Installing Ubuntu 1604 Server Edition on XenServer

  +  Ubuntu Logo

Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution that can be used for a variety of tasks from a desktop operating system to forming the basis for a mail, web or VoIP server; it can even run your TV or pet robot. It has a fantastic community supporting it and over the last few years has become one of my favourite distributions for various reasons.

One big benefit of Ubuntu is the fact that they offer LTS (Long Term Support) releases which are supported and maintained with security patches for five years. This makes Ubuntu a great choice for business where it will be used in a production environment.

Today we are going to install the Server edition Ubuntu 1604 LTS on XenServer. Let’s get started.

Download the Ubuntu ISO

  • Navigate to www.ubuntu.com
  • Navigate to Downloads > Server
  • Download the latest LTS version. This article uses 1604 TLS.
  • Save the ISO image in your XenServer CIFS ISO share

Create Virtual Machine

  • Connect to your XenServer in XenCenter
  • On the top menu select VM > New VM
  • Select the Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04 template and click Next
  • Set Name to the new server’s name
  • Set Description to have some relevant information about the purpose of the server, which OS and template are being used and when it was built and by whom.
  • Click Next
  • Select Install from ISO library or DVD drive:
  • Select the Ubuntu ISO that we downloaded earlier and click Next
  • If the XenServer is in a pool, select Don’t assign this VM a home server
  • Click Next
  • Set Number of vCPUs to 2 or more depending on the requirements
  • Set Memory to 2048 or more depending on the requirements
  • Click Next
  • Select the default 8GB disk and click Properties
  • Set Size to 16GB or more depending on the requirements
  • Click OK and Next
  • Select any network interfaces that are not required and click Delete
  • Click Next
  • Review the settings and then click Create Now
  • Select the new Virtual Machine from the tree on the left pain in XenCenter
  • Select the Console tab. To continue the installation.

Install Ubuntu

  • Set Language to English and hit enter
  • Select Install Ubuntu Server and hit enter
  • Set Language to English and hit enter
  • Set Country, territory or area to Australia and hit enter
  • Set Detect keyboard layout? to No and hit enter
  • Set Country of origin for the keyboard: to English (US) and hit enter
  • Set Keyboard layout to English (US) and hit enter
  • Set Hostname to the server’s hostname (eg. melbpabx03) and hit enter
  • Set Full name for the new user to your full name and hit enter
  • Set Username for your account to your preferred username and hit enter
  • Set Choose a password for the new user to your preferred password and hit enter
  • Retype the password and hit enter
  • Set Encrypt your home directory? to No and hit enter
  • Select Yes to accept the timezone or change it if required then hit enter
  • Set Partitioning method to *Guided – use entire disk and set up LVM** and hit enter
  • Check that the correct disk is selected (should only be one) and hit enter
  • Set Write the changes to disk and configure LVM? to Yes and hit enter
  • Set Amount of volume group to use for guided partitioning to use the entire disk and hit enter
  • Confirm the changes, select Yes and hit enter to Write the changes to disks
  • Leave HTTP Proxy blank and hit enter
  • Select Install security updates automatically and hit enter
  • Select Standard system utilities and OpenSSH server and hit ‘enter’
  • Set Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record to Yes and hit enter
  • Hit enter to reboot the VM (the ISO should automatically eject).

Getting the IP Address

Assuming that you have a DHCP server running on your network, your new VM should now have an IP address. Let’s find out what this address is, then we can connect to the server remotely via SSH to complete the configuration. You can use the terminal application if you are using a Mac or Linux machine or Putty if you are using Windows.

  • On the XenServer Console tab, login with the credentials you configured earlier.
  • ifconfig
  • Look for the line starting with inet addr: which should contain the server’s IP address
  • Use your ssh client to connect to the server’s IP address.

Install Xen-Tools

  • In XenCenter insert xs-tools.iso into DVD Drive 1: on the VM’s Console tab
  • sudo mount /dev/cdrom/ /mnt (ignore the warning about mounting read-only)
  • sudo /mnt/Linux/install.sh
  • sudo reboot
  • Eject xs-tools.iso from the DVD Drive 1

Install Updates

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade

Let the Ubuntu goodness begin

You now have an operational Ubuntu Server and are ready to take over the world. What will you build? Let us know what you would like to see us build. Enjoy.

