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How to Install Open vSwitch on Citrix XenServer
This document describes how to build and install Open vSwitch on a
Citrix XenServer host. If you want to install Open vSwitch on a
generic Linux or BSD host, see INSTALL instead.
These instructions have been tested with XenServer 5.6 FP1.
Building Open vSwitch for XenServer
You may build from an Open vSwitch distribution tarball or from an
Open vSwitch Git tree. The recommended build environment to build
RPMs for Citrix XenServer is the DDK VM available from Citrix.
1. If you are building from an Open vSwitch Git tree, then you will
need to first create a distribution tarball by running "./;
./configure; make dist" in the Git tree. You cannot run this in
the DDK VM, because it lacks tools that are necessary to bootstrap
the Open vSwitch distribution. Instead, you must run this on a
machine that has the tools listed in INSTALL as prerequisites for
building from a Git tree.
2. Copy the distribution tarball into /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES inside
the DDK VM.
3. In the DDK VM, unpack the distribution tarball into a temporary
directory and "cd" into the root of the distribution tarball.
4. To build Open vSwitch userspace, run:
rpmbuild -bb xenserver/openvswitch-xen.spec
This produces three RPMs in /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386:
"openvswitch", "openvswitch-modules-xen", and
Build Parameters
openvswitch-xen.spec needs to know a number of pieces of information
about the XenServer kernel. Usually, it can figure these out for
itself, but if it does not do it correctly then you can specify them
yourself as parameters to the build. Thus, the final "rpmbuild" step
above can be elaborated as:
VERSION=<Open vSwitch version>
KERNEL_NAME=<Xen Kernel name>
KERNEL_VERSION=<Xen Kernel version>
KERNEL_FLAVOR=<Xen Kernel flavor(suffix) >
rpmbuild \
-D "openvswitch_version $VERSION" \
-D "kernel_name $KERNEL_NAME" \
-D "kernel_version $KERNEL_VERSION" \
-D "kernel_flavor $KERNEL_FLAVOR" \
-bb xenserver/openvswitch-xen.spec
<openvswitch version> is the version number that appears in the
name of the Open vSwitch tarball, e.g. 0.90.0.
<Xen Kernel name> is the name of the XenServer kernel package,
e.g. kernel-xen or kernel-NAME-xen, without the "kernel-" prefix.
<Xen Kernel version> is the output of:
rpm -q --queryformat "%{Version}-%{Release}" <kernel-devel-package>,
e.g., where <kernel-devel-package> is
the name of the -devel package corresponding to <Xen Kernel name>.
<Xen Kernel flavor (suffix) > is either "xen" or "kdump".
The "xen" flavor is the main running kernel flavor and the "kdump" flavor is
the crashdump kernel flavor. Commonly, one would specify "xen" here.
Installing Open vSwitch for XenServer
To install Open vSwitch on a XenServer host, or to upgrade to a newer version,
copy the "openvswitch" and "openvswitch-modules-xen" RPMs to that host with
"scp", then install them with "rpm -U", e.g.:
scp openvswitch-$VERSION-1.i386.rpm \
openvswitch-modules-xen-$XEN_KERNEL_VERSION-$VERSION-1.i386.rpm \
(At this point you will have to enter <host>'s root password.)
ssh root@<host>
(At this point you will have to enter <host>'s root password again.)
rpm -U openvswitch-$VERSION-1.i386.rpm \
To uninstall Open vSwitch from a XenServer host, remove the packages:
ssh root@<host>
(At this point you will have to enter <host>'s root password again.)
rpm -e openvswitch openvswitch-modules-xen-$XEN_KERNEL_VERSION
After installing or uninstalling Open vSwitch, the XenServer should be
rebooted as soon as possible.
Open vSwitch Boot Sequence on XenServer
When Open vSwitch is installed on XenServer, its startup script
/etc/init.d/openvswitch runs early in boot. It does roughly the
* Loads the OVS kernel module, openvswitch.
* Starts ovsdb-server, the OVS configuration database.
* XenServer expects there to be no bridges configured at
startup, but the OVS configuration database likely still has
bridges configured from before reboot. To match XenServer
expectations, the startup script deletes all configured
bridges from the database.
* Starts ovs-vswitchd, the OVS switching daemon.
At this point in the boot process, then, there are no Open vSwitch
bridges, even though all of the Open vSwitch daemons are running.
Later on in boot, /etc/init.d/management-interface (part of XenServer,
not Open vSwitch) creates the bridge for the XAPI management interface
by invoking /opt/xensource/libexec/interface-reconfigure. Normally
this program consults XAPI's database to obtain information about how
to configure the bridge, but XAPI is not running yet[*] so it instead
consults /var/xapi/network.dbcache, which is a cached copy of the most
recent network configuration.
[*] Even if XAPI were running, if this XenServer node is a pool slave
then the query would have to consult the master, which requires
network access, which begs the question of how to configure the
management interface.
XAPI starts later on in the boot process. XAPI can then create other
bridges on demand using /opt/xensource/libexec/interface-reconfigure.
Now that XAPI is running, that program consults XAPI directly instead
of reading the cache.
As part of its own startup, XAPI invokes the Open vSwitch XAPI plugin
script /etc/xapi.d/openvswitch-cfg-update passing the "update"
command. The plugin script does roughly the following:
* Calls /opt/xensource/libexec/interface-reconfigure with the
"rewrite" command, to ensure that the network cache is
* Queries the Open vSwitch manager setting (named
"vswitch_controller") from the XAPI database for the
XenServer pool.
* If XAPI and OVS are configured for different managers, or if
OVS is configured for a manager but XAPI is not, runs
"ovs-vsctl emer-reset" to bring the Open vSwitch
configuration to a known state. One effect of emer-reset is
to deconfigure any manager from the OVS database.
* If XAPI is configured for a manager, configures the OVS
manager to match with "ovs-vsctl set-manager".
The Open vSwitch boot sequence only configures an OVS configuration
database manager. There is no way to directly configure an OpenFlow
controller on XenServer and, as a consequence of the step above that
deletes all of the bridges at boot time, controller configuration only
persists until XenServer reboot. The configuration database manager
can, however, configure controllers for bridges. See the BUGS section
of ovs-controller(8) for more information on this topic.
Reporting Bugs
Please report problems to
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