XenServer is not a risky bet: It’s the second most widely deployed hypervisor in the enterprise with more than 150,000 customers in production. With the Xen hypervisor running virtually every cloud on the planet, including the world’s largest virtualization deployment, it’s also “cloud-proven”… with more scalability than most enterprises are likely to ever need.Customer types and usage150,000 unique companies of all sizesStrongest in NA and EMEA¼ Desktop; ½ Server; ¼ Cloud (public & private) On average 2,500 employees150 servers<30% virtual today; expect to get to >60%95% are satisfied or very satisfied and recommend the product to peers90% plan to expand their footprint in next year1/3rd plan to move to a premium edition
Third-party validation:XenServer was placed in the “Leaders” section in the 2011 Gartner Server Virtualization Magic Quadrant report. XenServer was also named a “Champion” in the Info-Tech Research Group Server Virtualization Vendor Landscape report for 2011. These reports continue the XenServer momentum that is driven by the strength of Xen in the world’s largest clouds and continued innovations to advance network and desktop virtualization.Read the full report: http://www.citrix.com/site/resources/dynamic/additional/citirix_magic_quadrant_2011.pdfXenServer Key Strengths:Rich product capabilities for relatively low costVision of becoming “open” alternative for virtualization through to cloud computingCompatibility of XenServer with XenDesktop and other Citrix productsInfoTech also ranks Citrix as a Champion in the server virtualization space, highlighting the features to price and flexibility as key reasons to compare to Vmware’svSphere. Key Strengths:Citrix has developed a comprehensive product line from server to desktop virtualization, where Info-Tech sees Citrix as a leader. Citrix offers mature functionality for managing XenServerHighly manageable licensing costs[XenServer] provides the most comprehensive all around solution for the priceMore information on Info-Tech report: http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/subfeature.asp?contentID=2313314Customers Agree: We tried VMware first… but when we benchmarked VMware vs. Citrix, the XenServer actually performed significantly better than the VMware solution, and we ended up, from that, going the direction of choosing Citrix as our virtualization platform for our servers… - Fernando Bayuga Jr., IT Manager WEC Health UnitThe Magic Quadrant is copyrighted 2011 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner's analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the "Leaders" quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This Magic Quadrant graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research note and should be evaluated in the context of the entire report. The Gartner report is available upon request from Citrix.
More and more organizations are choosing to host different workloads on different hypervisors enabling them not only better overall performance of their environment by also better utilizing their budget. Over 40% of companies in a recent Info-Tech study said they were using 2 or more server virtualization vendors within their datacenter, with almost half of these using Citrix and VMware together. The major challenge of this model is day to day management tasks, such as live migration, that you ideally want to complete through one management console. Currently both Citrix and Microsoft can manage each others VMs as well as VMware. VMware is beginning to offer management of Microsoft VMs.
XenServer is designed to be simple, intuitive and easy to use. It can be installed and running in 10 minutes with only 4 megabytes of storage. It’s unique management architecture and console eliminates single points of failure so you can centrally manage hundreds of virtual servers.The free version of XenServer comes with enterprise class features including centralized management, disk snapshotting, and live virtual machine migration which enables organizations to manage their environment easily and intelligently while optimizing resources with zero-downtime to users. The premium editions of XenServer are conveniently priced per server and contain enhanced management and automation features such as high availability, dynamic memory control, workload balancing and distributed virtual network switch.Much simpler – "10 minutes to Xen"Far fewer "VMware Patch Tuesday" headachesDesigned to run on virtually any x86 hardwareOptimized for XenDesktop (e.g. IntelliCache)Equally matched to VMware in "green field" opportunities
XenServer is designed to address the virtualization needs of three critical markets.Within the Enterprise Data Center, XenServer solves the traditional server virtualization objectives of server consolidation, hardware independence while providing a high performance platform with a very straight forward management model.Since XenServer is a Citrix product, it only stands to reason that it can draw upon the vast experience Citrix has in optimizing the desktop experience and provide optimizations specific to desktop workloads.Lastly, with the emergence of mainstream cloud infrastructures, XenServer can draw upon the heritage of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace to provide a highly optimized platform for cloud deployments of any scale.
