Citrix Updates XenServer for Cloud, Virtualization

Citrix Systems has rolled out XenServer 6, an updated version of its server virtualization product. XenServer 6, which optimizes performance and scalability, continues to prove a key element to Citrix strategies for cloud computing, as well as desktop and infrastructure virtualization.

Tags: cloud, Citrix, Xen, XenServer, virtualization, CloudStack,

xenserverv6_imageCitrix Systems has rolled out XenServer 6, an updated version of its server virtualization product. XenServer 6, which optimizes performance and scalability, continues to prove a key element to Citrix strategies for cloud computing, as well as desktop and infrastructure virtualization.

XenServer, which is powered by the open source Xen virtualization platform, delivers these key new features:

  • Optimizations for Cloud and Service Delivery Networking – XenServer 6 includes full integration of Open vSwitch, a core technology used to build next-generation cloud networks based on the innovative OpenFlow standard.  In addition, tight integration with Citrix NetScaler enables hardware-assisted network performance optimizations (SR-IOV) for NetScaler VPX and SDX service delivery products.
  • Optimizations for Desktop Virtualization– XenServer 6 includes HDX enhancements for improved TCO and optimized user experience for virtual desktops using highly graphical applications.  The new release allows physical GPUs to be centrally pooled and assigned to a virtual desktop, enabling direct access and optimal graphics performance. In addition,  the new release helps reduce storage overhead in virtual desktop deployments, allowing IT to leverage local storage where possible.
  • Simple Install and Management – In further simplifying the management requirements for XenServer, customers can still install the product and be up and running in a matter of minutes. This continues the theme of “Ten [minutes] to Xen” Citrix has pioneered with XenServer. The update also allows IT to employ powerful automation features to get the most out of their datacenter resources and ensure service availability and performance.  
  • Full Support for Microsoft System Center 2012 – XenServer 6 allows adopters to manage XenServer hosts and VMs directly from their System Center Management environment – integrating with both Virtual Machine Manager for ongoing machine operations and provisioning and Operations Manager for monitoring and troubleshooting.  For more information refer to the Microsoft System Center 2012 beta page.
  • Updated Open Source Xen Hypervisor Engine – XenServer 6 incorporates Xen 4.1 hypervisor, the latest Xen hypervisor release, which includes advancements for latency-sensitive workloads, improved support for very large systems, and many new security features.

 

Citrix’ latest update to XenServer comes as new cloud services are emerging that demand platforms that are purpose-built for cloud computing – and with requirements that are significantly different from the traditional enterprise datacenters of today, according to the Citrix XenServer team.


“ These platforms need to be designed from the ground up to deliver multi-tier, multi-tenant services in the simplest and most cost-effective way, using virtualization as a key enabler.  Rather than attempting to force-fit cloud capabilities into existing server virtualization architectures, XenServer addresses these challenges by delivering a highly-resilient, cloud-optimized and easily customized virtual platform that helps cloud providers produce differentiated solutions that meet the needs of their customers,” according to a Citrix statement.

XenServer 6 also allows IT to leverage Citrix recently released  CloudStack, allowing them to be sure the core component of their cloud infrastructure has the network and virtualization optimizations necessary for the same scale-out architectures employed by the world’s largest and most successful cloud providers today.

Further, XenServer 6 leverages Citrix Open vSwitch, a production quality, multilayer virtual switch released under the open source Apache 2.0 license. This features aims to enable massive network automation through programmatic extension, while still supporting standard management interfaces and protocols (e.g. NetFlow, sFlow, RSPAN, ERSPAN, CLI, LACP, 802.1ag). It supports distribution across multiple physical servers similar to VMware's vNetwork distributed vswitch or Cisco's Nexus 1000V.




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