Citrix Hits VMware with Free XenServer 5.5 Download

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The new XenServer has better back-up. conversion and search – and you can get started with a free download. VMware should be worried, says Citrix

Citrix Systems has released version 5.5 of its XenServer virtualisation platform less than a month after VMware shipped vSphere 4.0 – and is allowing free downloads. Meanwhile, it also updated Citrix Essentials for both XenServer and Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation technology.

Citrix officials say the initial interest in XenServer 5.5 indicates that businesses are looking for less costly and less complex virtualisation options. The new version, which feeds Citrix’s competition with VMware, includes new features such as consolidated backup, enhanced conversion and search tools, integration with Active Directory, and greater guest support for Microsoft’s Windows and Linux operating systems. It also comes as a free download.

VMware announced its vSphere 4.0 offering April 21, and started shipping it May 21. In addition, Citrix officials also announced June 16 the 5.5 release of Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation technology for improved management capabilities for businesses using XenServer or Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. Citrix Essentials 5.5 offers expanded storage integration, automated lab and stage management, and dynamic workload balancing. In the US, Citrix Essentials starts at $2,500 per server.

Citrix announced XenServer 5.5 in February, and according to Peter Levine, senior vice president and general manager of Citrix’s virtualisation management Division, the number of early downloads of the technology is an indication that businesses are looking for less costly and less complex virtualisation options.

“Making XenServer free was not a one-time publicity move,” Levine said in a statement. “It was an integral part of our strategy to accelerate the rate of virtualisation adoption and address the more than 75 percent of servers that still have not been virtualised today.”

Citrix also launched the XenServer Central community Website, a tool for XenServer users that will feature up-to-date product information, access to the Citrix knowledge centre and Web-based support forums.

In addition to the XenServer news, Citrix also announced June 16 that it is teaming up with Arista Networks to offer cloud computing networking technologies for larger enterprises and cloud service providers.

Part of that will include integrating Citrix’s NetScaler VPX virtual appliance with Arista’s 7000 Series switch.

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