Licensing overview


If you are using XenServer to run your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops workloads, you must have a Premium Edition license. For more information about getting a XenServer license, see https://xenserver.com/buy. This requirement is a change of behavior since the previous version of Citrix Hypervisor/XenServer. For more information, see the licensing FAQ.

Existing customers can request to participate in our promotion and receive up to 10,000 XenServer Premium Edition socket licenses for free. Learn more.

XenServer 8 is available in the following editions:

  • Premium Edition is our premium offering, optimized for desktop, server, and cloud workloads. In addition to the features available in the Standard Edition, the Premium Edition offers the following features:

    • Dynamic Workload Balancing
    • GPU virtualization with NVIDIA vGPU and Intel GVT-g
    • Thin provisioning for shared block storage devices
    • Support for SMB storage
    • Direct Inspect APIs
    • Export pool resource data
    • In-memory read caching
    • PVS-Accelerator
    • Enablement for Citrix Virtual Desktops tablet mode
    • Changed block tracking
    • IGMP snooping
    • USB pass-through
    • SR-IOV network support
    • Monitor host and dom0 resources with NRPE
    • Monitor host and dom0 resources with SNMP
  • Standard Edition is our entry-level commercial offering. It has a range of features for customers who want a robust and high-performing virtualization platform, but don’t require the premium features of Premium Edition. Meanwhile, they still want to benefit from the assurance of comprehensive support and maintenance.

  • Trial Edition currently showcases our Premium Edition feature set on a restricted size pool (maximum three hosts), but doesn’t allow rolling pool upgrade through XenCenter.

For more information, see https://www.xenserver.com/editions.

  Premium Edition Standard Edition Trial Edition
Premium feature set Yes   Yes
Rolling pool upgrade through XenCenter Yes Yes  
Continuous functional and security updates Yes Yes Yes
Maximum pool size 64 (16 with GFS2 SRs) 64 (16 with GFS2 SRs) 3

XenServer is licensed on a per-socket basis. Allocation of licenses is managed centrally and enforced by a standalone Citrix License Server (physical or virtual) in the environment. For more information about XenServer licensing, see the Licensing FAQ.

Licensing your hosts and pools

XenServer uses the same licensing process as some Citrix products. To use XenServer Premium Edition or XenServer Standard Edition, you require a valid license to be installed on a Citrix License Server and assigned to your XenServer host. This process is covered in detail in the Licensing guide for XenServer.


XenServer does not currently support licensing hosted on Citrix Cloud. An on-premises Citrix License Server is required.

To license your hosts, you need the following items:

  • A license
  • A Citrix License Server
  • A XenServer host
  • XenCenter

1. Install Citrix License Server

You can download the Citrix License Server for Windows from the Citrix Licensing downloads page.

Install the Citrix License Server on a Windows system according to the instructions in the Citrix Licensing documentation.

The Windows system that you install your Citrix License Server on can be a Windows VM hosted in your XenServer pool.

XenServer operates with a ‘grace’ license until the License Server can boot. This behavior means, after you have licensed the XenServer hosts in your pool, if you reboot the host that has the Citrix License Server running on it, a grace period is applied until the License Server is restarted.

2. Download license files

Download a license file that is tied to the case-sensitive host name of your Citrix License Server and contains a large enough number of per-socket licenses to share across the hosts you want to license.

For information about purchasing a XenServer license, see https://xenserver.com/buy.

For more information about getting your license files, see the Citrix Licensing product documentation.

3. Add the license file to the Citrix License Server

Use the Citrix Licensing Manager to install the licenses on your Citrix License Server. For more information, see the Citrix Licensing product documentation.

4. Apply the licenses to hosts in your resource pool

You can allocate licenses hosted on a Citrix License Server to your XenServer hosts and pools by using XenCenter or the xe CLI.

Apply a license to all the hosts using XenCenter

A: Follow this procedure to apply a license:

  1. On the Tools menu, click License Manager.

  2. Select the pool or hosts that you want to license, and then click Assign License.

  3. In the Apply License dialog, specify the Edition type to assign to the host.

  4. Type the host name or IP address of the Citrix License Server.

  5. Click OK.

Apply a license to hosts or pools by using the xe CLI

To apply a license to a single host, run the host-apply-edition command:

    xe host-apply-edition edition=premium-per-socket|standard-per-socket  \

        license-server-address=<license_server_address> host-uuid=<uuid_of_host>  \


To apply a license to all hosts in a pool, run the pool-apply-edition command:

    xe pool-apply-edition edition=premium-per-socket|standard-per-socket  \

        license-server-address=<license_server_address> pool-uuid=<uuid_of_pool>  \

Licensing overview