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Citrix XenServer “Cowley” is now available as beta release

October 7, 2010

Just few days before the Citrix Synergy (the EMEA events where virtualization, networking, cloud computing meets…), Citrix prepare us with a very interesting announcement about XenServer. Only four months after the latest release, now is available the beta of the new XenServer Version, codename project “Cowley“, that should be finally named as 5.6 FP1.

As we can read from this article by Bill Carovano, here’s some of what is new on this release:
* Distributed Virtual Switching. This new capability provides distributed fine-grained networking configuration and control policies, which increases visibility into XenServer virtual networks. Support for the Open vSwitch (OVS) has been added as a post-install option on XenServer hosts, as well as a Controller for administration of multiple vSwitches and cross-host internal networks. The open vSwitch also includes support for jumbo frames configuration on storage networks.
* VM Protection & Recovery is used for configuring scheduled snapshots and (optional) export of virtual machines.
* Web Self-Service. Provides browser-based access to selected virtual machines by delegated administrators.
* Boot from SAN with multi-pathing support. Boot XenServer hosts with Fibre channel HBAs from a SAN, with multi-pathing support.
* HA Restart Priority. Configure HA policies to restart specific VM(s) first, such as StorageLink Gateway VMs or the Distributed vSwitch Controller VM.
* Improved XenDesktop VDI scalability. Increased host VM density and resource pool scalability, via multi-vCPU control domain (Dom0) and other enhancements.
* Enhanced XenCenter. Including StorageLink configuration entirely within XenCenter, workload reporting for VM utilization and chargeback.
* Improved MPP RDAC multi-pathing including path health reporting and alerting.
* Snapshot improvements. Automatic reclamation of storage space after VM snapshots have been deleted.
* Enhanced guest OS support for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, RHEL 6.0 (RTM), CentOS 6.0 (RTM), Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.0 (RTM), Debian Squeeze (32 and 64-bit), and SLES 11 SP1.
* Generic RHEL 5.x support. RHEL / CentOS / Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.0- 5.5 support with a generic “RHEL 5” template.
* Brocade HBA drivers and command-line tools are included and shipped with XenServer.
* XenDesktop platform enhancements. Provides local host caching of VM images to reduce storage TCO for XenDesktop VDI deployments. (Note: these platform enhancements will be enabled by a future version of XenDesktop)

You can download the beta using your myCitrix account from this link.

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