Where’s the XenServer 6 auto start VM feature?

Yesterday I finally had some hours left to spare at home to attend to my Homelab. as I’m prepping the environment for my next exam (A19 Citrix XenDesktop 5 Administration) I did wanted to upgrade the XenServers to the latest version. So I spent yesterday evening cleaning up the servers with the old VMs from previous studies and left the two XenApp 6.5 servers and my domain server in place.

 

Upgrading the XenServer Homelab

The upgrade itself was done easily with the single disk image. This time I was smart enough to learn from my previous mistake, so I brought down any running VMs (even disabled the auto start options to be sure) and started with my Pool Master upgrade, without triggering any Maintenance Mode. The upgrade went smoothly for both servers, so I was quickly up and running again and checking all VM settings.

 

VM auto start feature

I was a little puzzled on how I could set up my License Server VPX appliance to auto start on booting my XenServer, but I figured it was now set with the vApp features and settings. However the GUI did not offer a select box to enable the auto start feature at the Start Options in the General Properties of the VM. I did not configure HA as it is not necessary right now for my Homelab environment. I just made the assumption that creating and configuring the vApp would enable the auto start feature all the same. And turned off the Homelab servers to test it when I would boot my servers the next day.

Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t that easy this time. As Bill Carovano explains in this post on the Citrix Forums, so design decisions changed the auto start feature availability. As it interfered with the HA, DR and Pool upgrade functionality it was opted out for the XenServer 6 release.

 

Alternative configuration

For me it still is a very useful feature to ensure my Citrix License Server is automatically started when my XenServer is booted, so luckily for me Bill also gave the right commands to enable the feature with the CLI and have the perfect setup back for my Homelab

You first have to enable the auto power on feature at pool level, before being able to configure it for each VM individually.

* Find the uuid of the Pool:

[root@<name-xs> ~]# xe pool-list
uuid ( RO)                : [uuid-pool]
          name-label ( RW): [pool-name]
    name-description ( RW): [pool-desc]
              master ( RO): [uuid-xs]
          default-SR ( RW): [uuid-sr]

 
Which returns the following values:

  • uuid-pool: A unique identifier for the Pool.
  • pool-name: The name given to the Pool.
  • pool-desc: The description set for the Pool.
  • uuid-xs: The unique identifier of the XenServer that currently is the Pool Master.
  • uuid-sr: The unique identifier for the default Storage Repository configured for the Pool.

 

* Enable the auto power on feature at pool level:

[root@<name-xs> ~]# xe pool-param-set uuid=[uuid-pool] other-config:auto_poweron=true

 
Which uses the following additional syntax:

  • uuid-pool: A unique identifier for the Pool.

 

* Find the uuid of the VM:

The quicky way to find the uuid of your VM is to run the vm-list command. This does however give you an overview of all VMs, so if you have alot of VMs defined, try to narrow it done with the name-label parameter (which is case sensitive). With the uuid known for the VM, you can easily enable the auto start feature.

[root@<name-xs> ~]# xe vm-list
uuid ( RO)           : [uuid-vm]
     name-label ( RW): [vm-name]
    power-state ( RO): [vm-power]

 
Which returns the following values:

  • uuid-vm: A unique identifier for the Virtual Machine.
  • vm-name: The name given to the Virtual Machine.
  • vm-power: Shows the power state the VM is currently in (running, halted).

 

* Enable the auto power on feature for the specified VM:

[root@<name-xs> ~]# xe vm-param-set uuid=[uuid-vm] other-config:auto_poweron=true

 
Which uses the following additional syntax:

  • uuid-vm: A unique identifier for the Virtual Machine.

 

* Check the auto power on feature for the specified VM:

[root@<name-xs> ~]# xe vm-list uuid=[uuid-vm] param=all

 
Which uses the following additional syntax:

  • uuid-vm: A unique identifier for the Virtual Machine.

 

Check out my new Step-by-step guide: Automatically start a vApp on XenServer
 

 

The following sources have been used to create this post:
Citrix Forums – VM Autostart Option

 

Esther Barthel
Senior Consultant at PepperByte

Esther has been working in different roles and functions as an IT consultant ever since she finished her Masters degree in Computer Science in 1997. She has worked as a web developer, database administrator, and server administrator until she discovered how Server-Based Computing ( SBC ) combined servers, desktops, and user experience in one solution. Esther has been specializing in virtualization solutions such as SBC, VDI, application, and server virtualization for over eight years now and is currently working as a Senior Consultant at PepperByte, where she designs and implements Citrix® solutions for both small-business and large-enterprise infrastructures scaling from 100 to 15,000 users.
In january 2014 her first book Citrix XenApp 6.5 Expert Cookbook was published by Packt Publishing.

Esther is awarded as a Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) in 2015 and 2016.

Esther is a Citrix Certified Expert – Virtualization (CCE-V), Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility (CCP-M), Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N) and RES Software Certified Professional (RCP).

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