TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

Using TKL appliances in the XenServer

c.boulanger's picture


I am using XenServer 5.5 on a remote machine where I cannot attach an ISO. XenServer 5.5 does not support the .ovf format. To import the appliance, I need an appliance package containing an .ova file. I wonder if you could provide the "core" appliance in this format?


Jeremy Davis's picture

Xen images are already available on SourceForge

Although I'm not sure which versions they will work for. Liraz recently mentioned that he was uploading ESX/ESXi images and Xen images were to be uploaded soon after. If you look at TKL's SourceForge files you will see that the whole appliance range has been added with -xen.tar.bz2 at the end of the filename. I think it would be safe to assume these are Xen images. Have a go and let us know how it works out.

Christian's picture

Hi, unfortunately, the Xen

Hi, unfortunately, the Xen images are "images", i.e. a tar'ed filesystem. They cannot be imported into the XenServer. Xen (the open sourced technology underlying XenServer) and XenServer seem to be very different products when it comes to migrating VMs. Here is a page that explains the difference between the XenServer (5.5) XVA and the OVF format:


There seem to be some tools to convert between XenServer, OVF and VMWare:




I can try to do this myself - but wondered if you had plans to support XenServer so I could save myself some trouble.


Jeremy Davis's picture

Oh ok.

Sorry I misunderstood. I'm not a TKL dev so I can't speak for them, but my suspicion is that if it is a proprietry format it won't be supported (at least not officially). And I'm 99% sure that they aren't currently.

sbscherer's picture

XenServer-ready tar.gz filesystems to ISO Conversion Process

I still haven't figured it out yet, but it sounds like Liraz knows how to do it.  If you figure it out, please post directions.  See the post at the link below.


Christian's picture

Yes, it would be good to have

Yes, it would be good to have a word from Liraz before I dive into something where I not really know what I am doing ... :-)

sbscherer's picture

Can't Figure it Out

I spent several hours and gave up.  I know I was probably starting to get close, but I was getting errors I didn't understand, everything from the decompression of the tar.gz2 to the installation of the final live ISO.  I may be putting together my own appliances for a while.  


Guest's picture

I made ubuntu 8.04 run on Xenserver

I onced used Xenserver 5.0 and was able to make an ubuntu server template and make it run. It was not easy, as Xenserver doesn't support ubuntu as official guest. You can take a look at the instructions (spanish only sorry) here. You will have to replace the TKL appliance kernel with a XenServer compatible kernel. Have you tryed uploading the iso? At that time, I had an openfiler appliance running where I uploaded isos and used as a NAS for Xenserver to use iso images. 

It's not an easy task, the fact that they did never officially support ubuntu as guest made me change to Proxmox. I'm very happy with the change as I never used/needed the extra tools that citrix sell for xenserver. 

But, Liraz is the guru, maybe he knows how to make it work!

Christian's picture

Hello, thank you for your


thank you for your information! Actually, I don't care about XenServer that much, it just happens the system I am running. If I can migrate everything from XenServer to TKL and then into the cloud, I will happily look at ProxMox or other solutions to migrate everything back on my server - whatever works! Getting rid of XenServer would also allow to get rid of the windows-only tools that require me to run Windows in a VM. 



Adrian Moya's picture

What do you have running on XenServer actually?

Oh yes, that XenCenter for windoze! no It make me had a VM with windows just to run it! Migrating "everything from XenServer to TKL" depends if what you're running in XenServer has an existing appliance in TKL. You'll have to make a migration plan for each server. If you, for instance, have a drupal running, you can get a VM running with TKL drupal appliance and try to make the migration exporting the data. If everything went ok, you can keep your data and when you start in your new server do the same steps you did in your "simulation". (You'll have to keep notes of the steps you make). 

I guarantee you that the change to Proxmox worth the migration. But be carefull to make a backup plan in case things don't go the way you expected. Also, if you're considering move to a public cloud, Turnkey Hub will be an excellent choice. Just make your tests locally first, and if everything goes ok, launch the desired TKL appliance to amazon and make the migration. Once you have all them in the cloud, you can turn off your Xenserver. 

Last but not least: if you want your private cloud, you could try Ubuntu's Enterprise Cloud or wait for the first release of OpenStack (I'm waiting anxiously for this one!). Everything will depend on the services you're currently running and if you have a deadline. 

Good luck!

Christian's picture

I need to migrate a bunch of

I need to migrate a bunch of Zope/Plone Servers. The hardware of the server I am on now doesn't work with XenServer very well (driver issues), so I need to get that stuff off there as soon as possible, but without interrupting the service (a bad situation). So I need to have everything running somewhere else before pointing the domain to the migrated VMs. Thanks for your pointers and moral support - I will look carefully at what I'll be putting on the server before migrating back to the server! 

Adrian Moya's picture

I didn't know about zope/plone

It's the first time I hear about this project, it looks fine. There is no Zope/Plone TKL available, but you could build your own TKLPatch for it. You can get help in the dev wiki and here in the forums. It would also depend on the running Plones versions too, as I see version 4 is the last one recently released. 

No downtime is the hard part here. As you say, you'll have to get everything running on a public cloud to be able to shutdown your Xenserver and install another solution TKL-compatible (or should I say, Ubuntu-compatible). It could even be VMWare ESXi (I prefer proxmox as I don't like VMWare policies for anything) but VMWare is able to run almost any OS as guest. 

