XenServer Review

The performance is great and you don't need many other tools


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is virtualization. 

What is most valuable?

The feature I find most valuable is its performance. It's a no "frills" solution. There aren't many tools and some may find that a little arcane, but I come from another visualization background. I like the console because you can do everything on the console, so you don't need any tools. 

What needs improvement?

This solution needs a block-level backup. We have backup solutions in place but they are pretty arcane. That is a niche, it is not filled with professional solutions. There are solutions that can do it - if you look at solutions for file system level backups, you will find many of them. But if you look for systems with block-level backup or block-level synchronization, you will see that the tools are pretty minor.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working on XenServer for about twelve years now, mainly on premise.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is extremely stable. It's much more stable than VMware or any other tool that we've tested. One might get away with freeware solutions, but if you need support, I recommend using the commercial solution. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale with this solution. I can scale up and scale down when I need to. And for memory and the VCPU's, it's even simpler because you can simply select that interface, and it will follow. Since I started using the 7.6 version, I can move virtual hosts around, so that's all working extremely well without any hurdles or hiccups. Our company has 600 employees and about 60% of them are using XenServer.

How are customer service and technical support?

I think the technical support could be better because we have received support directly from the Dell server instead of from Citrix directly. It is difficult to get hold of support during office hours and sometimes will take a while to get the right person for the right answer. But apart from that, the quality of the answers and the support is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. It starts very easy and if you have special niche cases that are not provided, they are standard to install. You would, however, need to get yourself comfortable with the console, but if you have a Linux background, you will find that it is very easy. I did 90% of the installation myself, but we used third parties for special niche cases. We also needed support from Dell because we had some issues during startup with some drivers that were provided by Dell since we are mainly using Dell hardware.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others would be that there is no one golden bullet when choosing a virtualization platform. It depends on the careful planning of what kind of service you plan to provide to your users. Ask questions like: What is running on those systems? What platforms? What are your minimum demands? 

There's something else that's fairly important because the virtualization market is rapidly shifting towards a total overhaul. And efforts are being made on the Linux site to run armed and risk solutions in the data center. So I hope that XenServer will adapt to that too.

This solution has special niche cases where it doesn't work as you planned. But in general, I am very happy with the server. I will give it a rating of nine out of ten. 

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