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I need to replace my XenServer 6.1 resource pool hardware. I currently run Intel hardware and I have to move to AMD hardware (corporate politics and budget stuff, blah blah blah).

I have downtime available so I can use cold migration - live migration is not required. I will also have the new hardware (AMD) alongside the old hardware (Intel).

The XenServer docs say there may be problems exporting from one arch and importing to another "may not work" - http://docs.vmd.citrix.com/XenServer/6.1.0/1.0/en_gb/guest.html#importing_vms - but mentions nothing about simply turning off the VM on one arch and then powering it back on new arch.

VMs are a mix of OS - some Windows, some Linux, multiple versions.

Is this something that can be done with no problems, or are there problems I need to be aware of?

  • What guest OS are you running? With Linux, I've had to deal with kernel panics and other driver issues when moving hardware. I typically boot into rescue mode and rebuilt the kernel's initrd image. – jeffatrackaid May 16 '13 at 13:08
  • Both Windows and Linux guests – John Smith May 16 '13 at 13:17
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Moving offline and booting on a different architecture should work fine. You don't say what operating system you have, but Windows should simply detect and install drivers for the new processor.

With that said, there's no guarantee. The problem is that the CPU is paravirtualised, rather than fully virtualised, meaning the virtual machine does have some exposure to the real instruction set.

Ultimately, the only thing to do is try. For machines that don't work, you will need to do a P2V style process using XenConvert.

Live migration, on the other hand, is a different topic as it's incredibly picky about processor similarity even in the same processor family, let alone manufacturer!

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My experience is with moving working Windows 7 and Windows 8 virtual machines that were initially set up on an Intel based host to an AMD based host. (Actually, I replaced the motherboard in the host computer, changing it from Intel to AMD; but, presumably, the same situation would have occurred had I simply migrated from an Intel host to an AMD host). The above answer is correct, and Windows notices the different underlying CPU architecture and sets up appropriate different drivers. BUT... In both cases the change triggered Windows to nullify the activation and I had to re-activate. In both cases the automatic on-line activation failed. Luckily, in both cases the automated telephone activation was successful. This strikes me as a bit of a problem for the idea of freely migrating Windows virtual systems between hosts with different underlying CPU architectures. I'm not sure how much change would go unnoticed. For example, if I migrated from one type of AMD CPU to another type of AMD CPU, would I have the same issue? How many times can one re-activate a Windows?

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