Next XenServer -- code named Orlando -- now in beta* testing

Citrix recently released a beta test version of its next generation XenServer, code named "Orlando," which is expected to ship in September. Th next version will offer a variety of new features including automated high availability, support for the Xen hypervisor 3.

Citrix recently released a beta test version of its next generation XenServer, code named "Orlando," which is expected to ship in September. 

Th next version will offer a variety of new features including automated high availability, support for the Xen hypervisor 3.2 and Windows Server 2008 guests, performance statistics, integrated Fibre Channel multipath support and virtual machine grouping and searching and tagging, according to a blog posted about Project Orlando.  That's not all.

"Orlando," according to a Citrix blog, will also feature e-mail alerts, a new XenConvert P2V migration tool that converts Windows systems to XenServer, disaster recovery for virtual machine metadata, and more hardware support.

The alpha was made available in late July and can be accessed using a MyCitrix.com login. On Thursday, Citrix told ZDNet it would ship next month.

Here's what Citrix has to say about the benefits of the software's high availability, pulled direcly from the blog:

"You will be able to take the virtual machines in a resource pool (on Platinum and Enterprise Editions) and identify whether you want the virtual machine to be restarted in the event that the server it's running on fails.  You can even identify how high the priority for each one is, so in the case of multiple failures putting resources under stress, your most critical workloads will be returned to service. We'll also protect the master node of the resource pool, and if it fails, automatically designate another node as master -- no need for manual intervention there either.

On performance:

"There are a number of performance improvements in this release -- from storage and network I/O for Windows guests, to enlightened Windows Server 2008, to  memory usage for scalability. In previous releases, XenCenter displaced a 15-minute window into server and virtual machine performance.  And those numbers were local to the interface -- if you quit and restarted XenCenter, the counters went away.

Starting in "Project Orlando," XenServer manages performance data at the server, so it's not bound to a XenCenter session.  And it's stored in a self-scaling Round Robin Database (RRD)," the blog noted.

On virtual machine searching and tagging: "If you want to find all of the virtual machines running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (a simple search), or the ones running Windows that have outdated versions of XenServer Tools  (a complex search), or all of the physical servers with over 32GB of memory (a search on non-VM resources), you can construct those searches as easily as filtering your inbox. You can name them and save them. And you can export them and send them to someone else who can then import them to their copy of XenCenter and use them.

On the new XenConvert tool:

"Let's deal with the issue of taking existing server workloads and bringing them to the XenServer platform.  While there are great third-party physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration offering out there, many users want a quick out-of-the-box solution to get started. This beta release includes the first beta of a new tool, XenConvert.  Users can run XenConvert on their Windows server or desktop systems and export the workload as a VHD format file or as an XVA appliance file, or  they can directly import it into a running XenServer instance.  Registry and device conversions are handled in the process. [Independent third party products may be more full featured but] XenConvert makes it easier to get started, and is a great solution for many users.

*This story as originally posted said XenServer Orlando is now in alpha testing. It is, as one reader points out, in beta tester. I regret the error.