Virtualization Blog

Discussions and observations on virtualization.

XenServer Dundee Alpha.3 Available

The XenServer team is pleased to announce the availability of the third alpha release in the Dundee release train. This release includes a number of performance oriented items and includes three new functional areas.

  • Microsoft Windows 10 driver support is now present in the XenServer tools. The tools have yet to be WHQL certified and are not yet working for GPU use cases, but users can safely use them to validate Windows 10 support.
  • FCoE storage support has been enabled for the Linux Bridge network stack. Note that the default network stack is OVS, so users wishing to test FCoE will need to convert the network stack to Bridge and will need to be aware of the feature limitations in Bridge relative to OVS.
  • Docker support present in XenServer 6.5 SP1 is now also present in Dundee

Considerable work has been performed to improve overall I/O throughput on larger systems and improve system responsiveness under heavy load. As part of this work, the number of vCPUs available to dom0 have been increased on systems with more than 8 pCPUs. Early results indicate a significant improvement in throughput compared to Creedence. We are particularly interested in hearing from users who have previously experienced responsiveness or I/O bottlenecks to look at Alpha.3 and provide their observations.

Dundee alpha.3 can be downloaded from the pre-release download page.     

XenServer Dundee Beta 1 Available
Behind the Mountain - Load Testing XenServer 6.5 S...

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Comments 10

Sam McLeod on Thursday, 20 August 2015 01:50

Hi Tim,

Great to hear about the IO!
As you know, we're very IO intensive and have very high speed flash-only iSCSI storage.
I'll install Alpha 3 on a server this week and give you a full report.

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Hi Tim, Great to hear about the IO! As you know, we're very IO intensive and have very high speed flash-only iSCSI storage. I'll install Alpha 3 on a server this week and give you a full report.
Tim Mackey on Thursday, 20 August 2015 02:08

Excellent, Sam. I look forward to hearing if you feel we've moved in the right direction and by how much.

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Excellent, Sam. I look forward to hearing if you feel we've moved in the right direction and by how much.
Chris Apsey on Thursday, 20 August 2015 19:25

Has any testing been done with 40gbps NICS? We are considering upgrading to Chelsio T-580-LP-CRs, and if the ~24gbps barrier has been broke, this would move our timetable up substantially.

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Has any testing been done with 40gbps NICS? We are considering upgrading to Chelsio T-580-LP-CRs, and if the ~24gbps barrier has been broke, this would move our timetable up substantially.
Guest - Christof Giesers on Saturday, 29 August 2015 01:32

I think a lot of people won't have a problem with XenServer speed itself and adjusting it to 8 vCPUs via command-shell isn't magic - since it's often discussed already.
If you didn't change anything to that: the export speed needs heavy enhancement. Multithread would give a big boost on that. I'm exporting one ~500 GB VM for desaster recovery and it takes up to freaking 8 hours, just limited by 1 core CPU-power of the exporting Server.
It's totally out of time, since SMP is longer available than a lot of IT-people do their job.

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I think a lot of people won't have a problem with XenServer speed itself and adjusting it to 8 vCPUs via command-shell isn't magic - since it's often discussed already. If you didn't change anything to that: the export speed needs heavy enhancement. Multithread would give a big boost on that. I'm exporting one ~500 GB VM for desaster recovery and it takes up to freaking 8 hours, just limited by 1 core CPU-power of the exporting Server. It's totally out of time, since SMP is longer available than a lot of IT-people do their job.
Guest - Fungusware on Thursday, 10 September 2015 05:14

I too would love to see some investigation into Export speeds. The have always seemed unreasonably slow to me.

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I too would love to see some investigation into Export speeds. The have always seemed unreasonably slow to me.
Tobias Kreidl on Saturday, 29 August 2015 15:45

Adding RDMA support to storage connectivity would certainly help, such as what companies like Mellanox have done for their iSCSI and NFS connections, and those are supported under RHEL 6 and 7. We ganged together three 10 Gb Intel X520 NICs just this past week and got 28.1 Gb/sec sustained throughput using a Mellanox switch on a server unrelated to XenServer. There are even unsupported ways to run Mellanox Infiniband drivers on XenServer 6.5.

In any case, I think while newer versions of XenServer support 40 Gb NICs, some of the bottlenecks won't be better addressed until the network can be optimized and tuned to the storage and it seems that RDMA would be a reasonable and rewarding path to take.

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Adding RDMA support to storage connectivity would certainly help, such as what companies like Mellanox have done for their iSCSI and NFS connections, and those are supported under RHEL 6 and 7. We ganged together three 10 Gb Intel X520 NICs just this past week and got 28.1 Gb/sec sustained throughput using a Mellanox switch on a server unrelated to XenServer. There are even unsupported ways to run Mellanox Infiniband drivers on XenServer 6.5. In any case, I think while newer versions of XenServer support 40 Gb NICs, some of the bottlenecks won't be better addressed until the network can be optimized and tuned to the storage and it seems that RDMA would be a reasonable and rewarding path to take.
Guest - RLB on Monday, 14 September 2015 10:56

Do we have an estimated time of release? My current Xenserver setup won't have enough space to make use of the new partition setup as I would like so I will need to do a clean install, just wondering if I should hold off working on my Xenserver setup

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Do we have an estimated time of release? My current Xenserver setup won't have enough space to make use of the new partition setup as I would like so I will need to do a clean install, just wondering if I should hold off working on my Xenserver setup
Tobias Kreidl on Friday, 18 September 2015 17:24

Hi, RLB:
Citrix never divulges specific releases dates way ahead of time, nor hints at that as a matter of policy. Next Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2015, will be a technical preview, which generally indicates that things are starting to get closer. M personal guess -- and that is just it, a guess -- would be sometime during Q4 this calendar year. If you plan to update on that sort of time scale, you may want to indeed reserve space.
-=Tobias

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Hi, RLB: Citrix never divulges specific releases dates way ahead of time, nor hints at that as a matter of policy. Next Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2015, will be a technical preview, which generally indicates that things are starting to get closer. M personal guess -- and that is just it, a guess -- would be sometime during Q4 this calendar year. If you plan to update on that sort of time scale, you may want to indeed reserve space. -=Tobias
Guest - RLB on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 14:44

Hi Tobias,

Thanks for the insight and your personal thoughts in regards to my question.

I ended up redoing my server anyway with a bigger install drive used just for xenserver so I can move forward with my plans without worrying about the new disk layout.

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Hi Tobias, Thanks for the insight and your personal thoughts in regards to my question. I ended up redoing my server anyway with a bigger install drive used just for xenserver so I can move forward with my plans without worrying about the new disk layout.
adam.mkk@gmail.com on Wednesday, 02 March 2016 15:45

Any chance of adding support for 4K disk sector sizes? a lot of 4TB and 8TB disks now in the market and it simply won't work with XenServer 6.5 simply because of the larger size from the default 512.

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Any chance of adding support for 4K disk sector sizes? a lot of 4TB and 8TB disks now in the market and it simply won't work with XenServer 6.5 simply because of the larger size from the default 512.

About XenServer

XenServer is the leading open source virtualization platform, powered by the Xen Project hypervisor and the XAPI toolstack. It is used in the world's largest clouds and enterprises.
 
Commercial support for XenServer is available from Citrix.