

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You will be prompted to load additional drivers. I don’t have any so I choose OK.

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Accept the EULA.

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If you run XenServer as a virtual machine, you will get a warning that Hardware Virtualization Assist is not available. This is correct since it is a virtual machine and cannot provide virtualization support for vm’s on it. Choose OK.

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The installer will now detect your Citrix XenServer 6.5 installation, and will provide you with the upgrade option. How great is that! Choose Upgrade XenServer and then OK.

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The installer will need to create a backup. Choose OK to continue.

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Select the installation source. Because I am using a ISO I choose Local media. Choose OK to continue.

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I will not be installing any supplemental packs. Choose NO to continue.

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I choose not to verify the media, because I am sure it is ok since I just downloaded it successfully from the Citrix website. Choose OK to continue.

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The installer has collected all the required information now to perform the upgrade. Choose Install XenServer to continue.

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The installation will now start.

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It will run trough a couple of screens, and then present you with the screen where it says Installation complete. At this point you can unmount the ISO from the virtual cd, and choose Enter to reboot.

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After reboot you will be presented with the GRUB bootloader. Select the first option and press Enter. If you do not press a key during the GRUB bootloader, it will automatically choose the first option and start XenServer.

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Wait for XenServer to load.

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After it has booted completely you will be presented with the xsconsole. As we can see the upgrade went great and XenServer is running happily in my vm.

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Setup XenCenter 7

To manage your new XenServer host you have to install XenCenter 7. Download the installer from Citrix (www.citrix.com) and start the setup. Click on Next.

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The defaults work fine for me. Check that you set them according to your needs. Click Next to continue.

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Click on Install to start the installation.

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After the installation has finished, click on Finish.

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Now it is time to start XenCenter.

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As you can see it has detected my connection to my XenServer 6.5 host. Right-click that and click Connect.

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You can then choose to enrol Health Check. I did not, so I just clicked on Close.

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And we can see the XenServer host version information using XenCenter now.

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So that’s it, the upgrade went great.

This concludes this tutorial. Feel free to contact me of you have any questions or comments. You can also follow me on twitter or add the rss feed from the blog and you will be notified when I add new posts.

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Vikash works as a technical consultant for a system integrator in the Netherlands, with over 10 years experience in application and desktop delivery. Virtualization is his passion, and his main focus is design and implementation of Cloud and hybrid environments using Citrix and Microsoft solutions. In addition he has broad interest and knowledge in XenMobile and VMware based solutions.