7.4 Xen VMs Need Ext2 for the System /Boot Volume

It is recommended that operating systems running in paravirtual mode set up their kernel on a separate partition that uses a non-journaling file system, such as ext2.

Before a paravirtualized operating system can boot, the management domain must construct a virtual machine and place the paravirtualized kernel in it. Then, the paravirtualized operating system boots. To retrieve the kernel during the bootstrapping process, the virtual machine’s boot disk is mounted in read-only mode, the kernel is copied to the virtual machine’s memory, and then the boot disk is unmounted.

When a virtual machine’s operating system crashes, its disks are not shut down in an orderly manner. This should not pose a problem to a virtual machine running in full virtualization mode because the pending disk entries are checked and corrected the next time the operating system starts. If the disk is using a journaling file system, the journal is replayed to update and coordinate any pending disk entries.

This type of system crash poses a potential problem for paravirtualized operating systems. If a paravirtualized operating system using a journaled file system crashes, any pending disk entries cannot be updated and coordinated because the file system is initially mounted in read-only mode.

Therefore, it is recommended that you set virtual machine boot files, such as the kernel and ramdisk, on a separate partition that is formatted with a non-journaling file system, such as ext2.