Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Microsoft Windows (API Version 2014-06-15)
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Upgrading PV Drivers on Your Windows AMI

Amazon Windows AMIs contain a set of drivers to permit access to Xen virtualized hardware. These drivers are used by Amazon EC2 to map instance store and Amazon EBS volumes to their devices.

If your Windows instance is launched from a Windows Server 2012 R2 AMI, it uses AWS PV drivers. If your Windows instance uses RedHat drivers, you can upgrade to Citrix drivers. If you are already using Citrix drivers, you can upgrade the Citrix Xen guest agent service. To verify which driver your Windows instance uses, open Network Connections in Control Panel and view the Local Area Connection. Check whether the driver is one of the following:

  • AWS PV Network Device

  • Citrix PV Ethernet Adapter

  • RedHat PV NIC Driver

Alternatively, you can check the output from the pnputil -e command.

Xen Drivers

AWS Windows AMIs contain a set of drivers to permit access to Xen virtualized hardware. These drivers are used by Amazon EC2 to map instance store and Amazon EBS volumes to their devices. The particular Xen driver on your instance depends on when its AMI was created.

The following table shows key differences between the different drivers.

CharacteristicRedHat PVCitrix PVAWS PV

Instance type

Not supported for all instance types. If you specify an unsupported instance type, the instance is impaired.

Supported for all instance types.

Supported for all instance types.

Attached volumes

Supports up to 16 attached volumes.

Supports more than 16 attached volumes.

Supports more than 16 attached volumes.

Network

The driver has known issues where the network connection resets under high loads; for example, fast FTP file transfers.

The driver automatically configures jumbo frames on the network adapter when on a compatible instance type. When the instance is in a placement group, this offers better network performance between instances in the placement group.

AWS PV Drivers

Windows Server 2012 R2 AMIs include AWS PV drivers. The AWS PV drivers are stored in the %ProgramFiles%\Amazon\Xentools directory. This directory also contains public symbols and a command line tool, xenstore-client.exe, that enables you to access entries in XenStore. For example, the following PowerShell command returns the current time from the Hypervisor:

[DateTime]::FromFileTimeUTC((gwmi -n root\wmi -cl AWSXenStoreBase).XenTime).ToString("hh:mm:ss")
11:17:00

The AWS PV driver components are listed in the Windows registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services. These driver components are as follows: XENBUS, xeniface, xennet, xenvbd, and xenvif.

AWS PV also has a driver component named LiteAgent, which runs as a Windows service. It handles tasks such as shutdown and restart events from the API. You can access and manage services by running Services.msc from the command line.

Citrix PV Drivers

The Citrix drivers are stored in the %ProgramFiles%\Citrix\XenTools (32-bit instances) or %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Citrix\XenTools (64-bit instances) directory.

The Citrix driver components are listed in the Windows registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services. These driver components are as follows: xenevtchn, xeniface, xennet, Xennet6, xensvc, xenvbd, and xenvif.

Citrix also has a driver component named XenGuestAgent, which runs as a Windows service. It handles tasks such as time synchronization at boot (Windows Server 2003 only), and shutdown and restart events from the API. You can access and manage services by running Services.msc from the command line.

If you are encountering networking errors while performing certain workloads, you may need to disable the TCP offloading feature for the Citrix PV driver. For more information, see TCP Offloading.

RedHat PV Drivers

The source files for the RedHat drivers are in the %ProgramFiles%\RedHat (32-bit instances) or %ProgramFiles(x86)%\RedHat (64-bit instances) directory. The two drivers are rhelnet, the RedHat Paravirtualized network driver, and rhelscsi, the RedHat SCSI miniport driver.

For more information about upgrading your RedHat drivers on an existing AMI to Citrix drivers, see Upgrading PV Drivers on Your Windows AMI.

