Citrix Releases XenServer 5

On the first day of VMware's VMworld conference happening in Las Vegas this week, Citrix Systems -- a competitor of VMware that's also at the conference -- announced the release of XenServer 5, the latest version of its server virtualization solution.

The company is obviously hoping the new version will make a big splash in the increasingly competitive server virtualization market. "XenServer 5 is going to completely change the way a lot of people think about server virtualization," commented the company's vice president and general manager, Lou Shipley, in a prepared statement. "We are excited to see the growing momentum around XenServer as customers around the world begin to experience a more powerful, open, easy way to build dynamic datacenters."

Citrix purchased XenSource, the company that created the XenServer product line, just under a year ago. According to the company, the latest version of XenServer offers customers approximately 100 new management tools and features, as well as improvements relating to disaster recovery and high availability, new monitoring and performance tools, plus increased access for third-party management solutions.

The new version also offers "the industry's most advanced high-availability, auto-restart and failover technologies that can be seamlessly upgraded to full fault tolerance," according to the company.

Citrix is also touting the solution's open architecture. "Unlike other virtualization products that are built on closed proprietary systems, the open storage APIs in XenServer allow customers to access and control advanced functions such as snapshotting, cloning, replication, de-duplication and provisioning in their existing storage systems," the company said in its marketing materials. "This unique approach allows customers to fully leverage all the capabilities of their existing datacenter infrastructure rather than deploying and managing an entirely new set of tools and people that apply only to their virtual servers."

XenServer 5 has been validated through Microsoft's Server Virtualization Validated Program for Intel and AMD 32-bit and 64-bit chips for Windows Server 2008 as well as earlier versions of Windows Server. "Microsoft and Citrix share a common focus on developing an end-to-end computing environment that is flexible, dynamic and responsive to business change," Zane Adam, Microsoft's senior director of integrated virtualization, said in a released statement. "We're working with Citrix to standardize on a common virtualization format, develop virtual machine interoperability and portability between XenServer 5 and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, enable cooperative technical support, and use Microsoft System Center as a common management framework." Citrix has also partnered with HP, Dell and NetApp.

More information on XenServer 5 can be found on Citrix's Web site here.

Citrix's announcement came on the same day (Monday) that VMware announced its latest strategy in the virtualization market: to transform the virtualization space into the operating system. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft made their virtualization announcements (click here and here for Sun, here and here for Microsoft) in the weeks prior to the show.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.