VIRTUALIZED STORAGE TO OPTIMIZE THE XENSERVER ENVIRONMENT
Server virtualization can offer strategic value to organizations in a number of arenas. By creating an abstraction layer between operating systems and physical hardware, IT administrators can consolidate server capacity, parcel out computing resources as needed, and streamline system provisioning and deployment, all while improving service levels and network security. Server virtualization also facilitates support for multiple operating systems, broadened choices among vendors and solutions, and employee empowerment across organizations, regardless of location.
In implementing virtualization solutions, however, IT managers often overlook a major opportunity: the integration of the virtualization platform and the shared storage backend. The result of this oversight: two critical components that effectively operate as discrete silos, creating new inefficiencies and increasing administrative workloads.
SAN AND SERVER MANAGEMENT VIA A SINGLE CONSOLE
To address this problem, Citrix and Dell have introduced the next generation of virtualization and storage with the Citrix XenServer Adapter for Dell EqualLogic PS Series SAN arrays. Available as part of Citrix XenServer 5.0 Dell Edition, this module allows IT administrators to hand off storage virtualization operations from the server virtualization software over to the EqualLogic SAN, for effective handling and superb overall performance.
The adapter integrates EqualLogic control interfaces directly into the XenCenter Management Client, helping improve overall system performance, enabling more efficient disk utilization, and realizing more completely the benefits of storage consolidation. The integration also leverages the automated features designed into both the XenServer and the PS Series arrays, reducing administrator workloads and increasing efficiency over more conventional, stove-piped deployments.
Through this partnered integration, Dell and Citrix offer organizations the full benefit of virtualization, including centralized storage, live migration, high availability, realtime streaming and improved management of workload and life-cycle costs.
VIRTUALIZED STORAGE FOR THE VIRTUALIZED ENVIRONMENT
With their ease-of-use, storage virtualization, and automation features, EqualLogic SANs provide a flexible means for managing storage resources, gracefully scaling, and reducing overall complexity, resulting in low total costs of ownership (TCO). When deployed within a XenServer environment, EqualLogic SANs can simplify the tasks and routines by which applications and data are stored and protected. Unlike other SAN platforms, the EqualLogic PS Series arrays share processor and storage resources dynamically, and perform load-balancing continuously, allowing more efficient implementation of these vital resources.
The Citrix XenServer Adapter for Dell EqualLogic capitalizes on this intelligence and goes even further, allowing simple management of these resources — storage provisioning, intelligent backup, rapid recovery, and capacity growth — live in production environments, with no application interruption or downtime. The XenServer Direct Storage Adapter enables IT administrators to perform unique EqualLogic capabilities through the Citrix XenCenter Management Client, automating the creation and assignment of dedicated storage volumes to each Virtual Machine (VM), without the manual work required by classic direct-storage mapping technologies.
As an integrated virtualization solution, XenServer and EqualLogic maintain high operating efficiency by delegating such advanced capabilities as Thin Provisioning, Fast Cloning, and Automated Snapshots to the EqualLogic SAN. Thin Provisioning helps IT administrators control costs by dedicating only the storage capacity needed in the short term, and maintaining unallocated storage in a common pool for later use by applications or user groups as disk resources are actually consumed. Fast Cloning lets storage administrators create copies of entire volumes (e.g., virtual drives or LUNs) as a background process, without disrupting network operations. Once created, clones can be used to accelerate the provisioning and deployment of standardized VMs, as well as to test new applications, configurations or procedures. Snapshots are space-efficient, point-in-time captures of storage volumes that can be created without disrupting network operations, for use in backing up or testing data.
In addition, XenServer supports iSCSI multipath I/O (MPIO) and simplified disaster recovery, two strategic tools for improving business continuity even in the event of network failures or other outages. MPIO support allows multiple networkpaths — e.g., separate subnetworks or VLANS — for both the SAN arrays and the virtualization servers, as a means of both improving performance and safeguarding against Ethernet switch failures or other network problems. Disaster recovery tools apply snapshot and fast cloning technologies to the processes of initial VM placement, the real-time movement of VMs via XenMotion, and automatic high availability.
CITRIX XENSERVER DELL EDITION: A POWERFUL VIRTUALIZATION SOLUTION
Dell and Citrix have partnered to bring virtualization ready platforms for today’s dynamic and growing data centers. With the 64-bit open-source Xen hypervisor at its core, Citrix XenServer Dell Edition is a powerful virtualization solution that enables efficient resource consolidation, utilization, dynamic provisioning, and integrated systems management. XenServer Dell Edition has a small footprint and is optimized to run from an internal flash storage in Dell PowerEdge servers.
EqualLogic SANs deliver the benefits of consolidated networked storage in a self-managing, iSCSI storage area network that is affordable and easy to use, regardless of scale. By eliminating complex tasks and enabling fast and flexible storage provisioning, EqualLogic solutions can reduce the costs of storage acquisition and ongoing operations.
Citrix XenServer Dell Edition is certified and fully supported by Dell for select server and storage configurations. Citrix XenServer Dell Edition comes pre-installed with Dell OpenManage Server Administrator, which enables systems management right out of the box without any additional need to install an agent on the host.