Installing Network Drivers on Xenserver

I tried to find step by step information on how to install the correct network drivers on XenServer (using version 6.5) DOM0, but found documentation lacking. I did figure it out after a bit of educated guesswork, so here’s how to do it for anyone out there who needs the same info. Hopefully, this will save you some time.

1.) In XenCenter (hopefully, you have that installed if you’re reading this), select the server you’re wanting to update with the proper drivers, then click the console tab.

2.) Download the driver zip file or ISO image for your network card and version of XenServer. To do this (assuming your network card is the Broadcom NetXtreme series adapter), type the following command and press “enter”:

wget http://downloadns.citrix.com.edgesuite.net/9053/bnx2x-1.78.80-GA.zip

3.) It should download the file. Now, if you have the ISO, great. Move on to the next step. If you downloaded the ZIP file, you need to run this command, using the previous example (followed by enter):

unzip bnx2x-1.78.80-GA.zip

4.) You should now have the ISO file in your root directory, or wherever you downloaded it. Now, you need to create a temporary directory and mount the file as a cdrom drive in the directory you create. Do so with the following commands in order:

mkdir -p /mnt/tmp mount /tmp/ /mnt/tmp -o loop,ro (in our example, type: mount bnx2x.iso /mnt/tmp -o loop,ro)

cd /mnt/tmp/

./install.sh (if it tells you there is a dependency error/mismatch, make sure you’re using the correct file. In my case, there was no 6.5 version of the driver I needed, but 6.2 worked just fine with XenServer 6.5, though it did throw that error when I ran the install.sh script. Just type Y to install anyway)

cd / umount /mnt/tmp

5.) Now, make sure all of your VMs are stopped, and reboot the host.  After it comes back up, you should show the correct adapter speed and name.  Mine went from 1o/100 fast speed ethernet to 1000 Mbit/s Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme II BCM5709 Gigabit Ethernet.

6.) All done!  You might also need/want to install XenServer Tools on your VMs by selecting the VM, then opening the VM menu, and clicking “Install XenServer Tools.”

7.) Check your device manager if you’re in a Windows VM and make sure their are no exclamation points next to any devices.

I hope this helps!

 

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SSDs: Instant Computing

It used to be cost-prohibitive to purchase an SSD (Solid State Disk), but with recent innovations and an increase in production, it is finally a viable (and valuable) upgrade. An SSD can provide numerous benefits, not the least of which being speed. Since SSDs have no moving parts, they operate on a near zero-latency basis. This means instant response when you click an icon, open a program, or copy data. They are also capable of higher data transfer speeds—meaning less waiting across the board, from startup to shutdown and everything in between. SSDs are highly shock-resistant, which makes them ideal for use in laptops, where mechanical hard disk failure is a common problem due to mobility. SSDs are much more efficient as well, leading to increased battery life and less heat production. Since they still cost more and have less capacity than their traditional counterparts, it’s best to use an SSD as a system drive with a second traditional drive for storage.

Don’t just go out and buy any SSD and put it in your system however, since a low quality product will cost too much and provide little performance gain. A bit of research pays off; Intel and Kingston make top-tier SSDs, and anything containing the SandForce controllers (Corsair, for example) will operate at very capable speeds. As of this writing, ComputeRx uses the Kingston enterprise line of SSDs, as we’ve installed over a thousand of them in systems since 2011 without a single failure. The KC100 and KC300 series are the most reliable drives we’ve tested, and have speed to match any other drives on the market. The cost for a 120GB drive comes in at less than $100, and will provide a productivity increase (think; all of your employees have computers that wait on them, rather than the other way round!) that will pay for itself very quickly.

The only real downside to an SSD-equipped computer is that you’ll find your patience level with non-SSD equipped computers will plummet. Fortunately, any standard hard disk drive can be replaced easily with an SSD to realize incredible performance gains.

Reliability and Speed!

Two reliable and Fast SSDs

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