Creating a Xen DomU on Debian “squeeze” (6.0.6)

3 Jan

This applies to a default (=debian-packages) installation of Xen on “squeeze” using LVM for storage management.

Tested with these package versions:

  • xen-hypervisor-4.0-amd64: 4.0.1-5.5
  • xen-tools: 4.2-1

Choose a name for the DomU host and select the LVM volume group to be used for the new filesystem:


Assuming a physical extent (PE) size of 256 MB, create a new logical volume with 10GB (= 40 × 256MB).

sudo lvcreate —verbose —extents 40 —name ${VM_NAME}_root $LVM_VG_NAME

Now the DomU can be installed using the following command. The new LV will be used for the root filesystem, the RAM will be set to 1GB and a private IP will be assigned. The xen-create-image tool will use the current testing distribution for installation via debootstrap.

Using the --pygrub switch is essential, as otherwise the DomU won’t be able to boot (no kernel and bootloader would be installed).

sudo xen-create-image \
  —hostname=$VM_NAME \
  —image-dev=/dev/$LVM_VG_NAME/${VM_NAME}_root \
  —noswap \
  —size=10G \
  —memory=1024M \
  —ip= \
  —netmask= \
  —gateway= \
  —broadcast= \
  —dist=testing \
  —pygrub \

Now, create a mount point for the root filesystem and mount it there. This is done since we need to fix the kernel image before we can actually start up the DomU:

sudo mkdir -pv /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root
sudo mount /dev/mapper/$LVM_VG_NAME-${VM_NAME}_root /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root

The above described Xen installation unfortunately can’t boot the bzImage kernels shipped by Debian (see bugs 519149 and 695056). Therefore we need to extract them and re-compress them with gzip. For the first part we use a script that is part of the official Linux kernel source tree: extract-vmlinux.

cd /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root/boot/
KERNEL_IMG=$(ls vmlinuz-*-amd64 | tail -n 1)
sudo cp -v ${KERNEL_IMG} ${KERNEL_IMG}.orig
cd /tmp
wget —no-check-certificate
chmod +x extract-vmlinux
./extract-vmlinux /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root/boot/${KERNEL_IMG} > ${KERNEL_IMG}
gzip ${KERNEL_IMG}
sudo cp -v ${KERNEL_IMG}.gz /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root/boot/${KERNEL_IMG}

Finally, we can unmount the DomU root filesystem and start up the host:

sudo umount /mnt/domUs/$VM_NAME/root
sudo xm create /etc/xen/domUs/${VM_NAME}.cfg —console_autoconnect

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