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Citrix XenServer 6.0

Citrix have released XenServer 6.0 to web. I have been waiting long time for this great release from Citrix. I have been using and testing the GPU pass-through technology thats is now supported in XenServer 6.0, i tested the technology with XenServer 5.6.x it was not stable in XenServer 6TP it worked like a charm and now its official supported. XenServer 6.0 raise the bar again within Server Virtualization and improve areas like performance, scalability, cloud ready, XenDesktop enhancements.

Lets dig in.

New Features

XenServer 6.0 includes a number of new features and ongoing improvements, including:

Integrated Site Recovery (Disaster Recovery). Remote data replication between storage arrays with fast recovery and failback capabilities. Integrated
Site Recovery replaces StorageLink Gateway Site Recovery used in previous versions, removes the Windows VM requirement, and works with any iSCSI or
Hardware HBA storage repository.

Integrated StorageLink. Access to use existing storage array-based features such as data replication, de-duplication, snapshot and cloning.
Replaces the StorageLink Gateway technology used in previous editions and removes requirement to run a Windows VM with the StorageLink components.

GPU Pass-Through. Enables a physical GPU to be assigned to a VM providing high-end graphics. Allows applications to leverage GPU instructions in
XenDesktop VDI deployments with HDX 3D Pro.

Virtual Appliance Support (vApp). Ability to create multi-VM and boot sequenced virtual appliances (vApps) that integrate with Integrated Site
Recovery and High Availability. vApps can be easily imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard.

Rolling Pool Upgrade Wizard. Simplify upgrades (automated or semi-automated) to XenServer 6.0 with a wizard that performs pre-checks with a
step-by-step process that blocks unsupported upgrades.

Microsoft SCVMM & SCOM Support. Manage XenServer hosts and VMs with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012. System Center
Operations Manager (SCOM) 2012 will also be able to manage and monitor XenServer hosts and VMs. System Center integration is available with a special
supplemental pack from Citrix. For more information refer to the Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager page.

Distributed Virtual Switch Improvements. New fail safe mode allows Cross-Server Private Networks, ACLs, QoS, RSPAN and NetFlow settings to continue to be applied to a running VM in the event of vSwitch Controller failure.

Increased Performance and Scale. Supported limits have been increased to 1 TB memory for XenServer hosts, and up to16 virtual processors and 128 GB virtual memory for VMs. Improved XenServer Tools with smaller footprint.

Networking Improvements. Open vSwitch is now the default networking stack in XenServer 6.0 and now provides formal support for Active-Backup NIC bonding.

VM Import & Export Improvements. Full support for VM disk and OVF appliance imports directly from XenCenter with the ability to change VM
parameters (virtual processor, virtual memory, virtual interfaces, and target storage repository) with the Import wizard. Full OVF import support for
XenServer, XenConvert and VMware.

SR-IOV Improvements. Improved scalability and certification with the SR-IOV Test Kit. Experimental SR-IOV with XenMotion support with Solarflare
SR-IOV adapters.

Simplified Installer. Host installations only require a single ISO.

Enhanced Guest OS Support. Support for Ubuntu 10.04 (32/64-bit). Updated support for Debian Squeeze 6.0 64-bit, Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.0
(32/64-bit) and SLES 10 SP4 (32/64-bit). Experimental VM templates for CentOS 6.0 (32/64-bit), Ubuntu 10.10 (32/64-bit) and Solaris 10.

Workload Balancing Improvements. New, ready-to-use Linux-based virtual appliance with a smaller footprint replaces the Windows-based virtual appliance and eliminates the Windows licensing dependency.

XenDesktop Enhancements. HDX enhancements for optimized user experience with virtual desktops, GPU Pass-Through, and increased VM and XenServer host limits.

VM Protection & Recovery. Now available for Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum Edition customers.

NFS Support for High Availability. HA Heartbeat disk can now reside on a NFS storage repository.

XenCenter Improvements. XenCenter operations now run in parallel, and XenCenter will be available in Japanese and Simplified Chinese (ETA Q4

Host Architectural Improvements. XenServer 6.0 now runs on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, provides GPT support and a smaller, more scalable Dom0.

XenServer Virtual Appliances

The following XenServer virtual appliances are available for download from the Citrix XenServer 6.0 Download page:

  • Demo Linux Virtual Appliance
  • Workload Balancing Virtual Appliance
  • Citrix License Server Virtual Appliance
  • vSwitch Controller Virtual Appliance

Installation and Upgrades

Upgrade to XenServer 6.0 is possible from any version of XenServer 5.6 including 5.6 (base), 5.6 Feature Pack 1, and 5.6 Service Pack 2.

Upgrading XenServer

Customers upgrading from XenServer 5.6 and later should follow the instructions below. These instructions apply to customers using the XenCenter
Rolling Pool Upgrade wizard to upgrade XenServer hosts or pools. For details on upgrading XenServer using the xe CLI, please refer to the XenServer 6.0
Installation Guide

Note: For information on upgrading the vSwitch Controller Virtual Appliance, see the XenServer 6.0 vSwitch Controller User Guide.

Before You Upgrade

  • Download the 6.0 version of XenCenter.
  • Citrix strongly recommends that you take a backup of the state of your existing pool using the pool-dumpdatabase xe CLI command (see the
    XenServer 6.0 Administrator’s Guide).
  • Consider suspending any non-critical VMs to ensure that hosts have sufficient memory to carry out the upgrade.

To Upgrade XenServer Using the XenCenter Rolling Pool Upgrade Wizard:

  1. Open the Rolling Pool Upgrade wizard: on the Tools menu, select Rolling Pool Upgrade.
  2. Read the Before You Start information, and then click Next to continue.
  3. Select the pool(s) and/or individual hosts that you wish to upgrade, and then click Next.
  4. Choose Automatic Mode or Manual Mode, depending on whether you are planning an automated upgrade from network installation files located on an HTTP, NFS or FTP server, or a manual upgrade from either a CD/DVD or via PXE boot (using already existing infrastructure).Note: If you choose Manual Mode, you must run the XenServer installer on each XenServer host in turn and follow the on-screen instructions
    on the serial console of the host. Once the upgrade begins, XenCenter prompts you to insert the XenServer installation media or to specify a PXE boot server for each host that you upgrade.

    Once you have selected your Upgrade Mode, click Run Prechecks.

  5. Follow the recommendations to resolve any upgrade prechecks that have failed. If you would like XenCenter to attempt to automatically resolve all failed prechecks, click Resolve All.Once all prechecks have been resolved, click Next to continue.
  6. Prepare the XenServer installation media.
    • If you chose Automatic Mode, enter the installation media details. Choose HTTP, NFS or FTP and then specify the path, username
      and password, as appropriate.Note: Enter the username and password associated with your HTTP, NFS
      or FTP server, if you have configured security credentials for this server. Do
      not enter the username and password associated with your XenServer pool.
    • If you chose Manual Mode, note the upgrade plan and instructions.

    Click Start Upgrade.

  7. Once the upgrade begins, the Rolling Pool Upgrade wizard guides you through any actions you need to take to upgrade each host. Follow the instructions until you have upgraded all hosts in the pool(s).Once the upgrade completes, the wizard prints a summary. Click Finish to close the wizard.

Fresh Installation of XenServer 6.0

To perform a fresh installation of XenServer 6.0, please refer to the instructions in the XenServer 6.0 Installation Guide.

Download XenServer 6 on (require myCitrixID)


View the Getting Started with XenServer video:

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