XenServer 3.2.0: Upgrade Debian Linux from Sarge to Etch

If you are running XenServer 3.2.0, then you have a built in Debian Sarge image. If you happen to want to upgrade an instance to Debian Etch (the latest stable build as of February 1, 2008), you should follow these steps. It isn’t a simple apt-get dist-upgrade command as other websites may have you believe. The following steps are a summary of what commands I performed while following the official upgrade guide.

If you aren’t running a XenServer instance, then I would suggest following the official guide yourself to prevent anything bad from happening (Debian Etch Upgrade Guide). My instance that I used for this installation was a fresh install of the Sarge image, so I won’t be going into any special circumstances that may need to be addressed by those who have installed a whole load of extras.

Let’s go!

Choose a Mirror
Go to Debian Mirror List and select a mirror. I happened to choose http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian as my mirror because I’m in the United States.

Update /etc/apt/sources.list with…

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian etch main contrib

Perform the Upgrade

rm /etc/apt/preferences
mount -o remount,rw /
aptitude update
aptitude upgrade
aptitude install initrd-tools
aptitude dist-upgrade
aptitude update

See? Not so hard. That is all I needed to do to upgrade my XenServer 3.2.0 Debian Sarge instance to Debian Etch. I am not saying these simplified steps will work for everyone, but for those few that have the same type of setup as we do, these instructions should simplify the upgrade process. Please comment with questions and/or suggestions… and if all else fails, use the official guide!

– Matt