Just curious, why did you look at TKL if there's no Zope/Plone appliance? I guess you're preparing for the future, planning to use other appliances? TKL 10.04 will be released soon (I hope) and it's going to be a wonderfull release. I think there is still time to contribute with this Zope/Plone appliance. 

Christian's picture

Plone is a really powerful

Plone is a really powerful CMS, way more powerful than any of the PHP-based CMSs. It really needs its own server, though, because it requires a lot of computing power. 

I came to TKL mainly because of the new TKL Backup and Migration feature. The idea to "setup once, deploy anywhere" is really attractive, plus the painless and resource-saving backups. My current situation just shows how great this idea is: if I want to do repairs on my server with no downtime, migrating into the public cloud and back is a snap once everything is set up. Unfortunately, my stuff is not on a TKL VM yet ...

I'd be happy to contribute a Plone appliance, but won't have the time for at least a couple of months ...

Adrian Moya's picture

Could you please list your wishlist for an appliance?

I started to look at Plone and it looks real nice. I'm creating the TKLPatch and of course, I'm very newbe to this CMS. I installed Plone 4 from install script as zeocluster. I've check the init script. But I now there must be some requeriments to have this deployed to production. Is it desirable to have apache in front of Plone? Which are the best practices for setting up a production Plone? 

Thanks beforehand! I hope that if I get this TKLPatch out you'll download and try it ;)

Guest's picture

Plone AMI

Hi Christian,

You might be interested in checking out out our free Plone AMI, available if you sign up at http://jazkarta.com/plone-ami-signup  and give us your AWS account ID.


Christian's picture

Hi Nate - that sounds

Hi Nate - that sounds interesting! My Plone instances are buidout-based and pretty complex with some external dependencies, so I don't know whether this would work out of the box - but thanks anyways, I'll look into it. 

I still hope Liraz can tell us a bit more on XenServer and TKL - and if it is just that it is not supported. I did understand that there will be no easy solution and it will cost me a couple of days and some work to achieve what I want to achieve. But as we all know - there is no such thing as a free lunch! ;-)

Adrian Moya's picture

TKLPatch available for testing




Please provide some feedback. Thanks!

Christian's picture


I will try it out to upgrade my 3.3.5 instances as soon as I get to it. Thank you very much for your work! You should also announce it to the Plone community, e.g. here: http://plone.org/support/forums



Adrian Moya's picture

You're welcome!

I prefer to wait until this appliance goes official to publish something in the Plone community. Maybe they can contribute testing the appliance, but I don't know if they will be willing to follow the patching procedure, not being TKL users.

Liraz Siri's picture

Too bad Citrix is not a good open source citizen

OK I've finally had a chance to take a look at this XVA XenServer format. From the looks of it I suspect the only reason Citrix decided to invent yet another proprietary format to facilitate vendor lock-in. Otherwise why not just use (or at least support!) the same formats supported by the open source version of Xen? I also find it suspicious that there is precious little documentation for converting XVA to other more standard formats.

That the official support toolset is Windows only is also incredibly boneheaded. Especially for a Linux based hypervisor. These guys obviously have developers who can develop full Linux support so I'm thinking the lack of support is no coincidence. Something is rotten in the kingdom of Citrix!

Bottom line, Citrix doesn't play nice with the open source community. I don't see why we should bend over backwards to support their intentionally crippled proprietary product.

In the meantime there should be reasonable workarounds for anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck on a XenServer deployment that doesn't support installation from ISO. Convert the OVF formats, install the ISO on another Citrix installation and export the XVA file, etc.

PS: Sorry for the late response.

Christian's picture

Liraz, I totally agree with

Liraz, I totally agree with you. I want to get rid of the XenServer, it was a bad choice to begin with. It is just that I spent so many hours to get this running ... I need to be able to migrate it while I reconfigure the server, the reason I came across TKL in the first place. So wish me luck!


Liraz Siri's picture

Fingers crossed

Best of luck and keep us posted! There are various shades of proprietary software evil and you seem to have been accidentally caught up in a particularly nasty one. Ugh. I didn't realize how bad Citrix XenServer was until looking into this today.

BTW, your comment on TKLBAM being the killer app that made you migrate to TurnKey was a big morale boost over here. Glad you're finding it useful!

Christian's picture

I think the TKLBAM idea is the greatest thing since ...

... the invention of the toaster! smiley Seriously, this will make my life just so much easier. I am not a professional sysadmin, and I don't plan to become one. As a web app developer, I have always hated to deal with things that I am not qualified for, at the same time being so dependent on them. Virtualization with secure and maintained VMs plus backup plus server independence/easy migration will be the key to my happiness (at least on the server front).


Guest's picture

Citrix XenServer

I disagree about Citrix Xenserver. The product is solid and haven't disappointed me for almost 1,5 year. I am using windows and linux hosts on xenserver 5.5 and 5.6. The only drawback is the lack of .xva virtual appliances from the community. But i have built my own for general use which i configure yo my needs after the import. It is very sad that i cannot use tkl images though. Anyway you are doing a great job and of course the final solution is amazon cloud for all of us ...

Jeremy Davis's picture

I don't think anyone was questioning quality

More just questioning the proprietry philosophy that results in lack of pre-created images. IMO open source philosophy results in higher level of community engagement. Were Citrix to operate in a more open way I'm sure TKL devs would be happy to support it with pre-created images. Still if you make convert TKL to XenServer images then you can migrate back and forth betyween your XenServer and AWS easily with TKLBAM.

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