I’m still recovering from Citrix Synergy. It was an amazing event — especially having the time to speak with customers and partners. I had the opportunity to present in a breakout session (check it out below!) with David Cottingham about how XenServer empowers the Citrix Workspace — and best of all, how it can save you a ton of money!

Last February, we launched the XenServer 7.4 Current Release, which was all about virtual graphics capabilities. With NVIDIA, we released the industry’s first live migration solution, vGPU XenMotion. With production support for AMD MxGPU graphics virtualization, XenServer is now the only hypervisor to support all three major GPU vendors: NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel.

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of the XenServer 7.5 Current Release, available for download now. This release is all about delivering the features you’ve told us you need in order to get the most out of your XenApp and XenDesktop deployments.

Improved manageability and availability with 4x XenServer Pool size

With the XenServer 7.5 release we’ve, once again, responded to our customers’ needs by quadrupling the XenServer pool size, from 16 to 64 hosts! The benefits of deploying larger pools include fewer pools to manage (e.g. with XenCenter), more flexible in-pool migration with shared storage, and more flexibility with High Availability (as virtual workloads are deployed across a larger number of hosts). Additionally, having more hosts within a pool reduces the number of XenApp and XenDesktop machine catalogs that need to be created when images are deployed across multiple pools. This saves you time and administrative effort during your image update process and ongoing maintenance.

Reducing storage costs with Thin Provisioning for Block Storage

Thanks to a new option for GFS2 Storage Repositories as an experimental feature, XenServer 7.5 enables reduced storage costs with thin provisioning for block storage capabilities. GFS2 is a Linux-based shared-disk file system for block storage. Previously, with the existing LVM Storage Repository type, XenServer only supported thin provisioning of virtual disks for file-based storage, such as NFS, SMB, and local storage. Most storage devices used by enterprise XenServer deployments leverage iSCSI or Fiber Channel Storage Area Networks (SANs) that use block storage. The addition of the GFS2 option for XenServer Storage Repositories enables customers to use thin provisioning on SANs! You have been asking for thin provisioning for block storage, and once again, we delivered.

Thin provisioning allocates storage space as needed. This means the virtual disk starts out small and consumes more space only as more data is written to the virtual disk. For XenApp and XenDesktop deployments that leverage Machine Creation Services (MCS) this could amount to huge reductions in storage space and enable massive savings.

Enabling more use cases with increased Virtual Disk Sizes

By adding experimental support for GFS2 Storage Repositories in XenServer 7.5, we’ve effectively increased the maximum size of virtual disks from 2TB to 16TB. Having the ability to create larger virtual disks enables customers to better satisfy their ever-growing data requirements. For example, being able to support large databases is one use-case that has often been cited by customers. If you’re interested in helping us test out this feature, you’ll be able to create virtual disks up to 16TB with GFS2 Storage Repositories using the XenServer command line interface (CLI).

But wait, there’s more! XenServer 7.5 also includes USB pass-through and Network card SR-IOV (experimental) support. USB pass-through enables more use cases for your virtual environment, such as accessing USB storage devices directly from within the VMs, and running software that requires USB licensing dongles. Experimental support for SR-IOV-capable networks cards delivers high performance networking for virtual machines, catering for workloads that need this type of direct access.

By the way, have I mentioned that you can also save a ton of money by deploying XenApp and XenDesktop on XenServer? Why would anyone want to pay double for a hypervisor in 2018? Do the math, and think about what IT initiatives you could fund with the savings.

If you’re already running XenApp and XenDesktop on XenServer, congratulations! Let your company’s leadership team know about the huge cost savings you’ve achieved. This will make a difference when it comes time for IT bonuses!

XenServer Enterprise is also an entitlement of the Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop Service. This means you can deliver all of the same industry-first innovations and better together XenApp and XenDesktop capabilities (even when running XenApp and XenDesktop Service from Citrix Cloud). This includes vGPU XenMotion, Windows Continuum, Live Patching, PVS-Accelerator, Hypervisor Introspection, and much more.

Did you miss out on attending Citrix Synergy this year? Check out the session recordings, as well as opening keynote from Citrix Synergy TV.

Want to Learn More About XenServer?

Visit the XenServer product pages to learn more. There you will find a full feature matrix that compares the different editions of XenServer (Free, Standard, and Enterprise). To try XenServer Enterprise Edition, simply request a free 90-day trial.

Check out the What’s New with Citrix Workspace in May 2018 blog post to learn about all of the latest innovations from Citrix, including the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.17 release.