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Re: [Xen-users] Which one to use: Xen HV, Xen Cloud Platform, or Citrix XenServer?

I have to agree with Eric here --

I found it really difficult to determine that type of high-level question when I first got into playing around with Xen, XCP, and XenServer. 

Reading through "the docs" doesn't really give you those answers.

There's lot of in-depth information, but not much available that just explains the basics a sys admin would want to know.

Even now after having played with all 3 for a while, I'm not totally confident of the answers to the questions raised by the OP:
  • is more stable?
  • has more features? e.g., live migration, high-availability, etc.
  • tracks Xen HV development more closely?
In particular I can't speak for Xen vs XCP/XenServer... but I do feel that XenServer is more stable than XCP as XCP is derived from the XenServer code base and then basically I think has the proprietary bits pulled out (is that right guys?), so overall XenServer certainly must be more stable as it attracts more of Citrix's time and effort in testing and certifying the releases.

I'd be inclined to recommend XenServer to anyone who doesn't need anything more than the free version of XenServer provides. 

With that said, we have been using XCP 1.1 on a number of servers here as well and haven't had any issues, so I think it's quite a nice product.

Check out the comparison matrix here:

Note, neither XCP nor the free XenServer will give you HA. For that you need the Advanced Xenserver, and HA can be a bit tricky to setup.... it's not uber obvious from the online docs either, but HA will only work if you have identical server hardware that can be setup in a pool and you also need a shared storage backend (or setup DRBD for shared storage, which we've played with, but I wouldn't recommend to the faint of heart or those who want things to work easily without a lot of messing around).

DRBD reference: http://www.linbit.com/fileadmin/tech-guides/xenserver-drbd.pdf

I'm going to shortly be playing around with the alternative which is to do an active/passive HA DRBD setup using free XenServer and the above guide.

For HA with plain Xen there's also Remus (http://nss.cs.ubc.ca/remus/), which I haven't tried yet, but really would love to hear from others how well it works.


Andrew Eross
Locatrix Communications

On Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM, Eric <epretorious@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> From: Fajar A. Nugraha <list@xxxxxxxxx>

>To: Eric <epretorious@xxxxxxxxx>
>Cc: "xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 5:27 PM
>Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Which one to use: Xen HV, Xen Cloud Platform, or Citrix XenServer?
>On Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 6:01 AM, Eric <epretorious@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> With so many different avenues for using Xen I'm wondering which path to
>> take:
>> Xen Hypervisor (e.g., CentOS 5.x, Debian {4,5,6}, etc),
>> Xen Cloud Platform [XCP], or
>> Citrix XenServer [XS].
>> Is there one platform that...
>> is more stable?
>> has more features? e.g., live migration, high-availability, etc.
>> tracks Xen HV development more closely?
>> Is there one Linux distro that...
>> is more stable than the others?
>> tracks Xen HV development more closely? e.g.,RHEL/CentOS 5.x uses Xen 3.0.
>> Debian 6 uses Xen 4.0 AFAIK.
>If you've read the documentations and try some of them, like I
>recommended before, you'd probably know the answer already :)

1. I've read The Documentation but these questions are not adequately addressed _anywhere_. I'd be happy to read any links that you can provide that may shed some light on these very-important questions, though.

2. Recommended *before*?

>In short, there's no silver bullet. You can't have it all. For now anyway.
>It's your choice whether to pick appliance-type vs distro-installed,
>and newer-features vs rock-stable-and-proven.

Yeah, I know. That's why I'm asking list members to share their experience and their perspective.

>Going forward, since xapi tools will be available and developed mainly
>on debian/ubuntu, those would probably be the best choice. I wouldn't
>hold my breath though, as (from experience) most likely it'd take
>several years to get there.

Thanks, Fajar. That seems like good advice.

Eric Pretorious
Truckee, CA

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