When Citrix made a couple of OpenStack related announcements in the first half of 2015, it set the company, and more specifically, XenServer, on a path to greater OpenStack integration, becoming a Mirantis Unlocked partner.You can read those announcements here and here. The subsequent integration work has culminated in the release of a XenServer 6.5 SP1 plug-in for Mirantis Fuel 6.1.

For those of you not familiar with XenServer, it’s a type-one virtualization platform originally architected in a manner that suits the scale-out nature of today’s cloud infrastructures. Nowadays, XenServer has evolved into a highly scalable platform with support for up to 1000 VMs per host, and a rich feature-set demanded by the many different use cases organizations employ to host their server, desktop and cloud based workloads.

At its heart, beats the Xen hypervisor, a Linux Foundation open-source project contributed to by companies such as Intel, AMD, Cisco and of course, Citrix, and it is this that is used to power some of the world’s largest public/private cloud infrastructures.

Mirantis is a pure-play OpenStack company, providing OpenStack integration, cloud engineering and software development expertise to hundreds of customers worldwide.

So what is the XenServer integration with Mirantis Fuel and how is it deployed?

As you will have no doubt read by now, one of this year’s OpenStack announcements was about simplifying and accelerating OpenStack deployments in-conjunction with Mirantis.  Well this plug-in does just that, requiring just two components for integration:

  • To enable XenServer as an OpenStack compute node, the Fuel plug-in must be installed. Binary and installation guide can be found here.
  • The Host Internal Management Network (HIMN) tool is used for network configuration and to add networks to VMs, the details for which can be found here.


The plug-in doesn’t install XenServer itself, however this is an extremely trivial process, taking only a matter of minutes for a wizard driven installation process (booting from CD or ISO), or even quicker for a PXE boot installation (recommended for the installation of many hosts). Information on the XenServer installation process can be found here.

Okay, so XenServer integrates with Mirantis Fuel, but why should you consider it to power your cloud infrastructure?

I’ve already mentioned above a few reasons why organizations creating a cloud should consider looking at XenServer, however consider a few of these points:

  •  The Xen hypervisor layer, has a proven pedigree in powering cloud infrastructures, with some of those Xen consumers leveraging Citrix XenServer.
  • XenServer host scalability supports up to 1000 VMs, a diverse range of VM OSs, and Docker containers integration.
  • High performance networking and storage connectivity.
  • High performance 3D graphics capability with GPU pass-through and virtualized graphics options from NVIDIA, Intel & AMD.

With XenServer able to be more easily and tightly integrated to Mirantis OpenStack deployments, cloud architects can leverage XenServer’s platform performance, scalability and feature benefits to help drive their cloud deployments.

You can find out more information about XenServer 6.5 SP1 here.

What does Mirantis say about this integration?

“The XenServer Fuel Plugin simplifies the job of adding support for the popular XenServer platform (based on the Xen hypervisor) to Mirantis OpenStack, opening the door to resource-optimized, high-performance and high-reliability application and desktop virtualization with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. It demonstrates OpenStack adaptability and its readiness to support an ever-broader range of workloads — not just for dev/test and web applications, but for mission-critical enterprise apps and general productivity.” – Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Marketing, Mirantis

Are you heading to the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo on the 27th of October?

Citrix is a sponsor of the event with Mirantis also a Premier sponsor.

Citrix staff will be there at the event, with Bob Ball a software engineer from the XenServer team doing product demos at the booth, so if you have any questions, or even just want to discuss XenServer, please drop by the Citrix booth (#T36) at the event.

There will also be a social media competition with an Apple watch up for grabs, so please check out details at the booth and don’t forget to tweet using any of the tags #Citrix, #XenServer, #OpenStack or #NetScaler!