The folks at Citrix are at it again. They are trying to execute a preemptive strike so that their technology will come to be pervasive. It is clear that Citrix is taking a page out of the open source strategy book.
This "give something of value away free" strategy to drive awareness, interest and demand for a for-pay product, if used properly, can work very well for a supplier. It is, in fact, the same strategy used when the company announced a free version of their XenServer hypervisor and the form of Citrix Essentials designed to support XenServer (see Citrix launches a free version of XenServer and Citrix Essentials for more information.)
What Citrix has to say about Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V
This week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Citrix Systems, Inc. is unveiling a new free Express Edition to its Citrix Essentials for Microsoft Hyper-V lineup. The new Express Edition is immediately available for download and includes the game-changing Citrix StorageLink technology. With StorageLink, Windows administrators can dramatically simplify their storage management processes with quick and easy storage configuration and provisioning for their Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and System Center virtual infrastructures. Citrix Essentials helps administrators take full advantage of powerful storage-based features like deduplication, thin provisioning, cloning, snapshots and replication – features that otherwise hide behind layers of proprietary, specialized virtualization storage file systems.
The new free Express Edition of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V is designed specifically for Windows IT professional in the early phases of Hyper-V adoption. It will allow them to take advantage of the benefits of shared storage with Hyper-V and simplify storage management in virtual server environments.
The StorageLink technology featured in all editions of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V provides Windows IT Professionals with the tools necessary to easily manage Hyper-V storage in iSCSI and Fibre Channel (FC) SAN environments, enabling them to leverage advanced storage technologies from leading storage vendors that deliver powerful features for performance, storage efficiency, and business continuity. Industry estimates have shown that by applying storage-saving technologies like deduplication and thin provisioning , Hyper-V customers can often shrink their storage footprint by upwards of 50 percent depending on the nature of their workloads. In cases where virtual machines (VMs) are highly duplicated, like virtual desktop images, many have seen a nearly 90 percent reduction in storage consumption.
The Express Edition of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V supports up to two Hyper-V servers and one storage array. Organizations that download the free Express Edition of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V can easily upgrade to the Enterprise or Platinum Editions. Listed at $1500 and $3000 per server, respectively, the Enterprise and Platinum Editions add dynamic server provisioning, automated lab management, automated stage management, and workflow orchestration.
Since "free" is a word most IT executives love to hear, this is likely to move Citrix's product up into the "preferred" category in organizations facing the requirement to focus a great deal of attention on cost containment or cost reduction activities. This product also demonstrates the fact that Citrix is committed to making it easy for organizations to select Citrix tools to manage their virtualized environments regardless of whether they've chosen Hyper-V, XenServer or a hybrid environment using both.
Good move, Citrix.