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XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 Slashes Storage Costs

Noting the high upfront storage costs associated with VDI, Citrix introduced VDI IntelliCache as part of the latest XenServer rev. Citrix says dynamically provisioned virtual desktops in datacenters generate a high amount of disk activity, which bogs down performance and expands the use of costly network storage. However, some 80 percent of these writes to disk in the case of shared image desktops involve temporary or non-persistent data that should not be saved in SAN or NAS environments. IntelliCache identifies this traffic and caches it in local, server-side disks, which increases performance while decreasing VDI costs. This capability is sure to be welcomed by the growing ranks of VDI users.

Turning to the cloud, Citrix says the external adoption of cloud services is inhibited by the failure to unify existing network and cloud services into a "single pool of capacity" that supports the seamless services migration between datacenters and external cloud providers. Citrix's answer to this dilemma is the integration of Distributing Virtual Switching within XenServer.

According to Citrix, "DVS technology leverages industry-standard protocols such as OpenFlow to create an integrated network fabric that makes it easy to seamlessly manage on-premise and off-premise resources." This enables IT admins to manage their network traffic on a global basis, creates fault tolerance, improves traffic isolation, and links network policies and personalities to each VM. These characteristics remain attached to the VMs as they "move across virtual boundaries such as external cloud environments."

DVS is included in the free version of XenServer at no charge, with advanced controls available in upgrade editions.

There are two additional XenServer features of note. The first, Advanced VM Protection and Recovery, enables admins to schedule automatic snapshots of VM disk and memory states before archiving the images to specific secure storage locations. The second, the XenServer Web Management Console, provides admins an easy way to provide application owners direct access to VMs for which they are responsible. This web console can be accessed from any browser for uncomplicated daily management jobs, or for delegating daily management to individual owners.

XenServer 5.6 Feature pack 1 will be available in Q4.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/08/2010 at 12:48 PM


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