XenSource announced XenEnterprise V4 on August 13th. Here's a quick review of the announcement highlights:
A quick scan of the XenSource announcement reveals that XenEnterprise v4 offers the following new features:
XenMotion and Server Resource Pools: Multiple physical systems may be combined into a pool of virtual resources. XenMotion makes it possible for running virtual machines to be moved or "migrated" from one physical machine to another. The result is a more resilient, more agile configuration. XenSource's pool management software automatically configures the host physical system to reduce the effort and complexity of pool management. Administrators may use a "drag and drop" interface to drop virtual machines on a resource pool and the pool assigns the right resources.
64-bit Hypervisor: XenEnterprise v4 hypervisor provides the ability to deploy larger systems, those having a greater amount of physical memory (up to 128 GB of physical memory) and a larger number of CPUs. Each virtual machine may have up to 32 GB of memory and support up to 8 CPUs. The hypervisor uses ACPI to support dynamic hot-plugging of CPU, network and storage into running virtual machines.
XenCenter: Manages virtual infrastructure for the entire XenSource product family. This management software does not have a single point of fialure because management state is replicated across all hosts in a resource pool rather than being managed by a single server. This makes it possible for any physical system to assume the role of pool leader on demand. XenCenter is included as part of the core XenEnterprise v4 offering at no additional charge.
Open Storage Repository API: XenSource is offering support for a broad range of direct attached and shared storage architectures for virtual machines including virtual disk images using NAS, iSCSI and SAN based storage infrastructure (certified by XenSource through its OEM agreement with Symantec, whose Veritas Storage Foundation product suite will be included as an integrated component of a forthcoming point release of v4.)
Snapshotting, cloning and thin provisioning for virtual hard disks: XenEnterprise v4 leverages integrated features of modern storage infrastructure, without requiring a proprietary cluster file system and backup technologies. Via the open Storage Repository API, customers and partners can implement additional storage repository types, integrating storage virtualization and server virtualization into a powerful virtual infrastructure. Supports file-backed virtual hard disks using the Microsoft VHD format, as well as block backed raw virtual disk images.
XenAPI: Open APIs and Development Kits for OEMs, ISVs, and Enterprises: Offers the same, XML-RPC standards based management API from XenExpress to XenEnterprise. XenSource v4 offers language bindings in C, C# and Java and a powerful CLI with bindings in three popular scripting languages to empower ISV, OEM and channel partners to create a broad-range of customer-needs driven value-added solutions – protecting management investment and fostering a rich open ecosystem of value-added products.
Many of these enhancements can also be found in the new releases of XenServer and the freely available XenExpress. For more information about the capabilities of each product, visit http://www.xensource.com/products/.
What does this mean?
A quick review of this announcement makes it appear that XenSource has analyzed what major enterprises have requested in their RFPs and RFQs and done its best to exceed what customer requirements in every area. The company has pushed the state of the art forward and appears to be daring VMware and Microsoft to match what they've done.
It appears that the company has also reached into the past a bit and has duplicated some of the features offered by Virtual Iron's software prior to them moving to Xen rather than trying to push their own virtual machine technology.
Organizations that use this technology would be able to assign more work to a small number of physical systems than previously possible using the last generation of technology. This should reduce the overall cost of hardware. The enhanced management tools should also make it possible to increase the levels of reliability and agility in a virtual processing environment. This should reduce the overall costs of management and limit costs due to planned or unplanned downtime.
This new product version should certainly be evaluated by organiztions needing higher levels of performance, scalability, relability and agility in their virtual processing environmments.