Xen Project Community Releases Update to Enterprise Hypervisor Software

Xen Project Community Releases Update to Enterprise Hypervisor Software 
Open Source Virtualization Software Includes Additional ARM Support
and Scalability for Cloud and Mobile Environments 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 03/10/14 --  The Xen Project
community, a Collaborative Project hosted at The Linux Foundation,
today announced availability of the Xen Project Hypervisor version
4.4 with enhanced ARM support. The latest release also includes major
performance and system scalability improvements for enterprise
computing, such as mobile and cloud environments, where
virtualization technology is increasingly in demand. 
This release further advances the Project's position as a fast,
scalable, secure virtualization engine for the industry's broadest
range of server, workstation and low-power system on chip (SoC)
Major contributions from AMD, Citrix, Intel, Oracle and SUSE are
pushing the Xen Project software to take advantage of the latest
hardware. Additionally, developers creating services and applications
with embedded, mobile and cloud systems will benefit from the updated
event channel implementation when scaling out their Infrastructure as
a Service offerings. 
"Virtualization and low-powered servers are leading companies to
rethink the data center and its potential for efficiency," said Lars
Kurth, Chairman of the Xen Project advisory board. "Our solution
contains IT-related costs, plus meets the security and scalability
needs of today's elastic cloud, mobile and social networking
companies. The latest updates continue the Project's track record of
rich collaboration and widespread development from many of the
world's technology leaders. This certainly explains the significant
growth of ARM support, which we're pleased to see advance so
Support for ARM on Xen Project Architecture Grows Quickly 
The new release introduces significant stability, usability and
performance improvements for the ARM architecture and extended
hardware compatibility. AppliedMicro's X-Gene, the Arndale Board,
Calxeda ECX-2000, TI OMAP5 and the Allwinner SunXi boards are all
supported. The substantially improved multiplatform capabilities of
the hypervisor allow hardware and embedded vendors to port the Xen
Project technology to new ARM SoCs easily, shortening their time to
Additional enhancements in this release included 64-bit guest support
on ARMv8 platforms. All userspace tools, such as the xl management
tool, can run on 64-bit and create 64-bit virtual machines out of the
The Xen Project hypercall ABI is now stable and will be maintained
for backward compatibility, so users can trust future releases to
boot older operating systems. Extended support for ARM specific boot
loaders and firmware interfaces, and support for physical partitions
and LVM volumes to store disks of virtual machines is now available. 
Improved Event Channel Scalability For Cloud Computing 
The Xen Project team continues to drive innovation and collaboration
around server virtualization and the cloud. Powering many of the
largest clouds in production today, including Amazon EC2, Rackspace
Cloud and others, the community understands the need to run more
virtual machines on a single host. 
Yet demands on hypervisor scalability continue to increase, both from
larger machines, new workloads such as virtual desktop
infrastructures (VDI) and new cloud OS technologies, including
MirageOS, ErlangOnXen, OSv, and HalVM. Recognizing that
high-availability and stability are critical to VDIs and cloud
deployments, the XenServer team at Citrix contributed the new event
channel implementation to the Xen Project codebase. To help eliminate
workload limitations for users, this enables the hypervisor to run
thousands of guests on a single physical machine.  
Experimental Support for PVH Mode for Guest 
Oracle has contributed a functional preview of a new virtualization
mode called PVH currently available to virtualized guests. PVH is an
extension to the classic Xen Project Paravirtualization (PV) that
uses the hardware virtualization extensions available on modern x86
processors. PVH uses PV drivers for boot and I/O, and Intel hardware
virtualization extensions for page table operations, system calls and
other privileged operations. This not only improves performance and
security, but also simplifies the architecture and Xen Project
Hypervisor-Linux interface significantly. 
Additional key updates include: 

--  Better performance with modern storage devices and big data --
    Indirect descriptors for block PV protocol (Linux) allow each
    individual request to triple in size, greatly improving I/O
    performance when running on fast storage technologies such as
    solid-state drive and RAID. Available in any guest running Linux 3.11
    or higher (regardless of Xen Project version).
--  More powerful driver domains -- Disk driver domains can now uniformly
    run block scripts and user-space backends, such as qdisk, bringing
    them up to feature parity with domain 0. This means host
    administrators can take advantage of the enhanced security,
    scalability, and robustness provided by driver domains without
    sacrificing the wide array of disk configuration options provided by
    Xen in dom0.
--  New SPICE protocol support -- Functionality, such as clipboard sharing
    and USB redirection, creates a much richer connection for virtual
    desktops and better graphics performance.
--  Enhanced diagnostics and kexec debug support -- When a crash happens,
    a special kernel is allowed to immediately collect information about
    the root cause, offering developers better diagnosis and repair

The 4.4 release is the result of a broad, collaborative development
effort representing engineers from more than 13 leading hardware,
software and security vendors. Top contributors include Amazon, AMD,
Analog Devices, Broadcom, Citrix, Fujitsu, Intel, Linaro, NSA,
Oracle, SUSE, Verizon/Terremark, along with numerous individual and
academic institutions. The new release is available to download from
the XenProject.org website today
About Xen Project 
The Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform
licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the
Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the
Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by
more than 10 million users. A Collaborative Project at The Linux
Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing
virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source
applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a
Service (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications,
embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open
source community leaders among its members including: Amazon Web
Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix,
Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon. For more information
about the Xen Project hypervisor and to participate, please visit
Sarah Conway
The Xen Project
Media Contact
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