Xen.org has launched a new version of the open source Xen hypervisor, and while the new virtualization platform may not yet have reached complete feature parity with its VMware vSphere competitor, the updated hypervisor has now caught up in version numbering with vSphere as Xen.org pushes out the door the latest 4.0 version of Xen.
Xen 4.0 follows closely on the heels of Xen 3.4.2, released back in November 2009. Xen.org is calling the new release "the most advanced open source hypervisor software available," adding that the release is the collective effort of a global development team representing more than 50 leading technology vendors, universities, and virtualization experts. The group is claiming that Xen 4.0 will offer substantial improvements for both on-premise and cloud computing workloads.
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"The new advancements in Xen 4.0 will bring cloud and virtualization to new levels, and Citrix is dedicated to applying them across our entire stack -- from desktop virtualization to cloud computing," said Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix Systems' data center and cloud division.
For added performance and scalability on the host layer, the new Xen 4.0 hypervisor now spans 128 physical CPUs across the host server and can address up to 1TB of physical main system memory. In the guest environment, virtual machines running on top of Xen 4.0 can now be allocated to up to 128 virtual CPUs (although memory capacities for virtual machines were not found).
Further improvements include taking advantage of new reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features found in the new Intel Xeon (Nehalem-EX) and AMD Opteron 6000 processors. Users can now hot-plug CPUs and memory in a physical server without having to shut down the hypervisor or its virtual machines. Users can also now resize virtual hard disks without requiring a reboot or shutting down the virtual machine, which is another great time-saving feature.