Below is a synopsis of many of the questions posed by audience members during the XenServer Beta Webinar on October 7th. The webinar has been archived and can be viewed here.

If you have additional questions, please pose them through the comments section below or via the XenServer Cowley Beta forum. Don’t forget to download and install this Beta release, more information about the program as well as download information can be found here.

Distributed Virtual Switching (DVS)

Q: Which edition of XenServer will be required for DVS?
A: The Open vSwitch will be included in all editions of XenServer, including Free XenServer. The vSwitch Controller functionality will be a licensed part of a premium XenServer edition. More details on packaging will be available closer to the release date.

Q: When setting up an ACL in the vSwitch Controller, can you use VMs as source/destination?
A: Source/destination accepts IP addresses or Address Groups, so you can achieve this by using the IP address(es) of the VMs.

Q: Will the Open vSwitch support Link Aggregation?
A: Not in the first release. We are looking into this kind of functionality for a future release.

Q: How is Cross-Server Private Network traffic isolated at the external switch?
A: Cross-server Private Networks use the Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) IP tunneling protocol. Further physical security on the external switch is outside the scope of the DVS solution.

Q: Is IPv6 supported by the Open vSwitch?
A: Not in this release. We are looking into this kind of functionality for a future release.

Q: Will the Open vSwitch support port speeds of 10GBps for software based iSCSI initiators within a VM?
A: The same support will be offered when using the vSwitch for networking as is offered in the current networking stack, for a complete list visit the XenServer HCL.

Q: Is there any function to simulate WAN connections to test NetScaler VPX appliances?
A: Yes, users are able to set QoS rate limits (with burst setting) on several levels, including VIFs.

Q: Why do Cross-Server Private Networks need attaching to management interfaces?
A: Management Interfaces, unlike VM Networks, are the only ones that have an IP address which is required for the tunneling to work.

Q: Can the vSwitch Controller be clustered?
A: No, but configuration settings and Control Policies can be backed-up and imported into a new Controller appliance.

Web Self-Service

Q: Will Web Self-Service offer the ability to create VMs?
A: VM Creation will not be supported in the first release of Web Self-Service. We are looking into this kind of functionality for a future release.

Q: Does the web based console work on Mac or Linux?
A: Web Self-Service has been tested with several Browsers on different platforms. The RDP Console access will be restricted to those platforms supporting RDP. There is also a Java based VNC Console available if you can’t use RDP.

Q: Can you add groups of users in Web Self-Service?
A: You can only add individual users in this release, however you can enable auto logon to bypass the setup. This will allow them to have a blank workspace until something is shared to that user.

Q: Can you enable a user in Web Self-Service that does not have rights in XenCenter?
A: Yes, you can add them to XenServer Users and not assign them any role.

VM Protection & Recovery (VMPR)

Q: Will the VMPR feature be available in the “Free” edition of XenServer?
A: No, VMPR will be a licensed feature of a premium edition. More details on packaging will be available closer to the release date.

Q: How do you recover from an Archive?
A: Archived VMs are being stored as XVAs. Recovering is a manual operation and works in the same way as importing any other XVA.

Q: Does VMPR support differential snapshots and archiving?
A: Snapshots are differential, only changes between the base disk and the snapshot are stored. Archives are not differential in this first release. We are looking into this kind of functionality for a future release.

Q: Can old snapshots created by VMPR be deleted?
A: Old snapshots will be automatically deleted based on the configured retention policy. They can also be deleted manually through the Snapshot tab in XenCenter or through the CLI.

Q: Can Archiving be redirected to a SAN attached LUN?
A: Only if that LUN is shared as NFS or CIFS, which are supported by VMPR.

Q: Does the compression also work with normal exports?
A: Yes, but in this release only from the CLI. XenCenter exports will not be compressed.

XenDesktop Enhancements

Q: Can thin provisioning on local storage be used for server workloads?
A: Yes.

Q: Is the GPU pass-through feature supported by NVidia?
A: The GPU pass-through feature is an experimental feature in XenServer, so there is no official support from either Citrix or NVidia at this time.

Q: Do you need to have local storage configured on all XenServer hosts to take advantage of the IntelliCache feature?
A: Yes, however configuration of Local Storage is done by default as part of the XenServer installation process.

Q: When using IntelliCache, is there any write cache functionality if you want persistence on the desktops?
A: No, in this release, this functionality is targeted at shared images only.

Q: Will IntelliCache be in the free product?
A: It will be included in all XenServer editions, including Free and via the XenServer entitlement in any version of XenDesktop.

Q: What about updates to the master image? Will the read cache be aware of these?
A: You would specify a new disk for the guest to use and when it reboots a new cache would be created.

StorageLink Enhancements

Q: Does StorageLink format the existing aggregate space or it will use the free space for VM creation?
A: StorageLink will only use available space for VM creation. This will be done on-demand, so available space on the aggregate is still available for other purposes.

Other Enhancements

Q: Will you be able to prioritize the start of VMs like StorageLink on the boot of the first XenServer in the pool?
A: No, This will only affect the High Availability feature. All guests that are not set to “autostart on host boot” would have to be manually started with the first being StorageLink.

Packaging & Availability

Q: Will all of the listed enhancements be available in the “Free” version of XenServer?
A: No, certain features will require a premium edition. More details on packaging will be available closer to the release date.

Beta Release

Q: Will there be a document to help configure and test the Beta release?
A: The Beta Installation and Administrator Guides provide guidance on installation and configuration. The Beta forum will be used to provide additional information where required. For certain features additional information can be found in the online help in XenCenter.

Q: Will we be able to upgrade from the beta to the release version of 5.6 FP1?
A: Yes, in place upgrades are supported.

Q: Will the transition from 5.5 to this new version be as simple as the previous upgrades?
A: Yes, you will upgrade the master first followed by all of the member servers.

XenServer Product Management