I have been working with XenServer for about three years now, and I came into the game around 5.5, 5.6, and struggled through the 6.0 conversion. I have been running 6.2 for close to a year now, and It is pretty dang good. We don’t have memory leaks, random vm hangs, and it is just all around better. I only expect XenServer to become better and better. In saying so, I hope that they improve some features that are already implmented. I present five things I would like to see changed or improved in XenServer/XenCenter.
1) Easier XenTools upgrading
XenServer 6.0, 6.1, 6.2. Each upgrade required a XenTools upgrade on each Windows machine, and required each one to reboot. Sometimes more than once. XenTools is quickly becoming a hassle to deal with. You can’t ignore it, because then you won’t get any good performance out of your VM, and it requires a reboot, which often leaves you working late into the night. I know VMware has a one click VMtools upgrade for some of its supported OS’s. I would like to see something similar for XenTools. Now, I am not a software developer for Citrix, so I don’t quite know if such a thing is even possible, but a button that would send commands to a Linux or Windows and perform a silent install, then place an alert XenCenter once it is done, and ready for a reboot. That way a reboot can be scheduled when necessary.
2) Faster console refresh
I have never enjoyed using the XenCenter console. It is slow, small, and while it does allow for pasting and copying, it does not refresh super well. From my understanding, it uses VNC to show the screen, and I have never had good luck with VNC. It never refreshes quickly, and it is just usually a pain to navigate. Not to praise VMware, it has its issues too, but I never had a problem using their console, except the whole mouse release thing. I hope to see improvements in video refresh and performance. Something where I can just log into XenCenter instead of SSHing or RDPing into a server, just to get a better experience.
3) More space reserved for XenServer installs
XenServer install size is under 4GB, and that includes the database of VM’s. The rest of the space is used for local storage. If anyone has ever updated XenServer, you have come across alerts that mention that your partition is getting full. This is usually due to log file sizes, which at times reach ~500MB of text files that have not been rotated out. I guess the title should instead be called, ‘option to turn off debugging level logging’, or log file clear button or option.
4) VM clones that use specified vm name as HDD label
I cloned a few VM’s, and named them all differently, and then checked the SR to see their names, to find they all had the cloned name. Now while you can change this during the VM create wizard, why is it not done by default, like when you create a new VM from scratch? While everything can be changed later, it just seems more efficient to me to have everything named the same upon creation.
5) Remote Desktop using XenServer login credentials
We already authenticate with AD for users in managing XenServer, why can’t we use the credentials to authenticate with RDP to log into servers as well. Having to type in my password each time I already log into a server, and then have the RDP service poll and try to switch ten section after you log in can get annoying. It often requires me to type my password twice. Something with the option to do so, would make my day just a little easier when managing servers.
Now, I don’t know if any of these ideas are even possible to implement, but boy would it be nice to makes things just a little bit easier in XenCenter. I do like the program, for the most part, and I hope to see more options implemented later, as I think XenServer has the potential to become a much better and popular hypervisor.