Xen Project FAQ Compatibility

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Which OSes run on Xen Project?

To achieve such high performance, Xen Project requires that OSes are ported to run on it.

See Xen Dom 0 Kernels and Xen Project Dom U support

Does Xen Project support Microsoft Windows?

The paravirtualized approach we use to get such high performance has not been usable directly for Windows to date. However Xen 3.0 added Intel VT-x support to enable the running of unmodified guest operating systems, including Windows XP & 2003 Server, using hardware virtualization technology. Xen 3.0.2 and later support AMD Pacifica technology as well. Check to see if your CPU is among the list of HVM Compatible Processors, and if your motherboard is among the list of HVM Compatible Motherboards.

(Note: This does not necessarily mean, that just about _any_ OS runs in HVM Mode! Reports vary about getting *BSD to work in HVM mode, on the Mailing List there's only 1 success for OpenBSD (http://www.openbsd-france.org/ml/archives/msg02494.html), no success message for the others, but some problem reports)

Does Xen Project run on laptops?

The Xen Project hypervisor will typically run on laptops.

Which architectures does Xen Project support?

Xen Project currently runs on the x86, x86_64 and ARM architectures. As of Xen 4.3 Xen requires at least x86 64-bit for the hypervisor. Xen used to be supported on IA64 (Itanium) but that support was dropped as of Xen 4.2 and Linux v3.14. On x86 Xen Project requires a "P6" or newer processor (that's any Intel or AMD x86 CPU purchased in the last seven years). Multiprocessor and multicore machines are supported, including support for Hyper-Threading (SMT). Support for x86/64 is available since Xen 3.0. We hope to add other architectures such as PPC.

32bit and 64bit

The 32bit and 64bit questions are many and more complex than you might think. Things can be 32bit, 32bit PAE or 64bit. There is the hardware, the xen hypervisor, the dom0 kernel and userland and the domU kernel and userland.

32bit PAE Hypervisor
32bit PAE PV DomU Yes
64bit PV DomU No
32bit HVM DomU Yes
64bit HVM DomU No

Which VGA Adaptors work with VGA pass-through?

There is a community maintained list at Xen VGA Passthrough Tested Adapters.

Do the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers work with Xen Project?

A few people claim to be able to use them (mostly on older kernels), but for many more folks, they appear to be problematic. Until someone comes up with a real solution to the problem, it is safer to stay with the Open Source drivers (which do work, but have lower performance).

In some sense, the issue with any proprietary video driver is "Does it support Xen Project?" rather than "Does Xen Project support the driver?" The proprietary driver provider is the only one who has all the information to make the driver work. The project is happy to get it working if we can, but we don't have knowledge about what's hidden behind the proprietary curtain.

Is Xen Project 4.x incompatible with Xen 3.x

No. The 4.x version was just a version bump and had no more impact on compatibility than any other new version of Xen. See Xen Project Version Compatibility for more information on compatibility between versions of Xen Project software.

Where do I find more Compatibility related FAQs?

See Xen_Common_Problems#Compatibility