Xen 4.0 and Citrix WHQL PV drivers for Windows

Xen 4.0 is supposed to be able to use Citrix’s WHQL certified Windows paravirtualization drivers. Their advantage over the GPLPV drivers is that they are code-signed, meaning they run on 64-bit Windows without disabling some of Windows’ security features.

UPDATE 2011-10-17: Signed GPLPV drivers are now available. I have not yet tested them, but I assume the fix below is no longer necessary.

While the Citrix drivers included in XenServer 5.5 work (after making a single registry tweak), the more recent ones included in e.g. Xen Cloud Platform 1.0 do not work right away:

If you install the XCP drivers, make that registry tweak and reboot the DomU, you’ll notice messages like XENUTIL: WARNING: CloseFrontend: timed out in XenbusWaitForBackendStateChange: /local/domain/0/backend/console/[id]/0 in state INITIALISING; retry. in your /var/log/xen/qemu-dm-*.log and Windows just gets stuck during boot and keeps spinning forever. To get it back to work, you’ll need to
xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/console/[id]
xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/vfb/[id]

after starting the VM (thanks to Keith Coleman‘s mailing list post!).

To automatically run these commands upon DomU start, create a script named /usr/lib/xen/bin/qemu-dm-citrixpv with the following contents

xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/console/$2
xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/vfb/$2

sh -c "sleep 10; xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/console/$2; xenstore-rm /local/domain/0/backend/vfb/$2" &

exec /usr/lib/xen/bin/qemu-dm $*
and chmod +x it.

Then, edit your DomU config file and modify the device_model line and point it to your new script:
device_model = '/usr/lib/xen/bin/qemu-dm-citrixpv'

Now your Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 HVM-DomU is all set!

2 thoughts on “Xen 4.0 and Citrix WHQL PV drivers for Windows

  1. jakkul


    Did you try to compare the speed of the network and IO of your windows virtual machines under xen with the XCP drivers and stock ones?

  2. jakkul

    one more thing – thanks for the script. This made my XCP PV windows guest work like a charm 😀

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