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Citrix Announced General Availability of XenServer 7.6 - Adds Thin Provisioning and Networking SR-IOV

Citrix announced general availability of XenServer 7.6, the latest release for those following the Current Release model. 

XenServer 7.6 is available in the following editions:

  • Enterprise Edition
  • Standard Edition
  • Free Edition

For information about the features available in each edition, see the XenServer Feature Matrix

XenServer introduced enhanced features and functionality for application, desktop, and server virtualization use cases.  All XenServer 7.6 features are available to all licensed Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenApp and XenDesktop) customers.

While there are several new features in 7.6 that enhance and extend the capabilities of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Citrix said that support for thin provisioning on block storage for virtual disk storage repositories and Networking SR-IOV have been eagerly anticipated by customers.  Initially available as experimental features in the 7.5 CR release, Citrix expects rapid and wide implementation of these features in production environments as customers look to achieve significant savings in storage cost and capacity as well as more efficient utilization of PCI devices and improved I/O performance. 

Networking SR-IOV: Passthrough of Virtual Functions (Enterprise Edition)

XenServer can now use Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) that allows a single PCI device to appear as multiple PCI devices on the physical system.

You can assign one or more NIC Virtual Functions to a VM, allowing its network traffic to bypass the virtual switch. When configured, each VM behaves as though it is using the NIC directly, reducing processing overhead, and improving performance.

Thin provisioning for shared block storage - GFS2 (Enterprise Edition)

XenServer makes thin provisioning available to customers using block-based storage accessed through iSCSI software initiator or Hardware HBA. Thin provisioning is implemented by using GFS2.

Thin provisioning makes better use of the available storage by allocating disk storage space to VDIs because data is written to the virtual disk, rather than allocating the full virtual size of the VDI in advance. Thin provisioning enables you to significantly reduce the amount of space required on a shared storage array, and with that your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Changes to guest operating system support

XenServer now supports the following new Linux guests:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5
  • CentOS 7.5
  • Oracle Linux 7.5
  • Scientific Linux 7.5
  • Ubuntu 18.04

Automatic application of hotfixes during upgrade or update

XenServer simplifies the hotfix application mechanism when upgrading your XenServer hosts or pools to a newer version. The enhanced Rolling Pool Upgrade and the Install Update wizards in XenCenter allow you to install available hotfixes when upgrading to a newer version of XenServer. This enables you to bring your standalone hosts or pools up-to-date with a minimum number of reboots at the end. You must be connected to the Internet during the upgrade process for this feature to work.

You can benefit from the automatic application of hotfixes feature when you use XenCenter issued with XenServer 7.6 to upgrade from any supported version of XenServer to XenServer 7.0 and later.

Support for new processors

The following processors are now supported in XenServer 7.6:

  • Intel Processor families E-21xxG/21xx (Coffee Lake S)
XenServer 7.6 is available to download from the XenServer Product Download page.  To access XenServer 7.6 product documentation, see XenServer 7.6 Product Documentation.
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:26 AM by David Marshall
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