XCP Overview

From Xen

What is XCP?

Xen Cloud Platform The Xen Cloud Platform (or XCP) is a turnkey virtualization solution that provides out-of-the box virtualization and cloud computing. XCP includes the Xen Hypervisor, the enterprise ready Xen API toolstack with functionality such as

  • the capability to manage pools of host systems
  • support for advanced storage repositories
  • support for mutli-tenancy
  • support for SLA guarantees
  • and detailed metrics for consumption based charging and more,

and pre-integrated network and disk functionality such as Open vSwitch.

XCP and XenServer

XenServer is Citrix' commercial distribution of XCP. XCP contains a subset of features of XenServer functionality: for a detailed comparison see XCP/XenServer Feature Comparison.

Flavours of XCP

XCP comes in two flavours:

  • XCP ISO : Installs like XenServer and comes with the same drivers as XenServer, is mostly the same code as XenServer and is based on a specific version of Xen and an optimized CentOS 5 Dom0 Kernel
  • XCP-XAPI Packages : These are XCP packages that are delivered in Linux distros (currently only Debian and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or newer) and are installed via your host OS'es package manager

The table below compares the two flavours:

Black-box style appliance 1) Linux packages (assemble your own system)
CentOS 5.x based Dom0 Most components provided by distro
Managed using XAPI Managed using XAPI
Supports most XenServer features Some restructions
Supports most storage repository (SR) types Limited set of shared SR types
Only works with supplied CentOS Dom 0 Support for Debian/Ubuntu host OS (plans for Fedora and other distros)
Hard to customize Easy to customize
Hard to build from source Easy to build from source

1) XCP replaces all software installed on your machine, but will upgrade from older versions of XCP

This document - Xen vs. XCP vs. XCP on Linux - compares the two types of install in a slightly different manner.

XAPI Toolstack and Command Line

One of the core differences between Xen and XCP is the XCP Toolstack (XAPI) and the commandline console (XE). For a general overview of toolstacks supportedf by Xen see the Xen Toolstack Overview.


For a feature matrix, see XCP Release Features.

Management Options

Command Line tools

XCP is delivered with the XE command line tool. If you're not interested in a GUI, you can SSH to the XCP server itself, and run the built-in command line tools (XE and XL). You can also install the management CLI on a separate Linux box.

Desktop UIs

Two popluar UIs are:

  • OpenXenManager: Another popular management UI is OpenXenManager, which is an open source clone of Citrix's XenServer XenCenter and manages both XCP and Citrix's XenServer.

Web UIs

Two popular web UIs for XCP are:

  • Xen VCN Proxy (XVP): An open source suite of open source programs for management of virtual machines running on Citrix® XenServer™ and Xen Cloud Platform (XCP)
  • XenWebManager: Open source project to manage XCP and XenServer virtual machines with web (similar to XenCenter). It is web-based and shares OpenXenManager's codebase

Further options

Also See

Integration with Cloud Orchestration Stacks

  • Apache CloudStack: Apache CloudStack is open source software written in java that is designed to deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines, as a highly available, scalable cloud computing platform. CloudStack current supports the most popular open source hypervisors VMware, Oracle VM, KVM, XenServer and Xen Cloud Platform. CloudStack offers three ways to manage cloud computing environments: a easy-to-use web interface, command line and a full-featured restful API.
  • OpenNebula: OpenNebula is an open-source project aimed at building the industry standard open source cloud computing tool to manage the complexity and heterogeneity of distributed data center infrastructures. You can find more information on XCP drivers for OpenNebula.
  • OpenStack: OpenStack is a collection of open source technologies delivering a massively scalable cloud operating system. Also see Category:OpenStack for documents related to XCP - OpenStack integration.


Installable ISO

  1. Download the ISO from the xen.org download page
  2. Boot/install it on a fresh machine (likely using the whole available hard drive)
  3. Configure the network from the very brief administrative interface that stays on the screen after installation
  4. Manage the server over the network using CLI tools, or a GUI management tool.
  5. Now you can start installing and running supported guest VMS using paravirtualization or hardware virtualization.
    1. You can run hardware virtualization (HVM) guests only if your machine has the necessary hardware to support it.
    2. Otherwise any CPU can run paravirtualization (PV) guests, it just means you're limited to the guest OSes and kernel versions that specifically support PV (e.g. Ubuntu 10.04 for example supports PV).

There's a great article here that shows screen-shots all the way through the installation process: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/xen-cloud.html

From the Debian/Ubuntu Repos

You can install xapi, the XenAPI management server, on a Debian or Ubuntu system.

  1. Install Debian, or Ubuntu, using your preferred method
apt-get install xcp-xapi

See Installing Xapi on a Debian-based system for more information.

Getting Help!

The Xen and XCP community are helpful and friendly people. We are here for you. There are several ways to get help and keep on top of what is going on!

  • Read News!
  • Read Documentation!
  • Contact other users, to ask the questions and discuss Xen, XCP or other Xen related projects

News Sources


Documentation for projects hosted on Xen.org is available on the Xen Wiki. Our wiki is active and community maintained. It contains a lot of useful information and uses categories extensively to make it easy to find information. You may also want to check:


Category:Manual covers manuals for both Xen and XCP. XenServer/XCP documentation is based on XenServer documentation with an errata document outlining the differences supplied.

Other Documents

Mailing Lists

Search Mailing Lists All Xen.org mailing lists are archived using the MarkMail system at xen.markmail.org. Before you ask a question, it is worth checking whether somebody else has asked the question before

Main Mailing Lists Xen.org maintains a number of mailing lists for users of Xen, the Xen Cloud Platform and other projects. English is used by readers on this list.

  • xen-api is the list for technical support and discussions for the Xen Cloud Platform (XCP).


Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a great way to connect with Xen community members in real time chat and for support.

  • ##xen is the freenode channel for technical support and discussions for the Xen hypervisor and XCP. If you are not sure where your question belongs start here!
  • There is also the #xen-api freenode channel, mostly frequented by XCP developers
  • Check out our IRC page if you are not familiar with IRC.

Other places

There are a number of other places, where you can get help on Xen and XCP. For example:

Raising Bugs

If you find a bug, you can report bugs against Xen, or the Xen Cloud Platform. Before you raise a bug, please read Reporting Bugs against XCP!

Get Involved

The XCP Overview for Developers gives you more information about the XCP project itself.