written by Jerry Clement, Dell Enterprise OS Engineering, Project Manager/Engineer for Citrix XenServer

Dell is continually working with our OS vendors to get native driver support in the latest version of the OS to support our new peripheral offerings. As was the case for the Dell PowerEdge 12th Generation Servers. We worked closely with Citrix to get native drivers into XenServer 6.0 to support our new peripherals. For instance the really cool Dell Rack Select Network Adapter options that provide flexibility in choosing a LOM subsystem that is right for your infrastructure. Unfortunately the schedules for the projects never aligned in our favor. Citrix launched XenServer 6.0 before we were able to lock down all the required driver versions that were in development for the 12th generation servers, but we have an excellent partnership with Citrix and we were confident that we could find a solution. We identified the required drivers and Citrix agreed to post driver disk supplemental packs on the XenServer 6.0 download page at mycitrix.com to support our 12th generation servers. Thank you Citrix and all of the engineers who made it possible.

We do a LOT of installs during the initial testing of an OS. So while testing XenServer in our OS Engineering Lab here in Austin, Texas, we tried setting up a PXE installation to speed things up. It was impossible to include a network card driver disk supplemental pack into the PXE installation. It was a "chicken or the egg paradox" and it became obvious that in order for the PXE install to work; we would have to install an older network card that was supported by a native driver. This just wasn’t a viable option because we would not expect our customers to do hand installs with the driver disks or install an older network card on a new server to get it done with PXE. Can someone please help?

Well, Citrix in the 11th hour provided us with a win/win solution that made us all very happy. Citrix agreed to release an updated version of XenServer 6.0 to nicely coincide with a new XenDesktop release and our 12th Generation server launch. All of the driver disk supplemental packs previously qualified for XenServer 6.0 were included as native drivers in XenServer 6.0.2.

Yes!  Fist Bump?  No?  ok.. Anyway...

This update now allowed us to set up our PXE installs without having to take any extra steps. It is very satisfying to install from the XenServer main.iso and not have to make any other accommodations. Oh, Did I mention that XenServer 6.0 has a simplified installer. Previous installations required two iso files. Now, host installations only require a single iso... nice! Mentioned... check! 

If you are planning to install XenServer on your new Dell PowerEdge 12th Generation Server, we recommend downloading XenServer 6.0.2. It will save you some time and simplify your install. Purchasing a Dell PowerEdge 12th Generation Server and running XenServer 6.0.2 is a great choice. Citrix has made some excellent improvements to XenServer 6.0 and 6.0.2... Here are just a few of the improvements: 

Enhanced Guest OS Support. Support for Ubuntu 10.04 (32/64-bit). Updated support for Debian Squeeze 6.0 64-bit, Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.0 (32/64-bit) and SLES 10 SP4 (32/64-bit). XenServer 6.0.2 also now includes CentOS 5.7 (32/64-bit), CentOS 6.0 (32/64-bit), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 (32/64-bit), Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.7 (32/64-bit). Experimental VM templates for Ubuntu 10.10 (32/64-bit) and Solaris 10.

Host Architectural Improvements. XenServer 6.0 now runs on the Xen 4.1 hypervisor, provides GPT support and a smaller, more scalable Dom0.

Networking Improvements. Open vSwitch is now the default networking stack in XenServer 6.0 and now provides formal support for Active-Backup NIC bonding.

XenServer is a great choice for anyone wanting to learn about virtualization because... it can be used for Free! And there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Speed Reading 101 is a prerequisite! 

Having Citrix as a trusted partner is certainly proving that we are "Better Together." Tell us about your success with XenServer.