Hear ye, hear ye… we are pleased to announce that an alpha release of XenServer Project Ely is now available for download! After Dundee (7.0), we've come a little closer to Cambridge (the birthplace of Xen) for our codename, as the city of Ely is just up the road.
Since releasing version 7.0 in May, the XenServer engineering team has been working fervently to prepare the platform with the latest innovations in server virtualization technology. As a precursor, a pre-release containing the prerequisites for enabling a number of powerful (and really cool!) new features has been made available for download from the pre-release page
What's In it?
The following is a brief description of some of the feature-prerequisites included in this pre-release:
Xen 4.7: This release of Xen adds support for "live-patching" of the Xen hypervisor, allowing issues to be patched without requiring a host reboot. In this alpha release there is no functionality for you to test in this area, but we thought it was worth telling you about none the less. Xen 4.7 also includes various performance improvements, and updates to the virtual machine introspection code (surfaced in XenServer as Direct Inspect).
Kernel 4.4: Updated kernel to support future feature considerations. All device drivers will be at the upstream versions; we'll be updating these with drops direct from the hardware vendors as we go through the development cycle.
VM import/export performance: a longstanding request from our user community, we've worked to improve the import/export speeds of VMs, and Ely alpha 1 now averages 2x faster than the previous version.
What We'd Like Help With
The purpose of this alpha release is really to make sure that a variety of hardware works with project Ely. Because we've updated core platform components (Xen and the Dom0 kernel), it's always important to check on hardware that we don’t have in our QA labs that all is well. Thus, the more people who can download this build, install, and run a couple of VMs to check all is well the better.
Additionally, we've been working with the community (over on XSO-445) on improving VM import/export performance: we'd like to see whether the improvements we've seen in our tests are what you see too. If they're not, we can figure out why and fix it :-).
This is pre-release software, not for production use. Upgrades from XenServer 7.0 should work fine, but it goes without saying that you should ensure you back up any critical data.
We encourage visitors to download the pre-release and provide us with your feedback. If you do find a problem, please head over to the bug tracker and file a ticket. Please be sure to include a server status report!
Now that we've moved up to a new pre-release project, it's time to remove the XS 6.5 SP1 fix version from the bug tracker, in order that we keep it tidy. You'll see an "Ely alpha" affects version is now present instead.
Stay tuned for another pre-release build in the near future: as you may have heard, we've been keeping busy!
As always, we look forward to working with the XenServer community to make the next major release of XenServer the best version ever!
Senior Solutions Architect - XenServer PM