Release: Citrix XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1

In October this year reported on the expected features for the upcoming Feature Pack 1 for XenServer 5.6, codenamed Cowley. Citrix has now made generally available Feature Pack 1 for Citrix XenServer 5.6. This Feature Pack(FP) adds key functionality such as distributed virtual switching, automated VM protection and recovery and a web management console for delegated administration

Feature Pack 1 adds the following new functionality and improvements:

  • Distributed Virtual Switching provides distributed, fine-grained networking configuration and control policies, which increase visibility into XenServer virtual networks.
  • Jumbo Frames are now supported for storage networks when the vSwitch is used.
  • VM Protection and Recovery: configure scheduled snapshots and (optional) archive of virtual machines.
  • Web Self-Service provides browser-based access to selected virtual machines by delegated administrators.
  • Boot from SAN with multipathing support: boot XenServer hosts with HBAs from a SAN, with multipathing support.
  • HA Restart Priority: configure HA policies to restart specific VMs first.
  • Enhanced XenCenter, including workload reporting for VM utilization and chargeback.
  • Improved MPP RDAC multipathing, including path health reporting and alerting in XenCenter.
  • Snapshot improvements, including improved reclamation of space after VM snapshots are deleted, even if the VM is running.
  • Enhanced guest OS support for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP1.
  • Generic Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.x support: RHEL / CentOS / Oracle Enterprise Linux versions 5.0 to 5.5 support with a generic RHEL 5 template.
  • Brocade HBA drivers and command-line tools are included in XenServer.
  • Provisioning Services improvements to Windows volume license (MAK and KMS) support.
  • XenDesktop platform enhancements provide local host caching of VM images to reduce storage TCO for XenDesktop VDI deployments. (Note: these platform enhancements will be enabled by a future version of XenDesktop).