Citrix Optimizes XenServer 6 for Cloud Computing

By Nathan Eddy

Virtual computing solutions specialist Citrix Systems announced the availability of XenServer 6, the most recent edition of its server virtualization product line. As a key component of the Citrix cloud computing and virtualization strategy, XenServer 6 brings new optimizations and improved scalability and performance for cloud infrastructure, desktop virtualization and networking.

XenServer 6 includes full integration of Open vSwitch, a technology used to build cloud networks based on the OpenFlow standard. Integration with Citrix NetScaler enables hardware-assisted network performance optimizations (SR-IOV) for NetScaler VPX and SDX service delivery products. The platform also includes HDX enhancements for improved TCO and optimized user experience for virtual desktops using graphical applications. With this release, physical GPUs can be centrally pooled and assigned to a virtual desktop.

XenServer 6 also provides businesses with the option of managing 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. In addition, the platform incorporates Xen 4.1 hypervisor, which includes advancements for latency-sensitive workloads, improved support for very large systems and new security features.

"With every release of XenServer, more customers are realizing that the vast majority of their workloads do not require the expense and complexity of VMware vSphere," said Peder Ulander, vice president of product marketing for Citrix’s cloud platforms group. According to industry analyst estimates, today’s average enterprise only has 40 to 50 percent of its servers virtualized, while ultimately they need 70 to 80 percent virtualized to meet the demands of the cloud era. When customers extrapolate the cost of getting to that point, they recognize the need to adopt simpler, highly functional, cost-effective virtualization solutions."

Other features include integrated site recovery with remote data replication between storage arrays with fast recovery and failback capabilities. Integrated site recovery replaces StorageLink Gateway Site Recovery used in previous versions, removes the Windows VM requirement, and works with any iSCSI or hardware HBA storage repository. Supported limits have been increased to 1TB memory for XenServer hosts, and up to 16 virtual processors and 128GB virtual memory for VMs.

This article was originally published on 2011-10-03