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Citrix XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1

Citrix announces the release of XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1! This latest release of XenServer continues our commitment to provide the best virtualization platform for customers who want to leverage server virtualization within their datacenter environment, host virtual desktops for XenDesktop or build the next generation cloud computing infrastructure.

In this release, XenServer has been optimized to run XenDesktop installations with greater performance by storing boot images and non-persistent data to local storage; includes distributed virtual switching to create multi-tenant, highly secure and extremely flexible network fabrics; integrates a web-based console for delegated, remote VM management; and automates VM snapshots to protect against data loss in the event of a VM failure.


Important: Advanced editions and higher of Citrix XenServer require a Citrix License Server (11.6 or higher) to run. To license these editions, you must configure Citrix Licensing and the licensing settings inside each XenServer host.

  • An overview of licensing XenServer, including required settings, is in the Citrix XenServer 5.6 FP1 Installation Guide.
  • For information about obtaining license files and installing a license server, go to the Licensing Your Product section on Citrix eDocs.

New Features

XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 includes a number of new features and ongoing improvements, including:

  • Distributed Virtual Switching provides distributed, fine-grained networking configuration and control policies, which increase visibility into XenServer virtual networks. Support for the vSwitch has been added as a post-install option on XenServer hosts, as well as a Controller for administration of multiple vSwitches and cross-server private networks.
  • Jumbo Frames are now supported for storage networks when the vSwitch is used.
  • VM Protection and Recovery: configure scheduled snapshots and (optional) archive of virtual machines.
  • Web Self-Service provides browser-based access to selected virtual machines by delegated administrators.
  • Boot from SAN with multipathing support: boot XenServer hosts with HBAs from a SAN, with multipathing support.
  • HA Restart Priority: configure HA policies to restart specific VMs first.
  • Enhanced XenCenter, including workload reporting for VM utilization and chargeback.
  • Improved MPP RDAC multipathing, including path health reporting and alerting in XenCenter.
  • Snapshot improvements, including improved reclamation of space after VM snapshots are deleted, even if the VM is running.
  • Enhanced guest OS support for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP1.
  • Generic Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.x support: RHEL / CentOS / Oracle Enterprise Linux versions 5.0 to 5.5 support with a generic “RHEL 5” template.
  • Brocade HBA drivers and command-line tools are included in XenServer.
  • Provisioning Services improvements to Windows volume license (MAK and KMS) support.
  • XenDesktop platform enhancements provide local host caching of VM images to reduce storage TCO for XenDesktop VDI deployments. (Note: these platform enhancements will be enabled by a future version of XenDesktop).

Click here to download and read more!

XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Release Notes
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Quick Start Guide
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Administrator’s Guide
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Installation Guide
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Virtual Machine Installation Guides
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Software Development Kit Guide
XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Supplemental Pack & DDK Guide

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