Xen Orchestra 4.0

Here it comes! Announced nine months ago, this is the first release of the 4.x branch (codename Double bass). We are even ahead in terms of features of what we expected for the 4.0. It is the biggest release ever.

Let's take a tour of what's new.

TL;DR: download it from your account space.

Table of content

Beside fixed issues, you can check these improvements:

The full changelog is available here.

By the way, we opened a dedicated Twitter account now. Follow us to to stay tuned! We are also on IRC: #xen-orchestra (on FreeNode).

Advanced ACLs

The most requested feature ever: the possibility to have ACLs for users and groups!

It means you can now use a set of permissions (a role) on an object. Let's take an example, with an "operator" role, with the authorization of start/stop/restart a VM with a web console access (and that's it, no more). It means no way to delete the VM, or to add disks, even take snapshots.

Now imagine you have "dev1", "dev2" until "dev100". To give them the "operator" role, the easiest way is to create a "dev1-team-1" group. And to attach the role to this group (and not the users itself). This way, it's very simple to manage roles for a lot of people, once:

List of existing roles:

  • viewer (user/group can only see its objects)
  • operator (user/group can make basic cycle operation, stop/restart/console)
  • admin (user/group can modify the RAM, vCPUs, snapshots, etc.)

A simple demo video (you can use full screen for a better view):

XenServer update management

You don't have to search manually for new XenServer patches, they are now detected automatically. But before you had to:

  • go on the Citrix website
  • download the ZIP file
  • upload the patch

Now, all of this is just one click away:

After clicking on the "Missing" red label, it will automatically download the ZIP and send it to your server, and finally apply it. And you don't have to wait for the download to be ended for starting the patch: it's all done in streaming (first bit of download are unzipped, then sent to the host). Read the original article for more (and also the Part 2). It will be improved to automatize (more!) the process, example to install/apply all patches for a whole pool.

Docker control

You can enjoy now a basic control on your Docker containers (if they are managed by the XAPI). It's pretty basic so far, but be sure we'll develop this feature soon to allow easy "Docker-ready VMs" and container creation directly in Xen Orchestra! We wrote more about this feature here.

Check the short demo here:

We also started to contribute to the XAPI plugin, so it will help to deliver a smooth ride with Docker, XenServer and Xen Orchestra!

In brief, that's just a start.

Better responsive design

We introduced three mechanisms to allow a better user experience (UX) on small screens:

  • use "..." (ellipsis) avoiding large multi-lines in our tables. Now, even a long description won't brake the layout!
  • hide non-critical information: you can always interact with the software on a phone.
  • compact some menus when needed.

You can see more examples and pics in the article about Xen Orchestra and responsive design.

These improvements are just a start, we'll dedicate more and more work done in UX for the next months!

Host metrics

You can now see the performances metrics for a host, i.e:

  • CPU usage
  • Memory usage
  • Network I/O
  • Load average

Like VM Stats, clicking on one graph will zoom it:

Pagination

Almost in the same category from the previous one, paginate our panels avoid to "destruct" the layout when we got a LOT of lines. The log panel is a good example:

XOA web updater for everyone

This feature is really cool and it's for all versions of XOA (even the Free one). It helps to have your XOA up-to-date, without having to connect on SSH to do it. That's one step toward our goal: configure entirely XOA from its web interface.

Now, if there is a new version of XOA available, you have this icon in the toolbar:

And by clicking on it, you are on the update page, and you can start the update by clicking on the button:

It allows also unlocking all features for a trial: this way, you can test the whole product (see the "Free trial" chapter below.

Better VM creation process

We simplify the VM creation process and also allow the use of templates with existing disks: that was a limitation of previous versions.

Now, it detects the disks and networks of the templates and display them. The summary zone is also more sexy, with a tooltip on icons:

VM boot order

If you need to boot on the network or the CD, you can now change the boot order by just clicking on a button in the disk panel:

Under the hood

Faster engine

A brand new implementation of our previous slowest piece of code: this time, it goes faster. So now, it starts to scale on big infrastructures!

This is not a RR Trent 1000, it's xo-server

Example of a big infrastructure displayed with XOA:

It means:

  • 31 pools
  • 100 hosts
  • 1000 running VMs
  • 3649 vCPUs used
  • ~8TB or RAM used

But there is some room for improvement, especially on one (slow) external library (not "our" fault directly). We'll replace it soon to get a faster XO.

Yeah, massive XML decoding is pretty much CPU intensive... If you have a infrastructure like that, wait for the 4.1 to try it.

FYI, the bottleneck is more with a high number of hosts than VMs (e.g: one host with ~1000 VMs is a piece of cake! Not the same story with 100 hosts).

Less coffee

We progressively replace CoffeeScript by pure JavaScript (in ES6 with Babel). Next releases will probably get rid of the last Coffee pieces to reduce the variety of languages.

Around XOA

Xen Orchestra is "just" one piece in the final product: XOA. We also developed new features and possibilities to give you the best experience possible.

Free trial

Thanks to the updater, you can now start a Free trial for unlocking all the features of XOA. As you can see, that's easy, you just have to click on this button in the "Update" settings view:

At the end of the trial period, you will be downgraded to your previous version. And if you want to upgrade, you'll have all the features unlocked the minute after your purchase. No need to download the whole appliance!

Partner program

We are really proud to announce the start of our new partner program. And it starts... now! If you are interested, go register to know more.

We also building our program step by step: we can announce officially the first partner today! And it's just a start: the partner list will grow very soon.

Say hi to our first partner!

Aswat Telecom

ASWAT Telecom & Media is a DUBAI-UAE based company providing managed services cloud or on-premise contact center solutions, with clients in the GCC, Europe North Africa and the USA.

What's next?

Because 4.0 is huge, we'll take time to improve the new features both technically and functionally, thanks to your precious feedback. It's very likely we'll release a 4.0.1 to fix minor issues. Then, a 4.1 will come in June with SSO Support (SAML 2.0) and other cool stuff with some surprises ;) Stay tuned!