Fire up your test machines! We’re pleased to announce the beta release of XenServer 5.5 (code-named “Project George”) is now available.

The only requirement for accessing the beta is a MyCitrix account. To access the XenServer 5.5 beta downloads once logged into MyCitrix go here directly, or select Downloads, then select “Citrix XenServer/Essentials”, then scroll down to the “Betas/Tech Previews” section.

We expect this beta to last four weeks (standard disclaimer applies: actual release will be determined by test results) so it’s critical we get your feedback as early as possible. To report issues go to http://bugtracker.vmd.citrix.com, more details here.

The Project George forum can be used for general discussion on the beta release and reviewing updated known issues.

XenServer 5.5 contains several highly-requested new features:

  • Active Directory integration. Specify the AD domain to use for authentication by the pool and use your AD credentials to connect to the pool via XenCenter and ssh. You control which AD users/groups are allowed access.
  • Workload balancing. Guest and host performance metrics are used to create star ratings for individual VM placement and balancing recommendations for resource pools to achieve optimal performance.
  • LVHD. Fast cloning and snapshots are now supported on all SR types through integration of our software VHD stack and LVM-based Storage Repositories (SRs)
  • Snapshot support in XenCenter. Create and manage disk snapshots from within XenCenter.
  • StorageLink integration. CLI-only support for a new StorageLink Gateway SR that adds native standards-based support for HP MSA, HP EVA, EMC Clariion, and NetApp storage arrays over iSCSI and Fibre Channel with optional automated initiator/fabric/array management.
  • Expanded guest OS support. RHEL 5.3, Debian Lenny, and SLES 11 Linux guests.

Carl, on behalf of the XenServer engineering team