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Getting Started Guide: ConVirt for KVM and Xen

From ConVirt Enterprise


1 Introduction

Welcome to ConVirt for KVM and Xen. ConVirt is a multi-platform solution for managing your virtualization and cloud infrastructure, including VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, Xen, Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, and more. ConVirt enables you to manage thousands of hosts and virtual machines throughout their full lifecycle in a highly scalable and secure fashion, with advanced automation and orchestration features such as high availability, backup and recovery, policy-based workload management, and quota-managed self-service.

This document is a step-by-step guide for setting up a small "learning" environment to deploy ConVirt and try out its features. The steps are simple:

  1. Set up the ConVirt Management Server (CMS)
  2. Configure your KVM or Xen hosts (no agent required!)
  3. Open your browser and start managing your KVM and Xen infrastructure

Note - this guide applies to ConVirt Enterprise 3.x and ConVirt Enterprise Cloud 3.x versions.

2 What You Will Need

The physical deployment architecture for ConVirt for KVM and Xen shown in the diagram below is the minimum configuration needed to set up a "learning" environment.

Kvmxen phys arch.png

You'll need to ensure that the following pre-requisites are in place:

2.1 Host Servers

You will need 2 freshly installed host servers in order to use ConVirt's advanced features. Each host should have the following minimum configuration:

2.2 Storage

For the examples in this guide, we will use NFS storage.

2.3 Network

2.3.1 Self Service Option

In order to create self-service Virtual Data Centers, ConVirt transforms existing virtualized infrastructure into a cloud by overlaying an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) layer. To manage this layer, you need to set up several network resources:

Instructions for setting up these resources can be found in the Set Up Network Resources section of the Feature Walkthrough: ConVirt for KVM and Xen.

2.4 Client Machine/Browser

3 Setting Up ConVirt

ConVirt is built on a 3-tier agentless architecture that delivers enterprise-grade scalability, security, and integration.

Logical kvmxen.png

Because we are setting up a simple "learning" environment, we will install the ConVirt Management System (CMS) as a virtual machine on Host A, rather than on its own dedicated server. The physical and virtual deployment architecture is shown in the diagram below:

Virt arch1.png

3.1 Set Up the Virtualization Environment

If you are going to provision some new hosts for this learning environment, here are some high level instructions to get you started. If you are going to import existing host servers, you can skip this step.

yum groupinstall KVM; modprobe kvm-amd;, or
yum groupinstall KVM; modprobe kvm-intel;

3.2 Set Up ConVirt Management Server

Install the ConVirt Management Server (CMS) as a Linux virtual appliance running on Host A:

  1. Download the CMS appliance disk image to Host A
    • Use the link you received in the Trial email from Convirture.
    • For KVM or Xen, use the .gz file, which contains the raw disk image
  2. Unpack it
    gunzip -c CMS-3.4.7-disk.gz > CMS-disk.img
  3. Start and connect to the CMS appliance
    1. Start/connect on Xen
      1. Use the appliance xen config file information from here CMS Xen Trial Config, save it as a file named "cms" (no extension), and make the following change:
        • Change the path in the disk parameter to wherever you unpacked the CMS-disk1.img appliance file
        • Change the bridge name in the vif entry to the appropriate bridge for your network (in this example, its set to "br0")
        • Optionally, you can also change the "name" value in the config file
      2. Start the appliance using the config file name
        xm create cms
      3. Get the vnc port
        • Use xm list to get the DOMID of the appliance
        xenstore-read /local/domain/DOMID/console/vnc-port
      4. Connect to the appliance using vncviewer
        • Use the port obtained from previous command
        vncviewer :PORT_NO
    2. Start/connect on KVM
      1. Start the appliance using the following command
        • Change the path to the location where you created the CMS-disk.img disk
        qemu-system-x86_64 -hda "/mnt/storage/vm_disks/CMS-disk.img" -net "nic,vlan=0,macaddr=00:16:3e:20:d4:44" -net "user,vlan=0" -std-vga "" -boot "c" -m "2048" -vnc ":25" -name "convirt_appliance" -smp "2" -redir tcp:2222::22 -redir tcp:8888::8091 -daemonize
        /usr/libexec/qemu-kvm -hda "/mnt/storage/vm_disks/CMS-disk.img" -net "nic,vlan=0,macaddr=00:16:3e:20:d4:44" -net "user,vlan=0" -boot "c" -m "2048" -vnc ":25" -name "convirt_appliance" -smp "2" -redir tcp:2222::22 -redir tcp:8888::8091 -daemonize
      2. Connect to the appliance using vncviewer
        • Note that in the above command port :25 is used
        vncviewer :25
  4. Log in to the CMS appliance
    • user : cms
    • password : convirt
  5. Find the IP address of the appliance to use in your browser
    • Run ifconfig to find the IP assigned to the CMS appliance
    sudo ifconfig eth0
  6. Open the CMS in your browser and activate the license
    • Start Firefox browser on another machine on the network
    • Using the IP address your discovered above, type in the url http://ip-address:8091
      • Troubleshooting - if the CMS does not come up in your browser, make sure that it is setup and running on the CMS appliance correctly:
        • Go into the CMS appliance and setup the CMS
          cd convirt-enterprise
          ./convirt-ctl setup
        • Start the CMS
          ./convirt-ctl start
        • Open the CMS in your browser at http://ip-address:8091
    • When the CMS opens, the License Management dialog will come up, so you can activate your trial license
    Licensemgmt licenseactivate.jpg
  7. Activate your Trial license
    • In the License Management-Activate License dialog, select the "Trial" radio button
    • Paste your Customer ID into the Customer ID text box
      • You received this ID in your ConVirt Trial Credentials email
    • Select "Activate" at the bottom of the dialog box
      • The CMS will connect to Convirture's license server
    • You should receive an alert "License applied successfully - Click OK to restart ConVirt". Click OK.
    Lic applied success.jpg
    • You should receive an alert "License activated successfully and ConVirt restarted - Click OK to login". Click OK.
    Lic activated success.jpg
    • You should see the Login panel for the CMS - login using the default credentials:
      • user : admin
      • password : admin

