Citrix XenServer 5.6 Beta Project Midnight Ride

Citrix XenServe 5.6 Beta1 is available to download and for free here :

This new version brings a lot of really important options I really needed to bring XenServer at my customer’s presentation and be able to use it with my XenApp and XenDesktop architectures. I mean, most of my customers, until now, prefer to pay choosing VMWare ESX or Sphere than Citrix XenServer and one of the main reason is about the granular role-based access controls option which simply doesn’t exist in the actual production version (XenServer 4, 5 and 5.5). This option is coming very late but is still welcome !

Citrix introduces this new version giving the following list of new features :

  • Granular Role-based Access Controls. Administrative users can be assigned one of several roles, which govern the actions they are able to complete from XenCenter and the command-line interface (CLI).
  • Administrative Logging and Audit. Administrative changes made from XenCenter or the CLI are logged and available in the Workload Reports in XenCenter.
  • Dynamic Memory Control. This feature can increase the density of virtual machines running on a host by reducing the memory footprint of existing virtual machines so that new ones can boot.
  • Enhanced VM Snapshots. It is now possible to create full VM snapshots including the disk and memory state.  Virtual machines can be easily rolled back to prior snapshot states with a “revert to snapshot” option.
  • Automated Workload Balancing & Power Management. Workload balancing (WLB) recommendations can be applied automatically without administrative intervention.  Power Management features include support for wake-on-LAN and vendor-specific implementations from HP, Dell, and others.
  • StorageLink Site Recovery. Enhanced integration with storage-level replication enables recovery of an entire virtual infrastructure at a secondary disaster recovery site.
  • Citrix License Server integration. Essentials for XenServer features are now activated using a license applied to a Citrix Licensing Server

The snapshot is really enhanced compare to the previous versions, this is what was missing with role-based access controls, this is small things but so important to all my customers, this is one of the first thing they wanted to see, snapshot management… Until now I was with my powershell scripts etc etc but it wasn’t very sexy to show…

Now it looks like that :

This is a lot more friendly as it was before. I didn’t had the time yet to test everything like create VM from snapshot, use this snapshot to make a backup etc… But it looks promising.

I just come back on the granular role-based access control to show you how it look like, I know many of you won’t have time to install and try a beta, this is the reason why I make so many screenshot to share :

this is the pop-up windows you get when you try to make an action which does not belong to your rights.

Actions are logged, but I don’t see where logs are stored since I’m not able to have the workload report tab… I’ll check that later.

The Dynamic memory control allows you to dynamically reduce or raise quantity of virtual memory allocated. You can set a fix amount of memory or a minimum to maximum memory that can be used by one VM, it look nice and can be very very useful in test and pre-production environments.

I will finish this blog with the license integration, now the Citrix license server is hosting Citrix XenServer license as well, it can be a bit tricky when you choose to virtualize your license server on your XenServer 🙂

I’m not able to check and test HA parts, since I have only one XenServer @ home but as soon as the final version is out, I’ll be able to update my production environment at my office and I’ll make a special Citrix XenServer (5.)6 HA blog.

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