The journey begins

And so it begins. The journey to a cloud masterpiece. My name is Lukas Gibb and I build and manage servers of all kinds that do amazing things all day, every day. They don’t sleep and hopefully neither will you while I share some of my knowledge on building cool stuff.

My Cloud journey began about 18 years ago (wow, that long?) when I started building websites for small businesses and created my first business with my Uni friend to make some extra cash. The word ‘Cloud’ wasn’t even used back then to refer to anything tech related. We were studying marketing and e-commerce at the time though and with some basic programming skills under our belts a career in web-design seemed logical.

I found out pretty quickly that although I understood how to make things ‘work’ on a web page, that I couldn’t design my way out of a wet paper bag (as you can probably see from this blog). I also learned that programming can really suck too; spending hours re-reading your code until you found the one extra semi-colon that you added (or forgot to add) which completely broke your beautiful page got tired pretty quickly.

Despite my first business giving way to the more social activities of University, I still had a passion for the web and the exciting landscape that was unfolding all around me and soon I was working hard on a second venture with another friend. This time it was a new payment system for the web that would allow online shoppers to make purchases without the need for a credit card. SmartCash was a pre-paid account which you could top up with funds at the bank or through direct deposit, BPay etc. It was a fantastic idea which was sure to change the online shopping world but as we were starting with zero card-holders and zero online stores had integrated our payment gateway it was a case of the chicken or the egg for two young guys with little actual marketing experience.

While we were working on building a user base and talking to online retailers about accepting SmartCash payments on their shopping carts, we needed another form of revenue to help fund our plans to take over the world. This is where I fell into the wonderful world of web hosting. We had a friend who had a small business hosting web sites for friends and contacts that he had met through his 9-5 job. We decided to all join forces and grew that list of clients ten-fold in the space of 6 months to a point where it became our main focus and SmartCash started to fall by the way-side. Coupled with the launch of Paypal’s Debit bank account integration, and our lack of marketing skills, it was unfortunately a lost cause.

So on we went to become Jumba, one of Australia’s fastest growing and leading budget web-hosts with thousands of websites running on our servers, all the while learning about how to build more robust and secure servers that could handle millions of requests a day for all the other busy entrepreneurs that were also working on their plans of world domination. Honing our marketing skills and working closely with our customers to build great solutions, not only in web hosting but also other services such as ADSL, Hosted PABX and enterprise email. We had a great little community of fellow geeks that helped us every step of the way. Even though this was before the days of social media, we mustered a loyal army of fans that were there to praise us and help sell our services to their friends, family and anyone else on the Internet that would listen.

I am very proud of the brand we created which is still around to this day (mostly un-changed) and was recently acquired by Melbourne IT/Netregisty in one of the biggest business deals in the Australian web hosting industry’s history. And although I sold out of the business much too early on to reap the benefits of the multi-million dollar deals taking place these days, it is still my baby and I’m glad to see it still doing well.

When I decided to take a break from the heavy personal pressures of life as an entrepreneur, I decided to get a ‘normal’ job. This took me into the wonderful world of being ‘the IT guy’ for several small and medium customers; working as a mobile tech installing and fixing networks, servers, VoIP systems and PC’s on and off site. I enjoyed the change of pace there and learned a lot about Windows servers and Active Directory which are a necessary evil in the small business landscape. This company has also seen phenomenal growth and the telephony division was recently acquired by a major Telco.

In an effort to find work closer to home, I then found a great job with a small software company catering to the hospitality industry. I joined at the cusp of a very exciting time of change for the company as it made the wise move of starting the transition from a locally installed and managed software product to a ‘Cloud’ hosted solution. With 25 years of old-school software experience, this process has been slow but steady and now that it is done, the company is beginning to grow exponentially and is poised to become one of the biggest hospitality software companies in the world.

This blog is an endeavour to share some of what I have learned along this journey and to help me to become a master of my trade. Like the tradesman of old who travelled the countryside refining their craft before becoming a master craftsman, I want to put my skills to good use and help to make the Cloud a better place. And so it begins, the journey to a Cloud masterpiece. Enjoy.