Server virtualization with Citrix XenServer

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Need for Speed

Some XenServer users complained about the lack of I/O performance on the guest systems, and I was able to measure these speed hits on the HP system compared with the bare metal system. Installing a battery-buffered, 512MB write cache module vastly improved benchmark results that measured multiple, parallel read/write access.

Features

You need a commercial version of XenServer if you intend to implement advanced features such as high availability, including auto-restart and failover technologies. Administrators can pool servers with identical hardware and migrate virtual machines at runtime within the pool (Xenmotion). The commercial versions even support automatic migration in a failover case. Additionally, XenServer as of the Advanced Edition supports dynamic memory management. The system optimizes the memory assignments for all guest systems at runtime and can assign unused memory to other virtual machines as needed.

Programming for XenServer

A well-documented programming interface (API) gives administrators the ability to communicate with the host system at runtime and handle recurring tasks. Programming libraries for C#, Java, C, Python, and Microsoft's PowerShell are available from the Citrix Developer Network [2]. Listing 1 uses the Java interface from the XenServer SDK to retrieve a full set of meta information from the host system.

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