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Citrix Hypervisor Server Virtualization: Product Overview and Insight

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted February 28, 2019


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Bottom Line:

Citrix Hypervisor can rival VMware vSphere on many fronts. It may lack a few of the very top-level virtualization features of vSphere, but it makes up for that with excellent 3D graphics support, key desktop applications, and advanced scalability. But here's the key value proposition for buyers: it tends to be lower cost than VMware. This means that an SMB with ambitions to fully virtualize its data center can deploy Citrix and compete with bigger facilities.

And large enterprises with simpler needs – who are perhaps considering VMware – should also take a good look at Citrix. The vendor is a well-respected player in the enterprise market.

Product Description:

Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer) is a virtualization management platform optimized for application, desktop and server virtualization infrastructures. Consolidation and containment of workloads on the Citrix hypervisor enables organizations to handle different workload types, mixed operating systems, and storage or networking configurations.

It is aimed at demanding applications, and desktop virtualization use cases, boasts scalability and performance under load, and can cater to the largest Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployments. It is particularly strong on enhanced virtualized graphics with support for all major GPU vendor virtualization offerings – NVIDIA Virtual GPU, AMD MxGPU, and Intel GVT-g. Good storage, migration, management, and security features are also included.

“Some of our hosts have been running for more than 400 days with no problems,” said a Sys Admin in education.

Servers/Operating systems:

Windows, Linux, XenApp, XenDesktop, and NetScaler Gateway.

Implementation:

Deploying Citrix Hypervisor is done via its centralized management features. While its user ratings were generally good, ease of deployment was at the lower end of the scale. Therefore, it may be best to work with a Citrix partner, utilize Citrix consulting services, or receive training to help with your Citrix Hypervisor deployment.

Scalability:

64 VMs per host.

“Citrix provides a comprehensive server virtualization solution that is scalable with a good consolidation ratio. It has a strong development roadmap in cloud infrastructure, said an IT Manager in healthcare.

Overhead:

5% to 10%.

Management:

Strong integration with Citrix Director provides a single pane of glass for day-to-day management and the ability to view a virtual machine console within Citrix Director for troubleshooting.

Citrix Smart Tools (formerly Citrix Lifecycle Manager) enables application lifecycle workflows for the deployment, management and tear-down of multi-tiered applications via blueprints. Citrix Smart Tools blueprints define the set of necessary steps for the out-of-the-box best practice deployment, configuration and ongoing management of applications, such as Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, or third party applications. Application blueprint deployments are included for free with your Citrix Hypervisor licenses.

Patching/Backup:

Live Patching is available.

Migration:

You can migrate running VMs by using XenMotion and Storage XenMotion, and move a VMs Virtual Disk Image without any VM downtime. XenMotion enables you to move a running VM from one host to another host, when the VMs disks are on storage shared by both hosts.

Security:

Workload security is enhanced by Direct Inspect APIs, and you can secure a virtual infrastructure against advanced attacks and zero-day vulnerabilities with Hypervisor Introspection.

Key markets:

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops users
  • Data center server consolidation
  • High-performance 3D graphics

“Our organization utilized XenServer to replace VMware. We have consolidated all physical servers to just 3 hypervisors. We currently have 30 VMs running in our infrastructure. We utilize Windows 2016 and 2012 R2 along with a few instances of Linux. Each department uses an individual server which has improved the speed and delivery of IT services to our staff,” said the IT Director of a non-profit.

Cost:

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops license holders are able to apply those product licenses directly to Citrix Hypervisor infrastructure via the license server; no separate or specific Citrix Hypervisor license is required. Otherwise, $1,149 per CPU socket.

Product

Citrix Hypervisor

Platforms

X86

Scalability

64 VMs per host

Overhead %

5 to 10

Markets

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops users, data center server consolidation , high-performance 3D graphics.

Cost

$1149 per CPU socket, free to users of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Migration

 Move a running VM from one host to another

Key Differentiator

Lower cost, popular among SMB

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