The PXS Lab, Version 2.0

We’ve completely re-tooled the PXS Lab using smaller, quieter, and more energy-efficient equipment. This will allow us to keep costs low while keeping the footprint small and stealthy!

The very first PXS Lab:

The PXS Lab, Version 1.0
The very first PXS Lab – Built using first-generation HP Proliant rack-mount servers; HP Procurve switches, and; Cisco routers.

At idle: This “hardware stack” consumed 1.25 kW and required hearing protection when working for extended periods of time!

The new PXS Lab:

The PXS Lab, Version 2.0
Version 2.0 of the PXS Lab – Leaner. Meaner. Cleaner. Built with standard Dell Optiplex workstations; HP Procurve managed switches, and; a pfSense firewall appliance (not pictured).

At idle: This “hardware stack” consumes only 250-275 W of electricity – And it’s so quiet that there’s never any need for hearing protection!

We believe that this design will provide almost all of the same flexibility as the first Lab. But it will be smaller, quieter, and less expensive to operate – $135, annually. Versus $650, annually!

We hope that you’ll follow along with us as we resume our mission to provide Practical Guidance to XenServer Administrators©.

Eric Pretorious, Publisher
Practical XenServer

2019: The Beginning of a New Year

This week marks the beginning of the new year. And with the new year comes a new focus for PXS:

With the unfortunate changes that Citrix imposed on XenServer in Version 7.3 the viability of XenServer as a robust, versatile, feature-rich virtualization platform was seriously diminished for many users. But that change precipitated another, more positive change – The creation of the XCP-ng Project.

We feel that XCP-ng represents not just another virtualization platform; not just a different licensing structure for XenServer; but a rebirth of the XenServer platform. With this change: Many bug reports that had languished have been resolved. Many features that were wanting have been introduced. And many abilities that had been restricted have been made available, for free! And these changes are good!

We feel that XCP-ng represents a fuller realization of what XenServer can be. We feel that the potential of XenServer has been more fully realized. And we feel that XCP-ng offers users a more complete solution for building IaaS clouds.

So, going forward, we’ll be using XCP-ng in all of our XenServer tutorials. Almost every XenServer feature that we employ should function identically in XCP-ng and in the Citrix version of XenServer – Citrix Hypervisor. But, where there is a functional difference between XCP-ng and Citrix Hypervisor, we’ll do our best to explain the difference and illustrate both implementations of that functionality.

I hope that you’re as excited to get started with XCP-ng as we are. I look forward to discovering the full potential of free and open source software in creating/operating a robust, versatile, feature-rich IaaS cloud.

Eric Pretorious, Publisher
Practical XenServer

One Year Later: The Licensing Changes Introduced in XenServer 7.3

Last week marked the One Year Anniversary of the licensing changes introduced in XenServer 7.3. To say that the changes were tectonic would not be an exaggeration:

As many of you will be aware, XenServer is available in three editions: Free, Standard, and Enterprise. All of them are installed from the same ISO, and all are equally open source. The Standard edition is almost identical to the Free edition in terms of feature set, but includes commercial support and an extended period of hotfix availability from Citrix, whilst the Enterprise edition enables a variety of additional features.

Having carefully considered what features are in each edition, we’ve taken the decision to move some features out of the Free edition, and into Standard. The full list of features being moved is:

  • Dynamic Memory Control
  • Xen Storage Motion
  • Active Directory Integration
  • Role Based Access Control
  • High Availability
  • GPU Pass-Through
  • Site Recovery Manager (Disaster Recovery)
  • XenCenter Rolling Pool Upgrade Wizard
  • Maximum Pool Size Restricted To 3 Hosts (existing larger pools will continue to work, but no new host joins will be permitted)
This will therefore make the Standard edition substantially different to the Free edition. No features are moving from Free to Enterprise. You can find all of the details in the full XenServer 7.3 feature matrix.
Those changes set in motion other events that have fundamentally changed the XS landscape by causing other folks in the XS Ecosystem to “fork the code” of Citrix XenServer – now called Citrix Hypervisor – and launch a separate, more open, more free development track a la XCP-ng.

In the very near future we’re going to follow the value and resume development using XCP-ng because we believe that this is what’s needed most by the XS Community.

Stay tuned for more XenServer Goodness! ©

Eric Pretorious, Publisher
Practical XenServer

The Tutorial “Bonding Network Interfaces” has Been Replaced

We’ve been working to revise the tutorial “Bonding Network Interfaces” (Scenario #2, Tutorial #2) and we’re excited to announce that the new version of the tutorial is now available for your review!

This version of the tutorial is broken into six parts and replaces both parts of the previous version – Part #1 & Part #2 – but we’ll leave both parts of the previous version accessible for the foreseeable future – for comparison’s sake.

There’s already a forum for discussing this tutorial.

As always: We hope that you’ll find it informative and useful!

A New Tutorial: Bonding Network Interfaces!

We’ve been working hard on the next tutorial – “Bonding Network Interfaces” – but it’s such an enormous topic that we’ve had to split the tutorial into two parts. Today we’re announcing that Part I of the Tutorial “Bonding Network Interfaces” is complete.

Part I will address the details behind bonding. Part II will address the process of configuring bonding.

There’s already a forum for discussing this tutorial.

We hope that you’ll find it informative and useful!

New Format for Code Samples

We’ve reformatted each of the tutorials to strip away some of the extraneous clutter and help the information shine through!

Here, at Practical XenServer, we’re all about presenting the information that XenServer (XS) administrators need in order to work efficiently and effectively from the Command-Line Interface (CLI). So, in order to better serve that goal, we’ve reformatted each of the tutorials to remove as much of the clutter as possible and more effectively present the information in a clear, concise way.

We hope that you’ll agree and we look forward to your comments in the Forums!

A new Scenario – and a new Tutorial!

We’ve decided to skip ahead of Scenario #1 and begin publishing tutorials for Scenario #2.

There were a number of factors that went into the decision but, ultimately, we decided that Scenario #2 addresses a much more practical use-case than Scenario #1 and, therefore, provides more value to more XenServer administrators, and; that it was best to keep moving ahead with publishing tutorials and moving on to Scenario #2 supports that objective. We’ll continue working on Scenario #1 as time permits but, in the mean time, we hope that you’ll support our decision and that you’ll find Tutorial #1 useful.

Enjoy!