Virtualization Technology News and Information
Citrix Upgrades Server Virtualization Product Lines for Both XenServer and Hyper-V
Today at Citrix Synergy, the event where virtualization, networking and application delivery meet, Citrix Systems, Inc. announced a significant new upgrade to Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, the recently announced product line that adds advanced virtualization management capabilities to two of the industry’s fastest growing virtualization platforms. The new 5.5 version of Citrix Essentials helps customers of both of these high-growth platforms achieve more manageable, scalable and agile datacenters by providing open technologies that leverage their existing investments in the most efficient way possible. Citrix also announced a new 5.5 version of Citrix XenServer that raises the bar once again for free, enterprise-class virtualization, adding a wide range of new features that enable easier management and broader integration with enterprise systems.

“The XenServer 5.5 release is a clear demonstration that we are committed to making the free version of XenServer the best enterprise-class virtualization platform on the market. Server virtualization has been far too expensive and complex in the past, and we’re committed to changing that dynamic forever,” said Peter Levine, senior vice president and general manager, Virtualization Management Division, Citrix Systems. “The new 5.5 version of Citrix Essentials underscores our belief that XenServer and Hyper-V are two of the fastest-growing virtualization platforms in the market, each serving distinct market segments. As we seek to accelerate the rate of virtualization adoption with the free XenServer product, we’re also committed to providing the best advanced virtualization management solutions for both XenServer and Hyper-V. Together, these two releases will continue driving innovation and exciting new capabilities into all of our server virtualization product lines.”

New 5.5 Release of Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V

Citrix Essentials provides advanced virtualization management capabilities for customers using Citrix XenServer or Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 Hyper-V. With more than 75 percent of servers on the market still not virtualized1 and product options increasing rapidly, datacenters in the near future will likely include a far different mix of virtualization platforms supporting a greater diversity of use cases. The 5.5 version of Citrix Essentials enhances both of these high-growth virtualization platforms by adding the following new features:

  • Expanded Storage Integration leverages the groundbreaking StorageLink™ technology in Citrix Essentials to ensure that XenServer and Hyper-V are certified to work seamlessly with virtually every third-party storage infrastructure, array and backup system on the market today. While other virtualization products attempt to replicate storage-related functions in their own proprietary management systems, StorageLink takes a far more open approach that lets XenServer and Hyper-V customers directly leverage all the native power of their existing storage investments at a fraction of the cost. The new 5.5 release also adds the ability to fast clone and provision virtual machines, giving customers a single backup solution that spans physical and virtual resources, and making it easy for third-party providers to deliver unified backup and snapshot capability for both Hyper-V and XenServer environments. More than 20 leading storage vendors have certified or will be certifying their products to work with XenServer and Hyper-V as a result of the new Citrix Essentials 5.5 release (see today’s separate announcement of the new Citrix Ready Open Storage Program).
  • Automated Stage Management further simplifies and streamlines the process of building, testing, sharing and delivering applications on-demand throughout the full application lifecycle, from development labs to production servers. This new capability extends the existing lab management features of Citrix Essentials seamlessly into the realm of staging and production for both XenServer and Hyper-V customers. As a result, administrators can now create customizable workflows that define the staging process for IT pre-production and production deployments, creating multi-machine configurations and migrating between stages with a single mouse click. Because this functionality supports multiple hypervisors, customers can even run development and testing environments on one virtualization platform, and move those applications into staging and production on another platform.
  • Dynamic Workload Balancing of virtual machines across the resource pool takes live motion to the next level for XenServer customers. This powerful new capability extends the XenMotion features available in the free XenServer product by enabling automated, policy-based movement of live virtual machines across physical servers based on preset rules and thresholds. By dynamically migrating virtual machines to the optimal location in the resource pool based on changing demand, performance bottlenecks can be prevented with no manual intervention.

“The open approach Citrix has taken with its Citrix Essentials and XenServer products is a key differentiator that addresses real customer pain points,” said Mark Bowker, analyst, ESG. “Server virtualization is acting as a catalyst for networked storage as companies rapidly deploy virtual machines. Citrix helps customers deal with the common storage provisioning, capacity utilization and storage management problems that can often create hurdles with virtualized server deployments and recognizes that the vast majority of organizations want to accelerate integration and simplify virtualization implementations. Today’s news really demonstrates Citrix is dedicated to continuing to add significant value to both the free XenServer as well as the advanced management solutions on top of it.”

New 5.5 Release of XenServer Raises the Bar on Free Virtualization

Citrix changed the game in virtualization last quarter with a groundbreaking new release of XenServer that made enterprise-class virtualization free of charge to anyone. This move set an entirely new standard for free virtualization by including powerful features like centralized multi-node management, multi-server resource sharing and full live motion – functionality that typically costs up to $5,000 per server with other leading virtualization products. With the new XenServer 5.5 release, Citrix is raising the bar once again, adding a wide range of new features to the free XenServer product that enable easier virtualization management and broader integration with enterprise systems. New features include:

  • Consolidated Backup allows third-party backup vendors to interface directly with XenServer to provide full and incremental, in-guest, file and image backups of virtual machines. The new consolidated backup capabilities in XenServer also provide customers with the ability to execute full GUI-based snapshots directly from the XenCenter central management console.
  • Enhanced Conversion Tools make it easy to convert virtual machines created in the VMDK format (commonly used by VMware) into the VHD format (commonly used by Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V). The new XenConvert tools also make it easy to seamlessly convert between any of the common open virtualization format packages, including OVF (open virtualization format), OVA (open virtual appliance) and XVA (XenServer virtual appliance).
  • Enhanced Search enables customers to view and manage XenServer environments by a range of criteria including VM name, resource pool, location, server, storage repository, snapshot time, and network name – all from a single location. It also provides the ability to create custom views or folders.
  • Active Directory Integration makes it easy for customers to use their ADcredentials to mange XenServer hosts as well as log and audit user activity.
  • Expanded Guest Support adds SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, Debian 5.0 and RedHat/CentOS/Oracle 5.3 to a growing list of supported guests that includes virtually every version of the Windows and Linux operating systems.

The new XenServer 5.5 release is available for download from more than 250 websites in over 50 countries worldwide (see a list of websites in the March 30 press release). With the new pricing strategy, production activations of XenServer are on pace to increase more than tenfold over last year, making XenServer one of the fastest growing virtualization platforms in the market today.

Pricing and Availability

The new 5.5 version of Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V is available immediately. Suggested pricing starts at $2,500 per server, regardless of the number of processors. A 30-day trial version of Citrix Essentials is available at The new 5.5 version of Citrix XenServer is also available today and can be downloaded for free production deployment from sites around the world, including

Published Wednesday, May 06, 2009 12:24 PM by David Marshall
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