Software

Citrix Offers Control For Microsoft Virtualization

Citrix is offering a management product for Microsoft’s Hyper-V, and a free version of its own Citrix XenServe, in a bid to steal a march on VMware

Citrix Systems’ is launching “Citrix Essentials” a product which integrates with Citrix XenServer virtualization and Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, and is the result of a joint effort called Project Encore – the latest move in 20 years of collaboration for the companies.

Citrix Essentials is designed to make the Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors – the essential software that makes x86 virtualization possible – more manageable, scalable and flexible. The company also announced the decision to offer free licenses for XenServer, which is available in Express, Enterprise and Platinum editions.

“The Enterprise Edition becomes free; [the] complete virtualization standard platform is free – free to download and deploy, with free resource pooling,” Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix, stated during a presentation. “We make money not off XenServer, but off the advanced virtualization management.”

Citrix argues that offering free XenServer licenses provides a substantial economic benefit to the enterprise, especially in a sour economic climate, by eliminating the bulk of entry costs associated with virtualization. Crosby asserted that free virtualization will make enterprises’ entry into the realm of cloud computing a more realistic and affordable proposition.

Citrix has no plans to open-source its XenServer product, which will now be supported by Microsoft System Centre.

The pairing with Microsoft on XenServer is part of what Citrix has code-named Project Encore, and effectively expands the two companies’ 20-year relationship into the arena of application management. Under Project Encore, the partnership will be expanded from applications and desktops to servers, will centre on a joint marketing strategy and will “add significant enterprise value” to Microsoft’s Hyper-V, the companies said.

“Project Encore began almost immediately when XenSource was acquired,” explained Crosby. “It has been about finding the core capabilities that will be built on Hyper-V.”

Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Microsoft’s Hyper-V is the “advanced virtualization management” for which customers will have to pay. Cost will range from $1,500 (£1,000) to $5,000 (£3,500) per server. Citrix Essentials will feature automated lab and life-cycle management and dynamic provisioning from single master images and will also include StorageLink technology that simplifies enterprise storage configuration and operation, workflow orchestration to automate common tasks, and advanced high availability and workload balancing.

Since its acquisition of XenSource in October 2007, Citrix has been making aggressive forays into the virtualization market as it looks to compete with the likes of VMware. On Jan. 21, Citrix and Intel announced a joint development agreement, centred on combining Intel’s vPro with Citrix virtualization technology, including XenDesktop.

Citrix then followed up on the 4th Febuary with the release of XenDesktop 3, virtualization software designed to handle both streamed and hosted desktops.