XenServer Review

We've been able to reduce our physical hardware and make more efficient use and allocation of those resources.


What is most valuable?

  • Cost effective
  • Performance
  • Overall simplicity

How has it helped my organization?

Since XenServer was the chosen platform from the start of our virtualization implementation, the improvements have been significant. Such improvements include the overall reduction of physical hardware, more efficient use and allocation of hardware resources, recovery points, storage utilization (when combined with dedupe), functional delivery of role based servers, and overall server management.

What needs improvement?

  • The community and Citrix would be wise to build more partnerships, in particular with backup/recovery vendors. XenServer seriously lacks options in the shrink wrap backup-solution field.
  • Develop a web-based management interface. There are community developed interfaces, but none specifically supported.
  • Simplify block-level storage management. Disk chains can get complex over time and require a high degree of patience to clean up, especially with pooled storage repositories.
  • Test the guest tools more thoroughly!

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Basic deployment is very easy. Multi-pathing storage does require a more advanced level of switching knowledge, but there is no shortage of documentation and examples to help implement.

Like any solution, plan your storage and networking wisely.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

XenServer hosts have never had stability issues. The guest tools have definitely had stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Never had issues with scalability. In fact, I even had good success with processor masking in order to extend some life in an older server that was performing well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

From a customer-service perspective, there really isn't much that can be said. I don't have Citrix calling me to discuss XenServer. All service is community driven.

Technical Support:

Throughout my use of XenServer, I've opened about 3 cases with Citrix. Each time the engineer I worked with was very knowledgeable and always assisted in resolving my issue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No other option was used. I tested Hyper-V and, at the time, MS did not have a good solution to live migration.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was simple and quick. I was able to begin with local storage and move my virtual machines to network storage at my leisure without any issues or downtime.

We've used standard networking, iSCSI multi-pathing, and bonded NFS. All have worked well.

What about the implementation team?

All in-house.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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author avatarOrlee Gillis
Consultant

What would a web-based management interface allow you to do that you cannot do as of now?