Upgrading PV Drivers on Your Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Instances

Before you start upgrading your RedHat drivers to Citrix drivers, make sure you do the following:

To upgrade a Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 AMI

  1. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator. For more information about connecting to your instance, see Connecting to Your Windows Instance Using RDP.

  2. In your instance, download the Citrix upgrade package by going to Amazon EC2 Windows Paravirtual Driver Upgrade Script.

  3. Extract the contents of the upgrade package to a location of your choice.

  4. Double-click the Upgrade.bat file. If you get a security warning, click Run.

  5. In the Upgrade Drivers dialog box, review the information and click Yes if you are ready to start the upgrade.

  6. In the Red Hat Paravirtualized Xen Drivers for Windows ® uninstaller dialog box, click Yes to remove the RedHat software. Your instance will be rebooted.

    Note

    If you do not see the uninstaller dialog box, click Red Hat Paravirtualiz… in the Windows taskbar.

    Red Hat Paravirtualized in taskbar
  7. Check that the instance has rebooted and is ready to be used.

    1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

    2. On the Instances page, right-click your instance and select Get System Log.

    3. The upgrade operations should have restarted the server 3 or 4 times. You can see this in the log file by the number of times Windows is Ready to use is displayed.

      Windows system log
  8. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator.

  9. Close the Red Hat Paravirtualized Xen Drivers for Windows ® uninstaller dialog box.

  10. Confirm that the installation is complete. Navigate to the Citrix-WIN_PV folder that you extracted earlier, open the PVUpgrade.log file, and then check for the text INSTALLATION IS COMPLETE.

    PVUpgrade log file

Upgrading Your Citrix Xen Guest Agent Service

If you are using Citrix drivers on your Windows server, you can upgrade the Citrix Xen guest agent service. This Windows service handles tasks such as time synchronization at boot, as well as shutdown and restart events from the API. You can run this upgrade package on any version of Windows Server, including Windows Server 2012.

Before you start upgrading your drivers, make sure you back up your important information on the instance, or create an AMI from the instance. For more information about creating an AMI, see Creating an Amazon EBS-Backed Windows AMI. If you create an AMI, make sure you do the following:

  • Do not enable the Sysprep tool in the EC2Config service.

  • Write down your password.

  • Set your Ethernet adapter to DHCP.

To upgrade your Citrix Xen guest agent service

  1. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator. For more information about connecting to your instance, see Connecting to Your Windows Instance Using RDP.

  2. In your instance, download the Citrix upgrade package by going to Amazon EC2 Windows Paravirtual Driver Upgrade Script.

  3. Extract the contents of the upgrade package to a location of your choice.

  4. Double-click the Upgrade.bat file. If you get a security warning, click Run.

  5. In the Upgrade Drivers dialog box, review the information and click Yes if you are ready to start the upgrade.

  6. When the upgrade is complete, the PVUpgrade.log file will open and contain the text UPGRADE IS COMPLETE.

  7. Reboot your instance.

Upgrading PV Drivers on Your Windows Server 2003 Instance

Before you start upgrading your RedHat drivers to Citrix drivers, make sure you do the following:

To upgrade a Windows Server 2003 AMI

  1. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator. For more information about connecting to your instance, see Connecting to Your Windows Instance Using RDP.

  2. In your instance, download the Citrix upgrade package by going to Amazon EC2 Windows Paravirtual Driver Upgrade Script.

  3. Extract the contents of the upgrade package to a location of your choice.

  4. Double-click the Upgrade.bat file. If you get a security warning, click Run.

  5. In the Upgrade Drivers dialog box, review the information and click Yes if you're ready to start the upgrade.

  6. In the Red Hat Paravirtualized Xen Drivers for Windows ® uninstaller dialog box, click Yes to remove the RedHat software. Your instance will be rebooted.

    Note

    If you do not see the uninstaller dialog box, click Red Hat Paravirtualiz… in the Windows taskbar.

    Red Hat Paravirtualized in taskbar
  7. Check that the instance has been rebooted and is ready to be used.