Since all these use cases depend on a solid data center platform, let’s start by exploring the features critical to successful enterprise virtualization
When resource pools are small, and the number of VMs under management are similarly low, it’s not unreasonable for a virtualization admin to make acceptable decisions about where to place a given guest for optimal performance. Once the number of VMs reaches a critical point, typically between 20-30, placement decisions and interdependencies become so complex that humans aren’t going to place VMs in the most optimal location. This is why VMW and others have implemented resource placement services, and if you’re familiar with vSphere DRS, then XenServer Workload Balancing will look very familiar. Like DRS, WLB takes into account CPU and RAM utilization when attempting to determine where the best host to start or rebalance a VM is, but unlike DRS, WLB also includes key IO metrics such as disk reads and writes and network reads and writes in those computations. This allows WLB to ensure IO dominant applications are rarely placed on the same host, and that overall resource pool operations are optimized.In addition to performing workload placement, WLB is also directly integrated into XenServer power management to perform workload consolidation on a scheduled basis. This feature allows for the consolidation of underutilized servers onto fewer hosts during evening hours, and the evacuated hosts powered down for the duration. When the morning schedule takes effect, the powered down hosts are automatically restarted and workloads rebalanced for optimal performance.Lastly, WLB incorporates a series of health and status reports suitable for both operations and audit purposes.Schedule pool policy based on time of day needsWhen starting guests, an option to “Start on optimal server” is available, and XenServer chooses the most appropriate server based on policyUsers have the ability to over-ride policy, or specify guests or hosts that are excluded from policy (eg high-demand applications)
Planning for and supporting multi-site disaster recovery within a virtualized environment can be quite complex, but with XenServer’s integrated site recovery option, we’ve taken care of the hard parts. The key to site recovery is that we take care of the VM metadata, while your storage admins take care of the array replication piece. What this means is that every iSCSI or HBA storage solution on our HCL is supported for site recovery operations, providing that it either has built-in replication or can work with third party replication. When site recovery is enabled, the VM metadata corresponding to the VMs and/or vApps you wish to protect are written to the SR containing the disk images for the VMs. When the LUNs are replicated to the secondary site, the metadata required to reconfigure those VMs is also automatically replicated. Because we’re replicating the underlying VM disk images and associated metadata, if VMs in the secondary site are running from different LUNs Integrated Site Recovery can fully support active/active use models. Note that due to VM replication, active/active will require a minimum of two LUNs.Recovery from failure, failback and testing of failover is accomplished using a wizard within XenCenter. Each step of the wizard validates that the configuration is correct and that the system is in fact in a state of “failure”.
XenServer Web Console GoalsEnable XenServer Mgmt from a Web based console Offer VM level delegation so end users can manage their VM’sWeb SS delivers Remote ManagementITadmins have long wanted a means to mange VM’s remotely via a browser based, non-windows platformEnd User Self ServiceWSS also allows IT to delegate routine management tasks to the application/VM ownerThis satisfies the more strategic goal of helping IT to enable customer self service in the datacenterFinally WSS also provides a foundation for future innovation in the areas of web based mgmt, self service and an opencloud director layer for x-platform mgmt
What differentiates Live Storage Migration from Live VM Migration is that with Live Storage Migration the storage used for the virtual disks is moved from one storage location while the VM itself may not change virtualization hosts. In XenServer, Live VM Migration is branded XenMotion and logically Live Storage Migration became Storage XenMotion. With Storage XenMotion, live migration occurs using a shared nothing architecture which effectively means that other than having a reliable network connection between source and destination, no other elements of the virtualization infrastructure need be common. What this means is that with Storage XenMotion you can support a large number of storage agility tasks, all from within XenCenterFor example:Upgrade a storage arrayProvide tiered storage arraysUpgrade a pool with VMs on local storageRebalance VMs between XenServer pools, or CloudStack clusters
Desktop virtualization is a core topic in many organizations today, and while some vendors would have you believe that a general purpose hypervisor is the correct solution for desktop workloads, the reality is that desktop workloads present a very distinct usage pattern not seen with traditional server based workloads. This is one reason why when you look at Citrix XenDesktop you see it taking advantage of specific features of XenServer which are unique to desktop virtualization. In this section, we’ll cover what the Desktop Optimized XenServer looks like and what specific benefits XenServer has when XenDesktop is used as the desktop broker.
Within desktop virtualization there are two distinct classes of users, those who are using general purpose applications and those who are using graphics intensive applications. Supporting the former is readily accomplished using the traditional emulated graphics adapters found in hypervisors, but when you need the full power of a GPU for CAD, graphic design or video processing those emulated adapters are far from sufficient. This is why XenServer implemented the GPU Pass-through feature. With GPU pass-through users requiring high performance graphics can be assigned a dedicated GPU contained within the XenServer host making GPU pass-through the highest performing option on the market.
One of the biggest areas of concern when deploying desktop virtualization isn’t the overall license costs, but the impact of shared storage. On paper if you were considering a deployment requiring 1000 active desktops, and assumed an average of 5GB per desktop, if you happened to have space for a 5 TB LUN on an existing storage array, you might be tempted to carve out that LUN and leverage it for the desktop project. Unfortunately, were you to do so you’d quickly find that while you had the space for the storage you might not have the free IOPS to satisfy both the desktop load and whatever pre-existing users were leveraging the SAN. With XenServer, we recognized that this would be a barrier to XenDesktop adoption and implemented IntelliCache to leverage the local storage on the XenServer as a template cache for the desktop images running on that host.
When desktop virtualization is the target workload, the correct hypervisor solution will be one which not only provides a high performance platform, and has features designed to lower the overall deployment costs and address critical use cases, but one which offers flexibility in VM and host configurations while still offering a cost effective VM density. Since this is a classic case of use case matters, take a look at the Cisco Validated Design for XenDesktop on UCS with XenServerhttp://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/solutions/Enterprise/Data_Center/Virtualization/ucs_xd_xenserver_ntap.pdf
As with desktop virtualization, there are unique characteristics of cloud workloads which make a general purpose hypervisor less than idea. The vast experience Citrix has with cloud operators such as Amazon, Rackspace and SoftLayer over the years has allowed us to develop features which directly address the scalability and serviceability of cloud infrastructure.
