Citrix Unveils Next XenServer Release

XenServer by Citrix

Today at Citrix Synergy, the event where virtualization, networking and cloud computing meet, Citrix Systems, Inc. announced the availability of the latest Citrix XenServer release, which delivers additional features across the product line, enhancing the enterprise-ready, cloud-proven virtualization platform with all the capabilities needed to create and manage a virtual infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of competing products. The new XenServer 5.6 delivers enhanced virtualization management capabilities for both the free XenServer, as well as the more advanced Enterprise and Platinum editions. Citrix also introduced a new low-priced XenServer Advanced Edition, making it easier for enterprise and cloud customers running free XenServer to add more advanced high availability and management capabilities at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.

Citrix surprised many in the server virtualization industry last year when it unveiled an enterprise-ready, cloud-proven version of XenServer available at no cost, setting an entirely new standard for free virtualization with powerful features such as centralized multi-node management, multi-server resource sharing and full live migration. The move was part of a strategy to accelerate the rate of datacenter virtualization, monetizing more advanced virtualization management features only when customers are ready to expand their virtual datacenter deployments. Making the core XenServer product free also allowed Citrix to deliver advanced virtualization management solutions on top of both XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V, the two fastest-growing virtualization platforms, each targeting unique customer segments.

Customer reaction to this move was overwhelmingly positive, with XenServer activated for production use in more than 45,000 enterprise datacenters worldwide to date, including 45 percent of the Fortune 500. Based on analyst estimates and current download and activation numbers, Citrix expects XenServer market share – which more than doubled in 2009 – will increase to 18 percent by the end of 2010. In addition to this growing traction in datacenter and cloud deployments, XenServer has also been selected as the back-end virtual infrastructure for approximately 40 percent of all Citrix XenDesktop VDI implementations.

Key Facts and Highlights
XenServer 5.6 adds multiple new features designed to address the common challenges faced by IT administrators when managing virtual environments, including:

  • The XenServer 5.6 Free edition enhances the existing enterprise features to extend the limits of host memory, CPU, network and operating system support. While the free edition already provides a rich feature set for enterprises to deploy and centrally manage full enterprise-class virtualization on any number of servers with no upfront costs, the enhancements in XenServer 5.6 enable virtualization users to achieve greater server consolidation ratios, flexibility and best-in-class VM density for server, cloud and desktop workloads.
  • The new XenServer 5.6 Advanced edition includes everything in the free edition, as well as dynamic memory control, high availability and a host of advanced reporting and alerting capabilities. The Advanced edition is designed to provide a simple and cost-effective solution for enterprise customers and cloud providers to deliver highly available application services from their virtual infrastructure.
  • New and enhanced capabilities added to XenServer 5.6 Enterprise include automated workload balancing, host power management, advanced storage integration with StorageLink™, live memory snapshots and role based administration. The Enterprise edition has been the primary choice for a majority of XenServer customers because it builds on the enterprise-ready, cloud-proven free edition to enable customers to integrate directly with a wide range of enterprise storage environments. The new XenServer 5.6 Enterprise Edition not only expands StorageLink™ support, but also adds new features to existing storage management capabilities, enabling customers to optimize application performance, reduce power consumption and define detailed access rules and roles for managing virtualization infrastructures.
  • XenServer 5.6 Platinum extends the free, Advanced and Enterprise editions to deliver a suite of IT automation capabilities that help administrators accelerate the delivery of IT services that drive the business. Specifically, XenServer 5.6 adds StorageLink SiteRecovery and a self-service portal extension to Lab Manager. The new SiteRecovery technology provides an automated way to recover from a datacenter outage through a single console that leverages the native capabilities of a customer’s existing storage array. The self-service portal enables employees to quickly access needed IT resources, allowing them to create new environments or use an existing virtual environment, along with on-demand documentation.

Availability and Pricing
XenServer 5.6 will be available on May 28. The new XenServer Advanced Edition is $1,000 per server, or $30 per month for cloud service providers. The Enterprise and Platinum Editions are $2,500 and $5,000 per server, respectively.