Getting Started

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The aim of this document is to guide a new user through the decisions needed in order to get a Xen Project system up and running and to provide a jumping off point for more specific documentation to meet their aims. Also see Xen Project Software Overview.

Getting Xen Project Software

The recommended way for most people to get Xen Project is to install via your distribution wherever possible. There are many distros which have good support for Xen Project included right out of the box. This option is generally much simpler than the alternatives since many of the common pitfalls are eliminated by consuming existing tested packages. You will also benefit from being able to ask the distribution community for help which will often result in responses which are more specific to the distribution in question.

Selecting Domain 0 Operating System / Distro

The selection of a domain 0 operating system is largely one of personal preference and/or existing skillset. If you are already familiar with a particular distribution in a non-Xen Project context then this is likely to be the best choice for you, assuming that the distribution has support for Xen Project.

Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSuSE, SLES, XCP, Oracle VM, Fedora, NetBSD are all known to have good support for Xen Project in their current releases.

You can find articles on how to install Xen Project on various distributions in Category:Host Install. In addition Host OS Install Considerations contains advice on things to consider while installing your domain 0 operating system.

Installing Xen Project From Source

If you are planning to develop on Xen Project or you require a bleeding edge feature which is not yet available in the distributions then you may find that you need to build from source.

Compiling Xen From Source and Compiling Xen From Source on NetBSD describes how to go about doing this.

Selecting a Domain 0 Kernel

Xen Project no longer ships with a particular kernel which is recommended for domain 0 usage (nor domain U for that matter). This is because Xen Project support in distributions and in mainline kernels is now more than sufficient for most use cases.

As with the installation of the hypervisor itself, the best option is generally to use your distribution kernel.

As of Linux v3.0 everything which is needed for a functional domain 0 is included in the mainline Linux tree and this has led to renewed support for Xen Project domain 0 by distributions. See above for a list of distributions which have good support for the Xen Project hypervisor.

Dom0 Kernels for Xen lists the various domain 0 kernels which are available. For a comparison of the features of various kernels you can see Xen Kernel Feature Matrix.

Selecting Toolstack

There are several toolstacks which can be used with Xen Project. Choice of Toolstacks discusses the features of the various toolstacks and the various use cases where they may be appropriate.

Host Configuration

Once you have installed Xen Project and selected your toolstack some further host configuration may be required. Category:Host Configuration has information on this. There are also some Live CDs, DVDs, etc. available for Xen Project.

Installing a Guest

Category:Guest Install contains guides on how to install a variety of guests. Guest VM Images provides pointers to various preinstalled guest images.

Provisioning tools for Xen Project: xen-tools, virt-install, etc.

Xen-tools is a straight-forward VM provisioning tool. For more information see:

On the versions of Xen Project software which support libvirt, you can use virt-install to provision the hypervisor and the VMs.


Category:Networking contains guides on how to set up networking with Xen Project.

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