Citrix XenClient

Virtualization is pervasive, and the abstraction that results is amazing. I’ve been using XenServer for a few years now to spin up datacenter and lab VM’s. Adding XenApp for applications and XenDesktop for virtual desktops (VDI) is another layer of amazing. Can it get any better? It can, add XenClient.

Citrix XenClient is a high-performance, bare-metal hypervisor that runs directly on the client device hardware, dividing up the resources of the machine and enabling multiple operating systems to run side by side in complete isolation. Now I can have virtual machines in the cloud, and virtual machines in hand. Now I can use multiple simultaneous desktops on my laptop – one for graphics work, another for work & email, and linux for other stuff. XenClient is based on XenServer technology, and now I have two Windows VM’s and Ubuntu 10 on my laptop. There is a hack for MAC OS X, however I’m told the performance is not that great just yet. To install an OS that isn’t in the list, just select the Win7 profile, and insert your bootable CD/DVD – this is how I installed Ubuntu.

How I did it – I went to the Citrix XenClient Hardware Compatibility list to check the requirements, and found a machine that suits my needs. Then I followed the user guide because you need to enable the virtualization options in the BIOS before installing XenClient.

Performing a XenClient install will wipe your data

I ordered a Lenovo T510, and here is the config:

  • 45M4819 SBB INCR I7-620M 2.66GHZ,4MBL3
  • 45M3090 VBB GENUWIN7PROFES.64
  • 45M4918 SBB G.WIN.7PROF64US ENGLISH
  • 45M4595 SBB 15.6HD+ANTI-GLW/LEDBKLIGH
  • 0A21165 SBB INTELHDGRAPHUSB,TAA
  • 45M4574 VBB 8GBPC3-10600DDR3 1333SODMM
  • 45M4839 SBB KEYBOARDUS ENGLISH
  • 75Y0171 VBB ULNAVTRPOITOUPADFINGREADER
  • 45M4631 SBB CAMERA(2.0 MP)
  • 45M4618 SBB 500GB HDISK DRIVE7200RPM
  • 45M4608 SBB MULT.RECORD.OPTDRIVE12.7MM
  • 75Y0174 VBB EXPCARSL+5IN1CARREAD
  • 45M4816 SBB 9CELLLI-ION BATTERY
  • 41W1787 SBB CPK NORTH AMERICA
  • 45M3043 SBB BLUETOOTH W/ANTENNA
  • 45M4805 SBB IN.CENTADV.-N+WIMAX 6250
  • 44C9189 SBB NO WWAN SUPPORT
  • 45M4676 SBB LANGUAGEPACK US ENGLISH
  • 45K5970 3YR Onsite

All for about $1700.00. Once It arrived, I had some networking problems, and was told that my wireless adapter (6250) wasn’t compatible, but after re-installing XenClient and my Windows 7 VM’s it seems to be working fine. If it happens again, I can order a compatible Intel wireless adapter from any of the online stores.

How to install XenClient

  • Purchase supported client hardware
  • Download XenClient, burn to a CD using ImgBurn
  • Set BIOS settings
  • Boot to CD and install
    install the SSH option if you want to open a SSH terminal window within XenClient (useful for troubleshooting)

How to install VM’s

  • Burn .iso image of your OS to bootable CD/DVD using ImgBurn
  • Add VM from XenClient
  • Insert CD/DVD into drive

XenClient Tips and Trix

  • ctrl+0, ctrl+1, ctrl+2, etc: switch to xenclient, vm1, vm2, etc…
  • ctrl+shift+t: launches a terminal window – necessary for troubleshooting ip address and network
  • alt-tab: rotate between xenclient and terminal windows
  • status-tool: run this command from the terminal window to gather stats – including screenshots – stored in /storage/status-report
  • ifconfig brbridged: run this command to show the ip address for dom0 – physical adapter
  • ifconfig wlan0: run this command to show the ip address for dom0 – wireless adapter
  • xentop: run this command from the terminal window to view performance data
  • vhd-util: run this command from the terminal window to change/check vhd
  • xec: run this command from the terminal window to control vm’s
  • touch /config/ssh_enabled: run this command to enable SSH on the XC Management Console – if not already installed
  • ctrl+q: refresh hypervisor
  • dmesg: show debug messages
  • disktovhd: use this on old pc to make a vhd of your pc or laptop. Create new VM, replace .vhd in /storage/disks. Install XenTools.
  • copy .iso to /storage/iso: mount the .iso in the virtual drive that normally mounts XenTools. Or use Virtual Clone Drive.





Download XenClient




XenClient Documentation




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