Citrix fired a one-two punch at VMware today by launching XenServer 5.0 and Citrix Cloud Center (C3). Let's look at each of the announcements separately. In short, Citrix is taking the open source Xen hypervisor and making it sing and dance.
What Citrix had to say about XenServer 5.0
Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS), the global leader in application delivery infrastructure, today announced Citrix® XenServer™ 5, the next generation of its groundbreaking server virtualization product line. XenServer 5 overcomes the limitations and complexity of first-generation solutions with powerful new management capabilities and unprecedented ease-of-use that make datacenters more dynamic for customers of all sizes. Today’s release comes on the heels of new data showing XenServer gaining share in the rapidly-evolving server virtualization market1 less than one year after acquiring XenSource and the XenServer product line. XenServer is a key component of the Citrix Delivery Center™ product family, a comprehensive datacenter-to-desktop system that helps customers transform static datacenters into dynamic “delivery centers.” XenServer is also a growing force in the emerging cloud computing market and a key component of the new Citrix Cloud Center™ solution launched today.
What Citrix says is new
I was planning to list all of the new features, but gave up. Citrix has added management features, HA features, DR features, a distributed management architecture and loads more. You'll have to visit Citrix's site and read through the list yourself.
What Citrix had to say about Citrix Cloud Center
Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS), the global leader in application delivery infrastructure, today unveiled its strategy for cloud computing and announced the new Citrix Cloud Center™ (C3) product family. The Citrix C3 solution integrates “cloud proven” virtualization and networking products that power many of today’s largest Internet and web service providers. This unique combination lets next-generation cloud providers take advantage of the most widely-adopted virtual infrastructure platform for hosted cloud services, as well as the most proven infrastructure to deliver those services reliably and securely to both cloud consumers and enterprise datacenters. The Citrix strategy will focus on equipping both new and existing cloud providers with the infrastructure needed to deliver successful clouds to their customers.
Citrix has built quite an interesting stack of software that is based upon an open source platform. The company appears to encourge others in the community to work with them to improve the underlying hypervisor technology. Although at first I was skeptical of how things would work as Citrix integrated the folks from XenSource, it does seem that things are going well. It also appears that Citrix is working well with the folks from Microsoft as well.
XenServer 5 is the first server virtualization platform to be validated for both AMD and Intel 32-bit and 64-bit systems through Microsoft’s Server Virtualization Validated Program. This program enables Citrix and other software providers to test and validate their virtualization software to run Windows Server 2008 and previous versions of Windows Server. Under this program, Microsoft offers cooperative technical support to customers running Windows Server and select Microsoft server applications on validated, non-Microsoft server virtualization software, such as XenServer 5.
Citrix seems to have a clear vision and is pushing the technology to support that vision. This can be seen in the announcement details consering managing virtualized environments, high availability, disaster recovery and using Xen as the platform for cloud computing efforts. It can also be seen in the announcements about the Xen hypervisor being deployed on everything from PDAs to really high-end configurations. If your organization has not already selected a specific virtual machine technology, it would be good to look at what Citrix is doing.