Citrix releases major XenServer upgrade

People can now download version 5.5 of both XenServer and Citrix Essentials, the first significant new releases since XenServer became a free product in February
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Citrix has pushed out promised updates to XenServer and to Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, the first major upgrades since it made XenServer a free product in February.

As part of its announcement on Tuesday, the company also launched XenServer Central. The website for XenServer users offers product information, tips and tricks, web-based support forums and access to the Citrix KnowledgeCenter.

Citrix said the release demonstrates that it is continuing to invest heavily in its XenServer virtualisation platform, as a way of gaining market share and increasing the adoption of virtualisation. Wider use of XenServer helps create a market to which Citrix can sell add-ons such as its Essentials virtualisation management package — a strategy also followed by virtualisation pioneer VMware.

The new 5.5 release of XenServer, which Citrix began offering in a beta-test version in May, is designed to provide easier virtualisation management and broader integration with enterprise systems. The hypervisor comes with centralised multi-node management, built-in storage capabilities and full live motion. It also includes technology to let third-party software interact with XenServer, and has a range of virtual-machine tools, such as one that converts virtual machines from VMDK (used by VMware) to VHD (used by XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V).

The 5.5 version of Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, which is a paid product, will let admins clone virtual machines in XenServer or Microsoft Hyper-V and provision them using both physical and virtual resources.

The full version of Citrix XenServer 5.5 is available for download immediately from Citrix's website. Citrix Essentials 5.5 for XenServer and Hyper-V are available now for purchase, with prices starting at $2,500 (£1,500) per server, regardless of the number of processors; Essentials is also available as a 30-day trial version.

ZDNet UK's Manek Dubash contributed to this report.

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