Citrix releases XenServer 6.1 with cloud and 'shared-nothing' storage capabilities

Citrix has released the latest version of its virtualisation platform XenServer. V6.1 includes shared-nothing storage feature and better cloud integration

Citrix Systems has released the latest version of its virtualisation platform XenServer. Version 6.1 features cloud integration capabilities and a storage feature called Storage XenMotion that will bring agility as it allows IT executives to freely move virtual machines without the need for shared storage.

XenServer 6.1 is integrated with Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform to simplify cloud adoption for its users. The cloud-related capabilities help IT pros to easily partition firewalls, balance workloads and prevent attacks on systems in both public and private cloud environments, according to Citrix.

The tight integration between XenServer and CloudPlatform will provide a new level of manageability and security that will offer a strategic advantage for our cloud customers,” said Peder Ulander, vice-president of product marketing, Cloud Platforms Group, Citrix.

Meanwhile, the storage feature in XenServer 6.1 – Storage XenMotion – is similar to the “shared-nothing” storage migration which is introduced in Microsoft’s latest virtualisation platform Hyper-V 3.0 and VMware platform vSphere 5.1. 

IT pros welcomed the shared-nothing capability as it brings the much-needed virtual machine mobility and storage mobility.

The new storage feature in the virtualisation platforms allows admins to migrate a virtual machine (VM) from one physical server with direct-attached storage to another physical server with direct-attached storage. This means there is no requirement of clustering or shared storage between both servers and a small connection such as a Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) cable will be enough to ensure zero downtime.

Among other features, XenServer 6.1 includes improved networking and security capabilities, increased supplier compatibility and automated virtual machine conversion tools, Citrix has said.

The latest version of Citrix XenServer also features a tool called Conversion Manager that helps IT pros ensure they are using the correct platform for their chosen applications in the datacentre and in the cloud.

Virtualisation professionals need to use the right platform for the right applications to ensure cost savings and improved performance.

Despite the pricing changes VMware has made (VMware killed its unpopular vRAM licensing scheme), the reality is that VMware focused attention on the cost of their virtual infrastructure and that companies are looking at ways to contain the cost of leveraging vSphere, said Tim Mackey, XenServer Evangelist at Citrix Systems, on a Citrix blog post. 

“This really boils down to leveraging vSphere for its strengths and, when vSphere isn’t really needed, looking to an alternate platform,” Mackey said.  We created the XenServer Conversion Manager to seamlessly batch convert vSphere virtual machines to XenServer.”

XenServer 6.1 is available for download and comes in four versions – free, Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum. All versions include virtualisation management tool XenCenter and are available on a per server licensing structure with editions, starting at $1,000 per server.

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