In Short … HELL YES, see this PDF from Citrix with the large list of the improvements in XenServer 6.5
The new console is sleek and quick and a hell of an improvement over the previous with a number of bug fixes (notably for vGPU / VDI settings). It has a couple of new views (similar to the VMware Client), and from rudimentary tests the VMs on 6.5 are performing marginally better than 6.2.
The in place upgrade tested was flawless and preserved existing VMS on the host, including snapshots and templates. (it does however wipe out the XenServer backup directory so be prepared if you have any backups saved). Overall the entire upgrade process for one host (Dell R720) took around 8 minutes for the upgrade to complete (not including reboot time)
Benchmarking for GPU / VDI Passthrough
VM with 4vCPU, 90GB RAM, 150GB Local disk, Client with receiver 4.2 and local resolution of 2 x 1400 x 900, Running XenDesktop 7.6 on a Dell R720 Server. (3 benchmarks were run consecutively to ensure the results were not a one off – Final result was recorded)
- Grid K2 GPU in W7 XD VDI Passthrough on 6.2 – Heaven benchmark Score 1631
- Grid K2 GPU in W7 XD VDI Passthrough on 6.5 (without tools upgrade) – Heaven benchmark Score 1666
- Grid K2 GPU in W7 XD VDI Passthrough on 6.5 (with tools upgrade) – Heaven Benchmark Score 1666 (marginally higher FPS – but every bit helps in the world of VDI right?)
Its worth noting the below results are only really recording the performance of the GPU not the over all VM, its ability to serve applications or open files etc and a load testing solution like Edgesight Load testing or LoginVSI should really be used in a production scenario to determine a more ‘real end user load’. It is nice to see however that even from this rudimentary test the performance is heading in the right direction!
|Heaven Benchmark XenServer 6.2 vs 6.5||FPS||Min FPS||Max FPS|
|XS 6.5 w 6.2 Tools||66.1||19.4||141.6|
|XS 6.5 w 6.5 Tools||66.2||22.3||142.1|
Note: the VM tools were upgraded with the GPU removed and direct from the Xenserver 6.5 console, I did not remove the VDA or Nvidia drivers first (experience shows that this is a best practice)
I am about to upgrade our 2 hosts (not pooled) from XS 6.2 to 6.5 as well. I notice that you did the upgrade with the installation CD-ROM. Do you know if it’s possible to do the upgrade with XenCenter?
Also, where did you get the XenTools for 6.5? XenTools are only required for Windows Server am I correct. Do you need to install anything for Linux Servers?
Thirdly, you said that the backup wipe the “XenServer Backup directory”. Can you elaborate on this? Which backup directory are you referring to?
You can direct upgrade to 6.5 from 6.0 (as the earliest supported version to upgrade). You can do rolling upgrades but only if the servers are pooled. I think there is an option to distribute the install via an internal ftp site? see if this is any help http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/38322-102-714672/XenServer-6.5.0_Installation%20Guide.pdf
XenServer tools exists for linux – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xencenter-65/xs-xc-vms-installtools.html