Citrix Systems today 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 continues to grow market presence and adoption, fueled by the strong leadership of the underlying open source Xen technology, the virtualization platform of choice in a majority of the public cloud today. XenServer was recently positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the leaders quadrant of the “2011 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure, and was listed as a “Champion” in Info-Tech Research Group’s Vendor Landscape report on server virtualization.
As the industry progresses into the Cloud Era, new cloud services are emerging that demand platforms that are purpose-built for cloud computing with requirements that are significantly different from the traditional enterprise datacenters of today. 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. In addition, by leveraging XenServer 6 with the recently-released Citrix CloudStack, users can be assured 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.
For customers desiring a cost-effective, powerful, and integrated server virtualization solution, improvements in XenServer 6 make it even easier to download, install and use. Since its inception, XenServer has employed a simple licensing model that does not place artificial limitations on breadth of use or impose cost increases as customers utilize higher density servers with more CPUs and memory available for virtual workloads. As a result, users can preserve existing virtualization investments while continuing to grow their virtual infrastructure. In addition, VMware customers can break free from the escalating cost model recently imposed with VMware’s new vSphere 5 licensing plan (often referred to as the “vTax”), but also gain the added flexibility of leveraging the most cloud-optimized server virtualization solution in the market.
New features in XenServer 6 include:
- 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. 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. With this release, physical GPUs can be centrally pooled and assigned to a virtual desktop, enabling direct access and optimal graphics performance. Additionally, the Citrix XenDesktop and XenServer product teams have continued to innovate in reducing storage overhead in virtual desktop deployments, leveraging local storage where possible and reducing the storage costs dramatically for XenDesktop customers utilizing the XenServer IntelliCache feature.
- “Ten to Xen” – In further simplifying the management requirements for XenServer, customers can still install the product and be up and running in a matter of minutes, while also employing 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 now provides customers 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. For more information refer to the Microsoft System Center 2012 beta page.
- Powerful, Open Source Xen Hypervisor Engine – XenServer 6 incorporates Xen 4.1 hypervisor, the latest release of the industry’s most popular and secure open source hypervisor that resulted from 11 months of development across more than 25 organizations. The new version of the Xen hypervisor includes advancements for latency-sensitive workloads, improved support for very large systems, and many new security features. See the Xen 4.1 release announcement for a full list of what’s new.
For a complete list of features, please visit: http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX130418
XenServer 6 is immediately available for download on the XenServer download page.