Xen Project Advances Open Source Virtualization with New Release

ARM server support and new security, performance and scalability updates headline the Xen Project 4.3 release

SAN FRANCISCO, July 9, 2013 – The Xen Project, a Collaborative Project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the availability of Xen Project hypervisor version 4.3.

The Xen Project powers more than 10 million users across enterprise and cloud computing in addition to embedded and mobile devices. Xen Project is backed by some of the largest names in computing including Amazon Web Services, AMD, Google, Oracle, Intel and many other hardware and hosting service providers. The Xen Project open source virtualization platform is licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel.

The investments the Xen Project has been making in further opening up development, culminating with the decision to be an independent Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation, have resulted in increased collaborative development and the inclusion of the following new capabilities and improvements in the Xen Project 4.3:

  • ARM server support: The new release includes support for ARM servers as a Technology Preview. The Xen Project community, working with ARM server hardware vendors including Calxeda, has validated the Xen ARM port on ARMv7 and ARMv8 platforms. Also, several vendors on the Xen Advisory Board are actively supporting Xen Project as part of the Linaro Enterprise Working Group.
  • Performance and scalability enhancements: NUMA scheduler affinity has led to significant performance improvements on NUMA hardware. Scalability improvements increased support for physical RAM on hosts from 5TB to 16TB of RAM. A tool stack bottleneck limitation to 300 virtual CPUs was removed and Xen Project has already been tested on up to 750 virtual CPUs. Finally, with block protocol scalability, users will see significant improvement in read/write performance and throughput with more than six guests on a single host.
  • Improved security: The Xen Project’s virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM) subsystem has been extended to enable guest operating systems to more easily interact with it. Each guest now has access to unique emulated software but can only access keys that are released by a special vTPM manager domain. In addition, the scope of the XSM/Flask security subsystem has been extended to cover both privileged and unprivileged APIs. This allows organizations like the NSA to further enhance Xen Project’s security by breaking down the control domain into smaller, compartmentalized units.
  • Consumability experience: Xen Project now works with upstream QEMU making it easier for Linux distros to consume Xen Project and includes support for PCI pass-thru.
  • Tool stack improvements: The tool stack includes usability improvements and a new Technology Preview of Open vSwitch integration.
  • Power efficiency: The cpuidle infrastructure now uses the MWAIT extension for all the processors that support it (modern Intel chips, i.e., Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and more recent). This improves Xen Project’s power efficiency on those processors.

“Virtualization is important to Linux and the open source community and the Xen Project is helping companies realize new levels of scalability and efficiency in areas such as cloud computing,” said Mike Woster, chief operating officer and vice president at The Linux Foundation. “With the latest release of Xen Project, organizations can advance their cloud computing strategies to deliver on customer expectations for their enterprise environments.”

“The Xen Project 4.3 release represents a collective effort of global development and we see the enhancements helping to advance innovation in virtualization and cloud computing,” said Lars Kurth, community manager, Xen Project. “The ARM server support is an exciting development for the community and we’re excited about the opportunities this will bring to customers.”

“The Xen Project and community work on porting to ARM hardware is an important milestone, and we’re happy to have worked with the Xen Project community to advance this work,” said Larry Wikelius, Co-Founder and VP Software, Calxeda. “The Xen Project is helping to advance our efforts to address virtualization and cloud computing in a variety of IT environments.” #

The Xen Project counts many industry leaders and open source community leaders among its members including: Amazon Web Services, AMD, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon.

About the Xen Project

The Xen Project 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. As a Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project 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. For more information about the Xen Project and participate, please visit http://xenproject.org.

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