Citrix Xenservers Templates conversion to ISO image

Posted on 2010-11-07
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
Hi All

I currently have Citrix Xenservers lab that consists of 4 xenservers that is hosting about 20 VMs for testing purposes and learning, I had managed to create templates and save them on the actual hypervisors local storage or on the iscsi (Openfiler) but what I need to do is the following and I am not sure how to go about it.

I managed to export the templates to Windows file sharing (CIFS) and store it there where it is being backed up to tape library, so far so good, however when I try to build new VM from the template that is sitting on the windows server (CIFS) I cannot see the template (.XVA); all I seem to see is the ISO images

I need to convert the templates (XVA) to ISO images so that I can create VM from it

I am aware of importing the template back to any of the hypervisors and creating VM from there but this is not what I need. I have checked out but I am not sure if this serves the purpose and if so, then is this is the ONLY way? Is there any other way someone else out there did this

Thanks in advance
Question by:linuxhunts

Expert Comment

ID: 34141991
The template is not an image so there is nothing to convert. The template is just a snapshot of a live VM you already have operating with some defaults set so you can duplicate it simply.

You will not be able to convert it to an ISO as it has no relation to an ISO image.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 34150096
A template is a .xva file that sits in the same place as your VM storage, and like the previous expert said allows you to easily build VMs from them.  You don't use templates in the same way as you use ISO images for installing Win2k8 for the first time for example.

Author Comment

ID: 34162674

Hi Guys

I really appreciate both of you comments and I was along the same path as you so I can see conversion is not possible but what I was really after is as follows, you see I have also 5 ESX and ESXi 1 running ESX 3.5 and other 4 running ESXi 4 so here is what I did

•      Created Windows server template using sysprep and convert to template

•      Installed and configured successfully!  Windows services for Unix (SFU) 3.5

•      I manage to add the NFS share on windows server across all ESX hypervisors and hence now  the ESX hypervisors see the NFS share as storage device

•      Now on the Hypervisor which I created the template I had exported this template to the NFS storage

•      Now from any Hypervisor all I have to do is browse the NFS storage and add the Template file (.vmxf) to the inventory of the hypervisor

•      Now simply I go to that hypervisor and deploy this template into VM even though the actual files are sitting on the windows server

This was slow with 100MB switch, I have upgrade to 1GIG switch and it is so perfect, I can deploy VMware template from any of the hypervisors in instance and at same time I am backing up my templates on the windows box as well as I am reserving local storage on hypervisors hence I am utilizing my ISCSI storage

So I really need something similar to the above but in Citrix, surely Citrix is excellent product and I like it as much as VMware and I am sure it can be done but I just don’t know how and hence I am seeking all brains out there

Also if someone can tell me what is the best use of

Thanks to all in advance
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Expert Comment

ID: 34231688
In Xen, is the Windows storage added as an ISO Storage Repository? If so you may only be seeing the ISOs because that's what Xen is expecting to be in the network storage location, and so it is making the ISOs available only.

To find out from the CLI:

Run:     xe sr-list | more
You should see listed the name-label, content-type, etc. If your "content-type" for the Windows storage you're referring to is "iso", this should be the issue. If so, I'll post how to fix.


Author Comment

ID: 34235373

Hi Kara

Thanks for your reply and time, here is the output from the command and it is ISO content-type, see below

uuid ( RO)  : e578d294-4b20-0e28-f547-b4b176313fd5
          name-label ( RW): ISO Store
    name-description ( RW): CIFS ISO Library [\\\citrix images]
                host ( RO): <shared>
                type ( RO): iso
        content-type ( RO): iso

If you need further info or have query please feel free to ask.


Expert Comment

ID: 34240431
I re-read your original post and I believe I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to do. When you said "I am aware of importing the template back to any of the hypervisors and creating VM from there but this is not what I need.", why is it that this will not work for you? What is your goal?


Author Comment

ID: 34254101

Hi Kara

The problem with the way you suggesting is as follows, what if i dont have enough storage on local hypervisor? but lets say for argument sake i do have enough space, it is still problem because now i have duplicate copies of the template, one sits on my NFS Storage and one sits on the local Hypervisor and hence waste of space and time, yes i know once VM created i can delete the local template but what if i have to do this ever now and then?

That means i have to import --- wait --- create vm ---- delete template and so on. Where as my solution with VMWARE is perfect (please read above), it does exactly what i want it to do and i dont have to use any extra storage or down any unneccessary waiting...

Hope this answers your question


Accepted Solution

Karateckie earned 300 total points
ID: 34257428
Yes that answers my question, got it.

Since Xencenter needs to run on Windows, if you install it on the same machine that is hosting the share "citrix images", you'll be able to import the template directly into Xenserver without copying the template anywhere first. (Using Template> New VM From Template I believe). Xencenter doesn't give me the option for choosing a network location, so you would need to have it installed on the same machine you have the templates stored.

If you're stuck using the command line, or can't use Xencenter for some reason, you'll have a bit more of an issue. In Xenserver, I've not yet worked out how to mount a Windows share that is NOT an ISO repo. Perhaps others have done it. But as seen here (, this person has created an SR from an NFS location, and installed a template from it. This could be another option for you although it means setting up NFS and storing the templates there.


Assisted Solution

linuxhunts earned 0 total points
ID: 35542695

Solved by Having Citrix servers access my NFS share that was created for VMware as discussed above, i will award Karateckie half for her time and effort

Many thanks to all

Author Comment

ID: 35544945
ok now

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35714926
OK now, not what i really was looking for

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