Citrix Readies Virtualization Blitz

Plans major refresh of its XenServer line; eyes server and storage vendors

February 8, 2008

3 Min Read
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By James Rogers, February 7, 2008 9:45 AM

Citrix is planning a major overhaul of the virtualization software it acquired when it bought XenSource for $500 million last year, including a high-performance version of the technology and extended storage support.

The vendor is also said to be planning a major rollout of the Xen technology across multiple server vendors -- a clear shot across the bows of virtualization rival VMware.

The slew of product announcements, scheduled for the first quarter of this year, include a new version of Citrix's XenServer software, called XenServer Platinum Edition, which is the vendor's first virtualization product to offer provisioning.

"[Previously] XenServer could do server virtualization, but there was no provisioning capability built in at all," says Sumit Dhawan, Citrix's director of product management. "With the Platinum edition, we're adding the provisioning capabilities, both for VMs and physical servers."The exec claims that this will enable users to provision their workloads "in a much more dynamic fashion," even reducing firms' storage requirements by consolidating multiple application workloads into just one storage instance.

Platinum Edition, which will be available shortly after the end of the first quarter, could nonetheless put a big dent in users' pockets. The list price of $5,000 per server is significantly more than Xen's previous high-end offering, XenServer Enterprise Edition, which costs $3,000 per server.

Citrix is also planning to upgrade code within the core XenServer itself. The vendor is preparing to launch XenServer 4.1, which will be part of both the Enterprise and Platinum editions, late in the first quarter. "We're announcing broader storage support," explains Dhawan, adding that NetApp's storage will now integrate with XenServer for storing VM and workload instances.

Citrix's Dhawan told Byte and Switch that this mirrors an existing deal linking XenServer with EMC SAN storage, but: "With NetApp we support iSCSI storage," he says.

The vendor will also rename Presentation Server, its application virtualization offering, "XenApp" later this month and announce much tighter integration of that product with XenServer 4.1."The new version of XenServer can virtualize the Citrix Presentation Server without having some sort of penalty in terms of performance," explains Dhawan. "Customers and industry analysts were [also] saying that we had to name the product to be more reflective of what it does."

Not to be outdone, VMware has been cranking up its own storage strategy recently, unveiling a souped-up version of its Inrastructure 3 software and teaming up with EMC to support Invista.

Citrix, of course, is already in bed with storage vendor Symantec, having announced a deal last year to embed Symantec's Storage Foundation product line into its XenEnterprise offering.

Media reports this week also suggest that Citrix is gaining momentum in its attempts to get the Xen virtualization software pre-installed on third-party servers. The vendor already has partnerships in place with Dell and HP, although Reuters this week quoted Simon Crosby, the CTO of Citrix's virtualization and management division, as saying that by the end of this year, Xen's software could be available as an option on 50 percent of the server market.

Increasingly, virtualization vendors are looking to push their hypervisor technology into servers to expand their enterprise presence. Last year, for example, VMware unveiled plans to embed its ESX Server 3i in hardware from Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, HP, and NEC.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701)

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.

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