ServersVirtually Speaking: Xen, but Not Zen

Virtually Speaking: Xen, but Not Zen

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Amy Newman

Citrix’s acquisition of Xen is complete, and the vendor is ramping up to face the competition.

There’s no denying Xen is now part of Citrix Systems.

On Monday at Citrix iForum, the ISV‘s application delivery conference, the company made a host of announcements. Nothing surprising there, as it was the vendor’s show, after all. Among the voices in the din, however, was the news that the acquisition of XenSource, announced back in August, is now complete. The purchase price for the transaction was approximately $500 million, payable in a combination of cash and Citrix common stock.

Its completion means Xen’s management team gets a whole a lot of money, and Citrix’s management team has a lot of work ahead of it. One of its biggest hurdles is to begin proving the nay sayers wrong.

To that end, one of the announcements to come out of the show is Citrix’s first stab at an end-to-end virtualizationstrategy.

“Now we’ve got an end-to-end solution for delivering applications so an enterprise can deal with one vendor,” Gordon Payne, senior vice president of the delivery systems division at Citrix, said in an interview with InternetNews.

For starters, it added two new product lines with the acquisition. Citrix XenServer, for server virtualization, and Citrix XenDesktop, for desktop virtualization, are now part of its portfolio. Citrix also offers application virtualization via Citrix Presentation Server

The new (for Citrix) Citrix XenServer product line includes all of the three versions of XenServer: the single-server Citrix XenServer Express Edition, Citrix XenServer and Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition (formerly XenEnterprise).

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Citrix is also bringing virtualization to the desktop with Citrix XenDesktop, which is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2008. It will combine a Citrix Desktop Server-based delivery controller, Xen virtualization infrastructure and virtual desktop provisioning to stream a single desktop image on-demand to multiple virtual machines in the data center.

Citrix Presentation Server, which delivers application virtualization, is being positioned as a link of sorts between the two. Citrix Presentation Server stores all Windows applications in a single central store then delivers them to end users on-demand via application virtualization technology. Server-side application virtualization stores apps on the server and virtualizes the presentation layer to end-users, while client-side application virtualization streams applications to the desktop and runs them in a protected virtualization environment at the end point.

Payne described the advantage of this combination of services, “We’ve bundled those things together so the IT organization doesn’t have to go to different vendors to get the different pieces.”

Citrix may be a software company, but without hardware there’s no need for software. On Tuesday, Citrix announced agreements with HP and Dell.

HP will qualify and sell Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition ProLiant and BladeSystem servers.

Dell, too, will offer Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition, but as a stand-alone product or as an easy software license key upgrade from the embedded XenServer OEM Edition. Citrix XenServer will, in turn, support Dell OpenManage. Dell will also test, qualify and support XenServer OEM Edition and XenServer Enterprise.

Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition 4 is available now from HP starting at $1,599 for an annual subscription license per dual-socket server, and a $2,499 perpetual license per dual-socket server. Dell expects to begin shipping servers containing Citrix XenServer OEM Edition in the first quarter of 2008.

All in all, fast work for less than three months of combined efforts, and presumably the first steps toward changing the tune of the cynics.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001.

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