Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta now released for download

In this release Citrix introduces private cloud self-service tools and platform, networking, performance and scalability improvements designed to enable a multi-tenant environment that reduces your infrastructure total cost of ownership into XenServer.

Key new features:

Product simplification
Includes full integration and management from XenCenter of StorageLink and Site Recovery. All new Linux-based virtual appliances and a single installation ISO.

Enhanced architecture
This release is based on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor and includes Open vSwitch as the default network stack, SR-IOV support and improved networking performance.

XenDesktop enhancements & improvements
HDX enhancements, optimized virtual desktop user experience and GPU pass-through.
6.0 is the first XenServer release to include HDX enhancements for optimized user experience with virtual desktops.
With the 6.0 release, a physical GPU can be assigned to a VM so the applications running in the guest can leverage GPU instructions (“GPU pass-thru”).  This provides significant TCO benefits for the XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro technology used for delivery of CAD and other graphical applications via virtual desktops


Guest OS support updates
New Guest OS support includes Ubuntu 10.04 support, RHEL 5.6 and SLES 10 SP4 support updates. Experimental support for Solaris and Ubuntu 10.10.

Self-service & cloud-building tools
Includes new Self-Service Manager feature which enables you to build “private cloud” self-service environments. Create boot sequenced multi-VM virtual appliances for use with High Availability and Site Recovery and ability to import VMware VMDK and Microsoft VHD disk images.

Microsoft System Center integration
Manage XenServer hosts and VMs with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012. Monitor XenServer hosts with the System Center Operations Manager 2012 and special Supplemental pack from Citrix upon System Center 2012 release.

Platform enhancements & improvements
“Rolling Pool Upgrade” wizard, NFS support for High availability, 1TB host RAM support, increased VM vCPU, vRAM levels and NIC bonding improvements.

Noteworthy changes to existing features

  • Lab Manager has been superseded by Self Service Manager.  Lab Manager will continue to be supported with XenServer 5.x through December 2012 according to the lifecycle policy posted here
  • StorageLink: With the move from the Windows-based “StorageLink Gateway” to “integrated StorageLink,” some StorageLink array support is being retired.  Focus for StorageLink support is being placed on arrays with standards-based SMI-S interfaces (e.g. EMC CLARiiON) and those which are widely used with XenServer (NetApp and Dell EqualLogic).  Arrays whose StorageLink supportability is being retired will continue to be supported via the standard iSCSI and Hardware HBA Storage Repositories.  StorageLink Gateway will continue to be supported with XenServer 5.x until September 2013 according to the lifecycle policy posted here.   Note also that the new “rolling pool” upgrade takes care of upgrading from StorageLink Gateway, and performing validation for unsupported arrays
  • Site Recovery:  Site Recovery is no longer based on StorageLink.  This enables DR support for virtually any iSCSI or Hardware HBA storage repository scenario where the underlying array includes replication features (either supplied by the array vendor or a third-party replication scenario)

The XenServer 6.0 beta program is fully public and available for anyone to download from (a account is required).

Click here to learn more and download Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta