Ubuntu – install Xen to run Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7 at the same time but I can’t find any good tutorials


I'm wanting to use Xen Hypervisor to be able to run both Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7 at the same time using virtualization. I can find plenty of XCP tutorials but I'm not looking to install the cloud stack, I just want the server confined to my machine.

All I need is a link to a decent tutorial for this purpose. I've read a ton of articles that lead me to believe I'm on the right track, but not enough to feel comfortable getting it right if I just dive in. I'm getting caught up on whether I need to install Ubuntu and then install Xen into it, or do I need to install Xen on a small partition and then leave the rest of the hard drive open for the virtualization… I dunno.

Basically, I need the virtualization of Windows 7 for Adobe Premiere and After Effects (until Lightworks for Linux comes out and I can afford NUKEX). If I didn't need those, I'd be rocking out a straight up Ubuntu machine or just using VirtualBox for my virtualization. However, I need Windows to run as an HVM so it runs like I would expect rather than having the issues I may run into with VirtualBox (video drivers, etc).

So, any suggestions?

Best Answer

What you are looking for is called PCI or VGA passthrough. Xen allows you to pass through a physical device like a USB host or a graphics card to your guest, in your case Windows 7. Doing so gives you native/near-native performance when using the guest OS.

BUT, to do that you need compatible hardware:

  1. The CPU must support VT-d (Intel) or AMD-Vi / IOMMU (AMD).
  2. The motherboard and BIOS also must support VT-d ...
  3. The graphics adapter must be VGA passthrough compatible - if it's an AMD, chances are good, if it's Nvidia, then the professional Quadro 2000 and higher cards should work, or perhaps an older card. Look here Xen VGA passthrough Tested Adapters for a start, but this list is not complete.

You may want to look here HOW-TO make dual-boot obsolete for a Linux Mint 13 based tutorial, which should work (almost) unaltered for Ubuntu 12.04.

Just make absolutely sure you got the right hardware!

Related Question