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XenServer 6.0 beta out: Virtualization news in brief

XenServer 6.0 adds support for cross-platform management with Microsoft and VMware; VMTurbo unveils free virtualization management tool; VMware Labs simplifies client application.

XenServer 6.0 beta released
The newly released beta of Citrix XenServer 6.0 features cross-platform management tools compatible with VMware vSphere and Microsoft System Center, as well as the integration of the Open vSwitch, first introduced with XenServer 5.6, as the default network stack for the product.

Based on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, XenServer 6.0 includes a new Self Service Manager virtual appliance which can be used to create virtual machine (VM) service catalogs based on both XenServer and vSphere. XenCenter 6.0 allows for the creation of multi-VM virtual appliances, or vApps, which can be imported/exported using the Open Virtualization Format standard. VMware Virtual Machine Disk Format and Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk virtual disks can also be imported. Starting with this release, users can use Microsoft’s forthcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 to manage and monitor XenServer hosts and VMs.

Open vSwitch is now the basis for distributed virtual networking within XenServer, as well as network interface card-bonding support and jumbo frames support. XenServer 6.0 also now brings previously separate StorageLink and Site Recovery features into the fold. With the integration of StorageLink, some array support is retired, according to a post on the Citrix website: “Focus for StorageLink support is being placed on arrays with standards-based SMI-S interfaces (e.g. EMC Clariion) and those which are widely used with XenServer (NetApp and Dell EqualLogic).”

Citrix also recently retired its Essentials line -- which included StorageLink -- for Hyper-V, citing overlap with SCVMM 2012.

VMTurbo unveils free virtualization management tool
This week, VMTurbo released a new free Community Edition of its virtual infrastructure monitoring and management tool for download. VMTurbo Community Edition includes free infrastructure monitoring, problem detection, performance reporting, capacity reporting and capacity alerting through 32 pre-defined historical reports, with no limit on the size of the virtual environment.

VMTurbo’s other products, Enterprise Operations Manager and Cloud Operations Manager, monitor virtual environments and perform automated root-cause analysis through a mathematical “economic model” which treats physical infrastructure resources as commodities to be “sold” and the virtual hosts as “consumers,” which sets the “price” of accessing a particular resource based on its demand.

VMware Labs simplifies client application
VMware Labs’ new experimental Boomerang “fling” is a simplified client application that lets users connect and perform basic functions on multiple vSphere servers simultaneously. Users can set certain VMs as favorites for easier browsing through multiple VMs on different servers.

Boomerang can also connect to VMs using the VMware Remote Console, which is provided with vSphere Client. Users needing access to more than basic VM power operations, however, should use VMware vCenter Server to support advanced activities such as vMotion, High Availability, storage configuration, host provisioning cloning, templates, monitoring and alerts.

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