    1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

    2. On the Instances page, right-click your instance and select Get System Log.

    3. Check the end of the log message. It should read Windows is Ready to use.

  8. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator. The upgrade will continue by opening four applications: PowerShell, RedHat uninstaller, PVUpgrade.log and the Windows Device Manager.

  9. Uninstall the PCI BUS.

    1. In the Device Manager window, expand System devices, right-click PCI bus and click Uninstall.

      Device Manager
    2. When prompted, click OK.

    3. In the System Settings Change dialog, click No as you do not want to restart your instance immediately.

    4. Close Device Manager. The upgrade script reboots your instance.

  10. Check that the instance is ready by repeating the procedure in step 7. After you've confirmed it is ready, log in as the administrator.

  11. Confirm that the installation is complete. Navigate to the Citrix-WIN_PV folder that you extracted earlier, open the PVUpgrade.log file, and then check for the text INSTALLATION IS COMPLETE.

    PVUpgrade log file

Troubleshooting

This topic addresses issues that you might encounter with the Citrix PV driver.

TCP Offloading

By default, TCP offloading is enabled for the Citrix PV drivers in Windows AMIs. If you encounter transport-level errors or packet transmission errors (as visible on the Windows Performance Monitor)—for example, when you're running certain SQL workloads—you may need to disable this feature.

Note

Disabling TCP offloading may reduce the network performance of your instance.

To disable TCP offloading for Windows Server 2012 and 2008

  1. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator.

  2. If you're using Windows Server 2012, press Ctrl+Esc to access the Start screen, and then click Control Panel. If you're using Windows Server 2008, click Start and select Control Panel.

  3. Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center.

  4. Click Change adapter settings.

  5. Right-click Citrix PV Ethernet Adapter #0 and select Properties.

    Local area connection properties
  6. In the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box, click Configure to open the Citrix PV Ethernet Adapter #0 Properties dialog box.

  7. On the Advanced tab, disable each of the following properties by selecting them in the Property list, and selecting Disabled from the Value list:

    • IPv4 Checksum Offload

    • Large Receive Offload (IPv4)

    • Large Send Offload Version 2 (IPv4)

    • TCP Checksum Offload (IPv4)

    • UDP Checksum Offload (IPv4)

    Citrix PV Ethernet adapter properties
  8. Click OK.

  9. Run the following commands from a Command Prompt window.

    C:\> netsh int ip set global taskoffload=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global netdma=disabled
  10. Reboot the instance.

To disable TCP offloading for Windows Server 2003

  1. Connect to your instance and log in as the local administrator.

  2. Click Start, and select Control Panel, then Network Connections, and then Local Area Connection 3.

  3. Click Properties.

  4. In the Local Area Connection 3 dialog box, click Configure... to open the Citrix PV Ethernet Adapter #0 Properties dialog box.

  5. On the Advanced tab, disable each of the following properties by selecting them in the Property list, and selecting Disabled from the Value list:

    • IPv4 Checksum Offload

    • Large Send Offload Version 1 (IPv4)

    • TCP Checksum Offload (IPv4)

    • UDP Checksum Offload (IPv4)

    Citrix PV Ethernet adapter properties
  6. Click OK.

  7. Run the following commands from a Command Prompt window.

    C:\> netsh int ip set global taskoffload=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled
    C:\> netsh int tcp set global netdma=disabled
  8. Reboot the instance.

Time Synchronization

Prior to the release of the 2013.02.13 Windows AMI, the Citrix Xen guest agent could set the system time incorrectly. This can cause your DHCP lease to expire. If you have issues connecting to your instance, you might need to update the agent.

To determine whether you have the updated Citrix Xen guest agent, check whether the C:\Program Files\Citrix\XenGuestAgent.exe file is from March 2013. If the date on this file is earlier than that, update the Citrix Xen guest agent service. For more information, see Upgrading Your Citrix Xen Guest Agent Service.