Citrix Hypervisor 8.1 What’s New

After upgrading my home lab to Citrix Hypervisor 8.1 which was released on 17th of December 2019. I gathered some information wanted to share with you.

New Feature Support:

  • Next Gen SR-IOV
    • Platform readiness only, no drivers yet
    • Full Feature support targeted for CH 8.2 LTSR
  • Multi vGPU Support
    • Both Windows and Linux

Multiple vGPU enables multiple virtual GPUs to be used concurrently by a single VM. Only certain vGPU profiles can be used and all vGPUs attached to a single VM must be of the same type. These additional vGPUs enable you to perform more graphical or computational processing. For more information about the number of vGPUs supported for a single VM, see Configuration Limits.

This feature is only available for NVIDIA GPUs. For more information about the physical GPUs that support multiple vGPU, see the NVIDIA documentation.

Support for AMD Rome

  • Enables 256 cores
  • Dependent on Xen 4.13

Added OS Support

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP4 (64-bit)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 12 SP4 (64-bit)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1 (64-bit)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 15 SP1 (64-bit)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (64-bit)
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 8 (64-bit)
  • CentOS 8 (64-bit)
  • Debian Buster 10 (64-bit)

Guest UEFI boot and Secure Boot

  • Citrix Hypervisor enables VMs running Windows 10 (64-bit), Windows Server 2016 (64-bit), or Windows Server 2019 (64-bit) to boot in UEFI mode. UEFI boot provides a richer interface for the guest operating systems to interact with the hardware, which can significantly reduce Windows VM boot times. 

UEFI boot uses a more modern device model and legacy-free firmware that can reduce boot times, allowing PV drivers to be used from the start

For these Windows operating systems, Citrix Hypervisor also supports Windows Secure Boot. Secure Boot prevents unsigned, incorrectly signed or modified binaries from being executed during boot. Secure Boot also reduces the risk that malware in the guest can manipulate the boot files or run during the boot process.

  • When Secure Boot is turned on, various security checks in Windows are more stringent which gives better security within the guest.
  • UEFI Boot with Secure Boot is a requirement for Windows Credential Guard (not yet supported on Citrix Hypervisor).
  • UEFI Boot with Secure Boot is a requirement for Secure PVS (not yet released).

UEFI is supported on the following 64-bit Windows versions: Win 10, WS 2016, WS 2019

Features Discontinued 

  • Include removal of VSS Snapshots
    • Low usage
  • Paravirtualized (PV) VM support (Templates have been removed)
    • RHEL 5/6, CentOS 5/6, Debian Wheezy 7) 

Features Deprecated

  • Distributed Virtual Switch Controller
    • Deprecated in 8.1 will be removed in 8.2
  • Dynamic Memory Control
    • Low usage, less than 5% on 7.x

Conversion Manager merged into XenCenter

Moving VMs from Vmware to Citrix Hypervisor. We provide two options:

  • Conversion via the Conversion Manager
    • The user imports the Conversion Manager virtual appliance (XCM VPX) to Citrix Hypervisor
      (via the latter’s CLI or XenCenter).
    • The user sets up the conversion via the standalone Conversion Manager Windows client (XCM UI).
    • VMs are transferred from VMware server to Citrix Hypervisor by the XCM VPX.
    • VMs are fixed for compatibility with Citrix Hypervisor by the XCM VPX
  • OVF/OVA import via XenCenter
    • The user exports VMs from VMware server to an OVF/OVA package.
    • The user sets up the package import via XenCenter.
    • VMs are uploaded to Citrix Hypervisor by the Transfer VM (shipped with Citrix Hypervisor).
    • VMs are fixed for compatibility by the OS Fixup ISO (shipped with XenCenter

The Conversion Manager standalone is now no longer available. Its functionality has been intergrated into XenCenter. In Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 and earlier, a separate Conversion Manager console is provided. From Citrix Hypervisor 8.1, this capability is integrated into XenCenter.

Summary of how to convert VMs

You can configure the Citrix Hypervisor Conversion Manager virtual appliance and start to convert VMs in just a few easy steps:

  1. Download the Citrix Hypervisor Conversion Manager virtual appliance from the [Citrix Hypervisor 8.1 Premium Edition page].
  2. Import the Citrix Hypervisor Conversion Manager virtual appliance into Citrix Hypervisor using XenCenter.

3. Configure the Citrix Hypervisor Conversion Manager virtual appliance by using XenCenter.

4. From XenCenter, launch the conversion wizard and start to convert VMs.

(I dont have an ESX host availalable but you get the point )

Customer benefits:

  • Convenience
    • No need to download, install, and keep up to date an additional client for converting VMware VMs.
  • Better system overview
  • A single application, XenCenter, to set up and monitor VM conversions from VMware into Citrix Hypervisor, and at the same time manage resources on Citrix Hypervisor.
  • Enhanced user experience
    • XenCenter being a polished and intuitive interface combining rich functionality with high usability.
  • Better support
    • XenCenter being an actively maintained application with a defined server compatibility matrix.

Windows v9.0 PV Drivers

New drivers with  improved storage and network performance

Update is defined during installation 

Updated support for operating systems

Multi vGPU support

It is now possible to create and use multiple vGPU inside one single VM

Supported Not Supported

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