Virtualization Technology News and Information
Citrix Releases Next-Generation XenServer 6.5

Today, Citrix announced XenServer 6.5, the newest release of the company's commercial virtualization platform based on the open-source Xen Project hypervisor. XenServer now offers a full 64-bit kernel architecture that allows customers to take advantage of the latest hardware and OS platforms, and supports enterprise-grade networking, storage and workload management. XenServer supports Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT), which provides tamper detection of the hypervisor, preventing applications running on a potentially compromised machine. New to this release, asset tagging enables workload geo-tagging, providing users with a way to restrict workloads to run in a particular location for security reasons.  XenServer further extends the company's industry-leading GPU virtualization capabilities supporting NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology and delivers a 50 percent increase in server density for delivering high-end 3D graphics applications in virtual desktops. With its next-generation kernel architecture supporting both enterprise-grade and carrier-grade features, XenServer is the most comprehensive, cost-effective and open virtualization platform choice for enterprises and service providers.

To meet with the demands of the evolving mobile enterprise, customers need cloud infrastructure technology that maximizes the flexibility and efficiency of both end-user workspaces and datacenter operations, all in a secure manner. XenServer is a crucial piece of this cloud infrastructure, running mission-critical workloads for some of the world's largest communication service providers, cloud service providers and enterprises. As an example, 50 percent of XenDesktop deployments are run on XenServer. Benefits to enterprise and service provider customers include increased operational agility and flexibility by delivering new and existing workloads more quickly, reliably and in greater quantities; enhanced IT efficiencies through higher infrastructure utilization and consolidation ratios; and lower TCO of datacenter operations by maximizing and optimizing infrastructure and capacity utilization.

What's New in XenServer 6.5:

  • 64-bit Control Domain Linux Kernel - Dom0 has been upgraded from CentOS 5.7 to CentOS 5.10. The new 64-bit Control Domain (Dom0) enables XenServer to accommodate many more PCI devices per host (NICs, GPUs, and so on),and allows the use of devices that are 64-bit only (including many Solid State Drive solutions).  
  • Includes the latest Xen Project Hypervisor 4.4 - It vastly increases the number of virtual event channels available for Dom0, from 1023 to 131071, which translates into a correspondingly larger number of attached virtual devices. Xen4.4 also handles grant-copy locking requests more efficiently, dramatically improving aggregate network and disk throughput. And it allows VMs to have a far richer set of virtual devices.
  • In-Memory Read Caching - Read caching improves a VM's disk performance, reducing the amount of I/O going to and from the physical storage.
  • Storage Improvements - Includes a number of new features such as Space reclamation on the array; Live LUN expansion; Support for Tapdisk3; Updated device mapper multipath; and Removal of integrated StorageLink
  • Networking Improvements - Includes many improvements relating to network throughput.  Including, Updated Open vSwitch; GRO enables by default; Netback thread per VIF; and the Distributed virtual switch controller is now fully supported.
  • vGPU Improvements - Includes GPU Pass-through as well as NVIDIA GRID vGPU - the first virtualization solution to support hardware-based GPU sharing. XenServer 6.5 includes performance, scalability, usability, and functiona limprovements to vGPU. XenServer will scale as your hardware grows with support for more physical GPUs per host - it now supports up to 96 vGPU accelerated VMs per host (with 3xK1-cards) compared to 64 vGPU accelerated VMs in XenServer 6.2SP1, further reducing the TCO for deployments. 
  • Revised Configuration Limits - An increased support limit for the number of VBDs per host, XenServer 6.5 supports up to 2048: (XenServer 6.2 supported up to 512). An increased support limit for the number of LUNs per host, XenServer 6.5 supports up to 256: (XenServer 6.2 supported up to 150 or 75 if used by an SR). 
  • Improved Workload Balancing - WLB gives system administrators deep insight into system performance, allowing infrastructure optimization. WLB allows you to generate granular performance monitoring reports, alert administrators to system hot spots, automatically place workloads based on historic data, and dynamically moves workloads based on current CPU, storage and network load. 
  • Hardware Support - Enables support for the latest generation of CPUs, including Intel Haswell EP, Intel Ivy Bridge EX,and AMD Warsaw.

New Architecture Delivers Improved Performance
The new 64-bit kernel architecture has resulted in dramatic improvements in networking and storage performance, providing customers with a powerful virtualization platform for running new and existing workloads in their workspace and datacenter environments. As part of this release, enterprise-class features for workload balancing (WLB) and distributed virtual switch controller (DVSC) have also been re-introduced. All these improvements now extend XenServer as the lead choice of some of the largest and most sophisticated clouds in the world.

Industry-leading GPU Virtualization with NVIDIA GRID vGPU Technology
XenServer is the industry's only open enterprise-grade and carrier-grade virtualization platform delivering highly-scalable GPU virtualization support for NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology and native cloud integration for CloudPlatform, and other non-proprietary cloud management platforms. With a 50 percent increase in server density, customers using XenDesktop and XenApp to deliver high-end 3D graphics apps can now achieve a greater density of desktops using XenServer, resulting in dramatically reduced costs and improved end-user experience.

Published Tuesday, January 13, 2015 6:59 AM by David Marshall
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