Xenserver 6.1

By | October 30, 2012

Citrix have finally released project Tampa from beta to  Xenserver 6.1 hypervisor, finally introducing features like Vmware’s storage Vmotion, in this case called Storage XenMotion.
Citrix have also committed to start releasing 2 updates per year for XenServer.
The following features have been added.

Storage XenMotion:

Storage XenMotion allows running VMs to be moved from one host to another. This includes the case where (a) VMs are not located on storage shared between the hosts and (b) hosts are not in the same resource pool. This enables system administrators to:

  • Rebalance or move VMs between XenServer pools – for example promoting a VM from a development environment to a production environment;
  • Perform software maintenance – for example upgrading or updating standalone XenServer hosts without VM downtime;
  • Perform hardware maintenance – for example upgrading standalone XenServer host hardware without VM downtime;
  • Reduce deployment costs by using local storage.

Live VDI Migration:

Live VDI Migration allows system administrators to relocate a VM’s Virtual Disk Image (VDI) without shutting down the VM. This enables system administrators to:

  • Move a VM from cheap, local storage to fast, resilient, array-backed storage;
  • Move a VM from a development to a production environment;
  • Move between tiers of storage when a VM is limited by storage capacity;
  • Perform storage array upgrades.

Networking Enhancements

  • Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) support: enables the use of industry-standard network bonding features to provide fault-tolerance and load balancing of network traffic.
  • Source Load Balancing (SLB) improvements: allows up to 4 NICs to be used in an active-active bond. This improves total network throughput and increases fault tolerance in the event of hardware failures. The SLB balancing algorithm has been modified to reduce load on switches in large deployments.
  • Multi-Tenancy improvements: allows system administrators to restrict a VM to send and receive traffic on a specific MAC address and a number of IPv4 or IPv6 addresses, without relying on VLANs and switch management software. When these extensions are deployed VMs cannot impersonate any other VM, or intercept traffic intended for any other VM. This increases security in environments where VMs cannot be fully trusted.
  • VLAN Scalability improvements: removes a previous limitation which caused VM deployment delays when large numbers of VLANs were in use. This improvement enables administrators using XenServer 6.1.0 to deploy hundreds of VLANs in a XenServer pool quickly.
  • Emergency Network Reset: provides a simple mechanism to recover and reset a host’s networking, allowing system administrators to revert XenServer hosts to a known good networking state.
  • IPv6 Guest Support: enables the use of IPv6 addresses within guests allowing network administrators to plan for network growth.

Guest Enhancements

  • Citrix XenServer Conversion Manager: enables batch import of VMs created with VMware products into a XenServer pool to reduce costs of converting to a XenServer environment.
  • New Installation Mechanism for XenServer Tools: XenServer Tools are now delivered as industry standard Windows Installer MSI files. This enables the use of 3rd party tools to deliver and manage the installation and upgrade of the XenServer device drivers.

Enhanced Guest OS Support: Newly Supported Guests

  • Ubuntu 12.04
  • CentOS 5.7, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, 6.1, 6.2
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.7, 6.1, 6.2
  • Windows 8 (32-bit/64-bit) – experimental support
  • Windows Server 2012 – experimental support

Ongoing Improvements

  • Supported number of VMs per host increased to 150.
  • XenCenter: configuration of performance graphs simplified; assignment of IP addresses simplified.
  • Performance Monitoring Enhancements Supplemental Pack: provides additional RRD metrics such as I/O throughput that can be viewed in XenCenter.
  • XenServer Tools: guests running Windows operating systems can now make use of either Microsoft .NET 3.5 or .NET 4.0 when installing XenServer Tools.
  • Simplified mechanism to adjust Control Domain (“dom0”) vCPUs.
  • Updated Open vSwitch: v1.4.2 provides stability and performance improvements.
  • Integrated StorageLink (iSL) support for EMC VNX series arrays.
  • GPU Pass-through: support for up to 4 GPUs per host.
  • Interoperability extensions for 3rd Party Tools: additional asynchronous XenAPI C language bindings, Workload Balancing (WLB) extensions and general improvements.
  • Automated Server Hardware Test Kit – reduces the time spent running certification tests
  • Support for hypervisor monitoring (vhostmd) allows SAP software to run inside a XenServer VM.

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