It is through the use of SRIOV and other cloud optimizations that the NetScaler SDX platform is able to provide the level of throughput, scalability and tenant isolation that it can. The NetScaler SDX is a hardware Application Delivery Controller capable of sustained throughput over 50 Gbps, all powered by a stock Cloud Optimized XenServer 6 hypevisor.
The U.S. Army Shared Services Center (SSC), part of the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), leads the planning, design, build, test, training, deployment and sustainment of Army ERP solutions. In recent years, the Army SSC has replaced a wide range of legacy applications with SAP systems, including the FI/FM/CO, PS, AM, CATS, HCM, MM and PLM modules of the SAP Business Suite, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Netweaver Enterprise Portal and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence. Having reduced cost and conserved IT resources associated with its software applications environment, the Center turned its attention to its datacenter hardware infrastructure, beginning with the replacement of Oracle/Sun SPARC servers with commodity Intel-based servers. When the Army SSC changed its platform, it recognized an opportunity to leverage server virtualization to maximize the utilization of it server resources, reduce acquisition and maintenance costs, and lower administrative overhead while actually improving the performance of its SAP systems which support 4,700 users.After analyzing its options for server virtualization solutions, the Army SSC found that Citrix® XenServer® best met its requirements.Before virtualization, the Army SSC’s 21 Sun SPARC servers had a processing capacity of 45,510 SAPS. After implementing XenServer on commodity hardware, they had a processing capacity of 147,600 SAPS on only four Dell Intel X64 servers—giving the Army SSC almost 300 percent more processing capacity with 17 fewer servers. At the same time, the Army SSC was using 83 percent fewer watts, so they achieved a dramatic improvement in processing power per watt. Together, the Center’s reduction in operating costs (e.g., hardware maintenance, power, cooling and server administration) yielded savings of $414,181 in the first year (after initial server acquisition costs) and $471,649 per year thereafter. The Datacenter footprint has also been dramatically reduced since there are fewer servers.The ARMY SSC is building on its success with SAP by virtualizing additional systems on its XenServer platform, including Oracle Collaboration Suite, Adobe LiveCycle and Microsoft Enterprise Project Management.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry.MUSCis dedicated to providing community healthcare services to patients across the state while supporting doctors and research efforts around the world. Faced with huge reductions in state funding, the university had two choices: to reduce the scope of its mission—or transform how its mission is fulfilled. By using Citrix to virtualize its infrastructure, MUSC found a way to improve delivery of IT services to doctors and researchers while achieving the efficiency and cost savings to live comfortably within its budget. Citrix has helped MUSC meet the needs of the taxpayers of South Carolina. Server virtualization has shrunk the university’s IT footprint and capital costs, and reduced power costs by 73 percent while meeting its goal of 99.9 percent uptime to ensure uninterrupted service availability for doctors and researchers. By embracing innovation, MUSC has ensured that its commitment to excellence in healthcare will survive and thrive even under the most challenging conditions
1&1 Internet is a leader amongst global Web Hosting providers with data centers in both the USA and Europe. 1&1 Internet, Inc. is a subsidiary of United Internet, a profitable public company with a market cap of $3 billion. 1&1 was founded in 1988 and hosts more than 11 million domain names, while more than 70,000 servers run on the company's five state-of-the-art, green data centers. 1&1 uses both Free and Advanced XenServer to power it public cloud offering, Dynamic Cloud Server. In addition, the company is looking at Citrix CloudPlatform as their Cloud Orchestration solution.
Key FeaturesPlatinum: Integrated disaster recovery managementProvisioning services for physical and virtual workloadsEnterprise:IntelliCache™ for XenDesktop storage optimizationDynamic Workload Balancing and Power ManagementWeb Management Console with Delegated AdminEnvironment management using Role-Based Administration and StorageLinkAdvanced:High AvailabilityDynamic Memory ControlAutomated VM protection and recoveryDistributed Virtual SwitchingFree:XenMotion for live VM migrationShared storageUnlimited hosts Unlimited VMs
More information on Citrix Subscription Advantage: http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/lp/lp_2317284.asp
Premier Support: http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/lp/lp_2321822.aspPremier Support Calculator: http://deliver.citrix.com/WWWB1201PREMIERSUPPORTCALCULATORINBOUND.html
The single vendor lock-in model only benefits the vendor. Choose the correct hypervisor for your workloads to ensure the best performance as well as extending your IT budget. Use POCs to measure how well each solution performs in your environment so you can truly gauge how much ROI you will get from a given implementation. Support is a valuable asset when deploying any environment and understanding each vendors model will make sure you don’t get stuck with a costly services bill later on.Understand the requirements of each project so you can assess the best tool for the job. Know what features are needed for your applications so you can spend money on costly features wisely.
Maximizing the Potential of YourDatacenter Using XenServerSeptember 2012