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Citrix XenServer 5.6 adds new management capabilities

With Citrix XenServer 5.6, the company has added a new Host Power Management feature, new snapshot capabilities and increased hardware support.

Systems Channel News Roundup for the week of May 10-14, 2010.

Citrix XenServer 5.6 to make up for previous versions

Previous versions of Citrix XenServer had solutions providers' customers calling for better management tools, but the company has tried to fill the holes with the new release, Citrix XenServer 5.6.

With hopes of competing more successfully against VMware and Microsoft in the virtualization market, the company has added new features and support for Citrix XenServer 5.6. The free version of XenServer, released at its Citrix Synergy show this week, now supports up to 256 GB of RAM per host and up to 64 logical processors, according to SearchServerVirtualization.com. In addition, the XenServer 5.6 Enterprise, Platinum and Advanced editions offer memory redistribution between guests via automated sharing. The new Advanced edition is available for $1,000 per server.

Citrix has added a new Host Power Management feature, which consolidates virtual machines onto fewer hosts in off hours and reactivates them when needed. Solutions providers can also now manage snapshots from a graphical user interface, instead of the command line, in Citrix XenServer 5.6. Solutions providers will also be interested in Citrix Site Recovery, which automates disaster recovery, including replication, failover and failback.

New Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3 simplifies VM updates

Updating virtual machines can be cumbersome for solutions providers, but Microsoft has designed the new Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (VMST) 3 to simplify the process.

The VMST beta will appeal to customers who are looking to reduce IT costs and keep users productive during updates and physical host maintenance. The new tool automates Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters running Hyper-V, according to Microsoft's System Center Team Blog.

The company says it will make it easier for solutions providers to update their customers' offline virtual environments, including VM templates, virtual hard disks and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host clusters, with the latest operating system and application patches.

Gartner sounds alarm for data center power, cooling, space issues

Problems with data center power, cooling and space availability are expected to increase as server sales climb, according to Gartner Inc.

Although revenue for the worldwide server market declined 16.5% in 2009, Gartner predicts that the market will have a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% for shipments and 2.4% for revenue in the next four years.

To help prevent issues with data center power, cooling and space, the company recommends that companies seek energy consulting services for infrastructure expansion projects and to help evaluate capacity requirements.

Solutions providers should also implement power consumption monitoring tools for customers, recommend consolidation and virtualization projects when appropriate and fully demonstrate the pros and cons of new server purchases to customers, Gartner said.

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