There are many people out there that think XenServer is gone, dead, or similar. There are many people out there than will not agree with me at all, but for those of you who watched the Synergy keynote yesterday, might have noticed that they mentioned an upcoming XenServer technical preview! So, how come that is something to write an article about? Well, XenServer is going all 64-bit on us! Why 64-bit is so important you might ask! Well, XenServer is not fully 64 bit today. Dom0 runs on 32bit and this is where the performance++ gain would get a boost.
The move to a full 64-bit capable XenServer will boost performance, scalability, and hardware support. The NVIDIA vGPU support that Citrix added to XenServer in 6.2 now supports up to 64 vGPUs per host, and up to 8 physical GPUs per host with GPU pass-through enabled. The move to a 64-bit platform will dramatically increase these limits, allowing even more graphically-intensive XenDesktop and XenApp workloads, which will give a greater ROI for the customers.
According to Citrix, there will be better performance, and that we should expect to see fruits from a significant amount of work that their Performance team have put into improving IO throughput in the upcoming XenServer version.
I’ve always been a fan of XenServer. I think it’s easy to work with, less complex than it’s big brother, but with Microsoft Hyper-v gathering traction fast in the market, XenServer is kind of like the lost brother in the virtualization gang. Now, I think bringing XenServer to a full 64-bit stand, will give XenServer more love. Why? Because, scalability, performance and support will be even greater. The other good thing about XenServer is that it’s FREE!!!! Yes, it’s 100% free! If you want to upgrade XenServer with Hotfixes via XenCenter and want support, then you can buy it. If you can go with updating it via CLI and don’t care about Citrix Support, then it’s FREE! So, being the advocate for Xen for many years that I’ve been, this is good news, and will actually, like it or not, put XenServer back on the hypervisor map.