The future of XenServer: Dundee

Citrix just announced the availability of XenServer Dundee Beta 1. So we are moving toward to a release of this brand new XenServer.

What does it mean in concrete terms? Let's explore it.

XO compatibility

It works flawlessly with Xen Orchestra, and more: it will be even better. Why better?

  • Better: less bugs in XAPI with JSON-RPC
  • Faster: full JSON-RPC support
  • Stronger: XAPI isolation via control groups (cgroups)

Xen Orchestra console with XenServer Dundee

Xen Orchestra connected to a Dundee host, with the host console.

Another good news? Maybe Storage Repositories (SR) metrics via RRDs (I didn't verify it for the Beta 1, I'll keep you posted!)

Super easy installation

I experienced some difficulties with previous versions for install XenServer from an USB drive.

Guess what?

dd if=XenServer-6.6.90-install-cd.iso of=/dev/sdd  

And you're done! This is really great.

Under the hood

XenServer Dundee Beta 1 come with:

  • CentOS 7 for the Dom0
  • Better Dom0 disk usage
  • UEFI boot support
  • CGroups
  • NFSv4 and FCoE support for SR
  • UEFI Support
  • Xen 4.6

Xen 4.6? Hell yeah! What about PVH guest support? I don't know for now, but be sure I'll dig on this topic. Is it enough mature to be in XenServer? We'll see.

Update: no stable guest PVH in Xen 4.6, so maybe next time ;)

Real tests

From the original article of xenserver.org:

[thanks to cgroups] VM start operations no longer block as before resulting in VM start times being much more equitable. This same optimization can be seen in other VM operations such as when large quantities of VMs are shutdown.

Is it real? Let's try it!

On my small test machine, with a slow HDD SR, I booted a lot of (26x) small Debian VMs:

a lot of small Debian VMs on XenServer Dundee

By the way, just check the start during the boot of all of them:

XenServer Dundee stats

Let's shutdown them at once! See the stats:

XenServer Dundee stats 2

  • With XenServer 6.5 (Creedence): 72 seconds
  • With XenServer Dundee: 37 seconds

So roughly, Dundee is twice as fast for "shutdown storm" as Creedence!

For sure, I'll run more benchmarks as soon as I can, but really: XenServer Dundee will be a great (the best?) release.