Release: Citrix XenServer 5.5 / Essentials 5.5

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After 5 weeks of public beta program, Citrix released today XenServer and Essentials 5.5 (codename project George).

The list of new features is well known since a while but so far Citrix did a poor job in detailing what is included with the free XenServer and what is instead only available in Essentials Enterprise and Platinum editions (the release notes are identical for both packages).
While waiting for an official clarification guesses the breakdown as follows:


  • Active Directory integration
    Specify the AD domain to use for authentication by the pool and use your AD credentials to connect to the pool via XenCenter and ssh. You control which AD users/groups are allowed access.
  • Expanded guest OS support
    RHEL 5.3, Debian Lenny, and SLES 11 Linux guests.
  • Snapshot support in XenCenter and CLI
    Create and manage virtual machines live snapshots from within XenCenter or the xe CLI.


  • StorageLink integration
    CLI-only support for a new StorageLink Gateway SR that adds native standards-based support for HP MSA, HP EVA, EMC Clariion, and NetApp storage arrays over iSCSI and Fibre Channel with optional automated initiator/fabric/array management.
  • LVHD
    Fast cloning and snapshots are now supported on all SR types through integration of our software VHD stack and LVM-based Storage Repositories (SRs)
  • Workload balancing
    Guest and host performance metrics are used to create star ratings for individual VM placement and balancing recommendations for resource pools to achieve optimal performance.

Of course XenServer 5.5 stays free while Essentials 5.5 starts at $2,500 per server.