3.3 Set Up Managed Hosts

Before you start managing a host using ConVirt, you need to ensure that it's properly configured. This can be done easily in a few quick steps.

3.3.1 Run convirt-tool

The convirt-tool script helps you make necessary changes to the managed host, so it is easily managed by ConVirt (CMS). For the Xen platform, running this command configures the Xend Server to listen on port 8006 and opens port 8002 for migration. The command also detects the default bridge and writes a summary of its operations to the /var/cache/convirt/server_info file. For the KVM platform, the command creates appropriate public bridges, required scripts and writes a summary of its operations to the /var/cache/convirt/server_info file.

  1. Log in to the CMS virtual machine as CMS user account
  2. Copy the convirt-tool tarball to the managed host
    scp convirture-enterprise-tools-3.4.6.tar.gz root@managed-host:/root
  3. As a CMS user, log in to the managed host as root. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
    ssh root@managed-host
    • NOTE: ConVirt requires the ability to log in remotely using the root account. For certain distributions, the root password is not set by default. On such distributions, the root password must be explicitly set.
  4. Extract the contents of the archive into a directory. For example:
    tar -xzf convirture-enterprise-tools-3.4.6.tar.gz
  5. Check compatibility between ConVirt and the managed host
    • Change to the ~/convirture-enterprise-tools/install/managed_server/scripts directory
    cd ./convirture-enterprise-tools/install/managed_server/scripts
    • Use the convirt-tool command to check or configure the managed host
      • To view the usage message, run:
    ./convirt-tool -h
      • To validate the platform without making any changes, run:
    ./convirt-tool --detect_only setup
  6. Install required dependencies:
    ./convirt-tool install_dependencies
  7. Setup network bridge
    • To have a virtual machine connect to a network, bridge setup is required. With virtualization platform installation, depending on the version, you would have either xenbr0 or eth0 or br0 setup. You can verify this using the brctl show command. If you do not have any bridge, convirt-tool can set up bridges for each network interface.
    ./convirt-tool setup
    • Warning : This might disconnect the host server from the network, so please make sure you have an alternative way of getting to the server (Be on the server, iLO, DRAC etc). Also, in case the managed host is part of a cluster, the server might reboot because of network connectivity loss resulting in node fencing.
    • If you have the bridge set up already done or want to handle bridge setup separately, run the following command.
    ./convirt-tool --skip_bridge setup
    • NOTE : Make sure that you have at least one bridge set up to which the virtual machines can connect.
    • For the Xen 4.0 /SLES 11/SLES 11 SP1 user, xen server should be listening on SSL option:
    ./convirt-tool --xen_ssl --all setup
    • If you are using a firewall on Debian/Ubuntu you should verify that following ports are open
      • For Both: ssh port (usually 22)
      • For Xen : TCP port 8002 to allow migration, 8006 to allow ConVirt to talk to Xend Server.
      • Fox KVM : TCP ports 8002 to 8012 for migration.
    • For Xen, you should also specify the default memory for dom0. (new with version 2.0.1)
    ./convirt-tool --dom0_mem 1024 setup
    This will set the dom0_mem using xm command as well as change the grub.conf file to have dom0_mem parameter added to the kernel line.

4 The ConVirt Management Console

The ConVirt Management Console is a web-based dashboard that provides a single point of management and visibility into of your entire virtualized environment. ConVirt is multi-user, allowing the same environment to be managed by multiple administrators, and extensible, with multiple hooks for enterprise integration including LDAP/AD support, CLI, and API-based approaches.

