Citrix has introduced updates to XenServer, its free virtualisation platform, and to Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, its virtualisation management package.
The new 5.5 release of XenServer, which Citrix began offering as a free download in February, is designed to provide easier virtualisation management and broader integration with enterprise systems, the company said in its announcement on Wednesday. This includes hooks that allow third-party products to interact with XenServer to provide full or incremental in-guest, file backups of virtual machines. Image backups are supported too.
In addition, it lets admins carry out GUI-based snapshots from the XenCenter management console.
The update supplies new tools to convert virtual machines from VMware's VMDK format into the VHD format used by Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V. It also lets them switch between common open virtualisation format packages.
In addition, new search facilities give admins a range of ways to locate virtual machines, while Active Directory integration brings XenServer hosts into the enterprise's information repository.
The list of supported guests has grown in the new version of XenServer to include Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11, Debian 5.0 and RedHat/CentOS/Oracle 5.3.
As for Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, the new 5.5 version adds the ability to clone and provision XenServer or Microsoft Hyper-V-based virtual machines across physical and virtual resources. It also allows third-parties to deliver unified backup and snapshot features for the VMs.
Citrix said the Essentials update also simplifies the process of building, testing, sharing and delivering applications throughout an application's lifecycle, including the ability to develop and test environments across virtualisation platforms. According to Citrix, it also extends XenServer's XenMotion features by enabling automated movement of live virtual machines across servers based on preset rules and thresholds, so reducing performance bottlenecks.
The beta version of the new Citrix XenServer 5.5 is available for download now, with the final version scheduled for release on 19 June. Citrix Essentials 5.5 for XenServer and Hyper-V is available now for download in a beta version and a 30-day trial version. It will also be released on 19 June, with prices starting at $2,500 (£1,665) per server, regardless of the number of processors.
On Wednesday, Citrix also unveiled NetScaler VPX, a virtual appliance version of its NetScaler MPX hardware appliance that is designed to accelerate and secure enterprise web applications. It can be installed on commodity hardware, the company said. It added that the move should allow smaller companies to access its technology because the software appliance can be downloaded from the net and run on a standard server, making it cheaper to buy.
The company is pitching NetScaler VPX for use by enterprises and cloud service providers as an on-demand service, as virtual machines can be deployed quickly deployed as demand increases. The company has not yet announced prices.