There are various changes and new features which you can review HERE but I have listed some of the relevant ones below. Some of the key changes are around Citrix’s cloud capabilities (as expected).
What strikes me is the overwhelming ‘generosity’ of promoting another vendor’s management platform as part of their own announcement. So all of us aware of the Microsoft’s SCVMM 2012 beta of course knew that it can manage XenServer … but why is Citrix so ‘keen’ to put it in as a ‘feature’ in their own announcement? Is this not the management control point one would want to keep … ?
Now don’t get me wrong, as ‘consumer’ I absolutely welcome open choice and I’m under no illusion that SCVMM 2012 will not be a full replacement for all native XenCenter functions. But that’s the point, using SCVMM will promote the “microsoft way” of doing virtualization management. SCVMM 2012 promises to be a major improvement over the previous version and shapes up to be a credible alternative to vCenter and vCloud Director management and – compared to XenCenter – will potentially offer superior functionality in many respects.
So yes, we completely understand why Citrix and Microsoft promote respective management capabilities of VMware vSphere (hypervisor) – so down the solution stack - … entice folks to shift eventually onto their management platform.
But I quite frankly fail to see why I would do the opposite and promote someone else’s management stack … unless I am prepared to indeed adopt it as the product of choice. Let’s be honest, if you go down that route (and you can argue that this is already EXTREME speculation – but a valid question) then where does that leave the relevance of XenServer as hypervisor in such a stack…?
Given the recent upheaval of Crosby and Pratt leaving Citrix to start Bromium this is not necessarily the message Citrix wants to convey to customers right now (as indirectly as it is). The announcement to discontinue Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V could have been interpreted as effort to focus on its own XenServer management capabilities – or was it just the recognition that Microsoft is winning this battle and a strategic alignment longer term (avoiding duplication of efforts) …?
The XenServer product line has seen impressive improvements over the last couple of years and I actually personally consider it today in many respects to be ‘Nr.2′ in the industry only behind vSphere from a hypervisor and management functionality point of view.
So maybe this is nothing but a ‘marketing oversight’, but the overall ecosystem challenges and the carefully crafted but sometimes ‘suffocating’ Microsoft relationship clearly has the potential to be an inhibitor as much as it is a strategic accelerator for Citrix overall.
XenServer 6 – New Features
- Self Service Manager – This new feature (superseding Lab Manager) enables you to build self-service environments for “private clouds.” Self-Service Manager includes support for both XenServer as well as VMware vSphere
- simple virtual appliance and web-based UI.
- offers multi-tenant support for creating VM “service catalogs”
- vApps- Virtual Appliance support. Within XenCenter 6.0 you can create multi-VM virtual appliances (vApps), with relationships between the VMs for use with the boot sequence during Site Recovery. vApps can be easily imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard
Microsoft System Center integration:
- Starting with the XS 6.0 release, you will have the option of managing XenServer hosts and VMs with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012. For more information refer to the Microsoft System Center 2012 beta page
- System Center integration is available with a special supplemental pack from Citrix (installed on XenServer hosts), which is targeted for general availability when System Center 2012 ships later this year.
- GPU pass-through (formerly experimental support) – 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
Other (virtualizationmatrix-related) updates
- Host RAM support has been increased to 1 TB
- VM vCPU and vRAM support is increased e.g. up to 16 vCPUs and 128 GB RAM for Windows; increased Linux vCPU and vRAM support levels vary by distro