Now that you have set up your hosts and installed the CMS, you are ready to log in to the ConVirt Management Console to start managing your virtualization environment. Open the ConVirt Management Console in your Firefox browser:


The default application credentials are :

user : admin
password : admin

The Console has 3 basic elements:

  A. Navigation Pane
  B. Detail Tabs
  C. Task Pane


4.1 Navigation Pane

This pane displays an organized, hierarchical view of each entity managed by the system, including Data Centers (Server Pools, Hosts, VMs, and Templates), Infrastructure-as-a-Service Clouds (IaaS), and Virtual Data Centers (Self Service). ConVirt has a highly interactive interface that allows you to use a context-sensitive menu on any entity to invoke the appropriate operations. For example, if you select a VM, you can right mouse click to get to the context menu and invoke the desired operations.

4.2 Detail Tabs

Each entity in the system has at least an Overview tab and a Configuration tab, and if appropriate, a Servers tab. The Overview tab shows summary information as well as information that requires attention. It also shows various charts that shows recent performance.

4.3 Task Pane

All operations within ConVirt are carried out via the task engine subsystem. It runs periodic tasks of monitoring hosts and virtual machines, data rollups and periodic maintenance. Information about the tasks submitted and their status is presented in the task pane at the bottom.

5 Adding Managed Hosts

When you first open ConVirt, you're faced with an empty Data Center. But with ConVirt's agentless architecture, bringing your virtualization hosts under management is a very simple discovery process. Just create a new server pool, then point to the hosts in your environment you want to add to the pool:

5.1 Create A Server Pool

Add server pool.png

5.2 Add Managed Hosts


6 Add Shared Storage


7 Create And Manage Virtual Machines

ConVirt provides a toolset for day-to-day VM administration and lifecycle management, including templates-based provisioning, monitoring, configuration management, basic automation, live migration and much more.

7.1 Create A Template

A template is a set of related configuration information from which you can create one or more virtual machines. ConVirt ships with a set of default templates geared towards doing an ISO install, and can be easily customized to your environment.

First, lets create a template - we're going to do this by cloning and modifying an existing template:

  1. Select the Template Library

  2. Drill down to the Common Templates group and select the Linux_CD_Installation template.

  3. Right click on the template and select "Create Like":

  4. Enter a name for the new template and click OK.

  5. You should see the new template show up in the Common Templates group.

  6. Right click on the new template, and select Edit Settings.

  7. A Template Settings dialog box should pop up that will guide you through the process of editing the template. In the General section, change the default values to match your virtual machine template. For example, you can change the memory or change the number of virtual CPUs.

  8. Next we'll modify the template to use an ISO file to create new virtual machines, rather than the physical cdrom device.
    • Select the Storage tab on the left, and then select the cdrom VM device.

    • For Options, change "Use Physical Device" to "Use ISO File".
    • For Location, search for the location of the ISO file you'd like to use for this template.
    • Click Save

  9. The template is now set up to use the specified ISO file to provision new virtual machines. Click OK.

  10. Revise the version if you like, then click Yes.

  11. You have just created a template that is suitable for provisioning multiple virtual machines in your environment.

7.2 Provision A Virtual Machine

Now that you have created your template, you can use it to provision a new virtual machine. There are several ways to provision a VM:

For this example, we will provision a VM on one of our host servers:

  1. Right click on the host, and select Provision Virtual Machine.

  2. A dialog box will come up that will guide you through the provisioning process. Select the Template Group and Template Name you just created in the last section, and give the VM a name:

  3. Next we will associate the shared storage with this new VM. Select the Storage tab on the left, click on the "writable" disk, and select Edit.

  4. In the Storage Details dialog, click the "shared storage" icon on the right side.

  5. Select the shared storage that you had previously created, and click OK.

  6. The Location should be updated with appropriate location of your shared storage. Click Save.
    • NOTE: If you want to update your Template to use shared storage by default, then copy the Location field from this dialog, and save it to the Storage>Location field for the first disk in the Template.

    • Click OK to provision the VM.

  7. If the connection is successful, you should see the new VM show up in the Navigation page under your host server.

7.3 Start & Connect To Your Virtual Machine

Now that you have provisioned your VM, you can start it, connect to it, and use it. And you can do all this from the ConVirt console:

  1. Right click on the new VM, and select Start.

  2. When the VM icon turns green, the VM has been started

  3. Right click on the VM, and select View Console

  4. ConVirt asks which viewer you want to use to view the console:

  5. Then ConVirt opens a console window to your new virtual machine.

Next: Feature Walkthrough: ConVirt for KVM and Xen

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This page has been accessed 64,703 times. This page was last modified on 26 February 2016, at 19:00.


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