Citrix, Carpathia Launch XenServer Cloud Service

Carpathia Hosting and Citrix Systems have combined resources to offer a XenServer-based set of cloud services, called Carpathia InstantOn. Such services are likely to appeal to heavy users of Citrix XenServer hypervisor or Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, since both use a shared VHD virtual machine file format which would lend itself to export to a XenServer based cloud. InstantOn is one of the first cloud offerings to be based on XenServer.

March 4, 2010

3 Min Read
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Carpathia Hosting and Citrix Systems have combined resources to offer a XenServer-based set of cloud services, called Carpathia InstantOn. Such services are likely to appeal to heavy users of Citrix XenServer hypervisor or Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, since both use a shared VHD virtual machine file format which would lend itself to export to a XenServer based cloud. InstantOn is one of the first cloud offerings to be based on XenServer.

Amazon's EC2 is based on a variation of the open source Xen hypervisor known as Amazon Machine Images. The AT&T and Verizon clouds are based on working with VMware ESX Server virtual machines, as are Rackspace and other suppliers.

The nature of the virtual machine format a cloud service is prepared to work with determines who is most likely to find it easy to use. In some cases, customers will want to move workloads already running in their data centers out into the cloud. Doing so on short notice is much easier if they don't need to undergo a virtual machine format conversion first.

Carpathia CTO Jon Greaves said in the recent announcement that the Capathia cloud offering will be suitable for workloads designed to run in the public cloud, or for more secure private cloud-type operations. "Our focus has been delivering robust public and private cloud solutions for production-ready applications," he said.

The following will be made available through InstantOn, accessed through CarpathiaHost.net's E3 Portal:

  • On-demand computing services for virtual machines, including connections to dedicated or single-tenant infrastructures. Most public clouds invoke multi-tenant infrastructures, putting many customers side-by-side on the same physical servers.

  • Virtual networking that can take advantage of Citrix Systems Netscaler VPX, which allows Web applications to rapidly scale up to growing traffic demand.

  • Virtual storage in the form of object or block storage that can be shared by a single customer's multiple virtual machines.

In addition, Greaves wrote in an email exchange with InformationWeek, that special, secure, and private facilities will be made available in the InstantOn cloud. They include:

  • Hardened virtual operating system images for use in virtual machines to guard against outsider security exploits. Monitoring agents for the system are included.

  • Network support over a private virtual local area network with private addressing.

  • Support for implementing firewalls on a virtual machine and an intrusion protection system.

  • Support for open source tripwire security.

  • Support for deploying a hybrid cloud infrastructure, where some operations, such as databases, remain on an on-premises physical server, while database applications serving Web site users run in the cloud.


Greaves said by email that the Carpathian services ensure a more private operation, when desired, than the "simple, flat networking that is normally the case in public clouds."

In addition, he said Carpathia's InstantOn services can impose Secure Sockets Layer, virtual private networking and RSA public key/private key certificates to particular data handling operations in the cloud. Such a move would allow the tracking of accountability in the cloud and allow operations to be audited, if necessary.

"We support continuous compliance scanning where virtual machines are validated daily," he wrote. In addition, in the event of a virtual machine failure, Carpathia implements ITIL based incident management processes, or best practices set by the IT Infrastructure Library, for discovering why and reestablishing the VM. Greaves is a former distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems who was CTO of its Services business. 

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