Citrix takes the battle to VMware with launch of XenServer 6.1

XenServer gets enhanced integration with Apache CloudStack along with other cloud-centric features

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According to Tim Mackey, XenServer evangelist at Citrix Systems, "This same philosophy was used for the network security and performance improvements which include everything from LACP 802.3ad, 4 NIC bonds, and IPv6 guest support all the way down to switch-port locking to prevent MAC and IP spoofing."

Mackey added that Citrix even went so far as looking at the amount of time it took to create a large number of VLANs, and improved upon that by a few orders of magnitude.

Finally, XenServer 6.1 adds another important feature for the growing use of XenServer in both the virtualized data center and the cloud: a relatively simple tool called Conversion Manager that automates a batch conversion of VMware virtual machines into XenServer virtual machines. This is another check box on the features parity list, as both Microsoft and VMware already provide a similar tool.

According to Citrix, this tool is for companies looking to maximize cost and performance. It enables customers to ensure they are using the best virtualization platform for their chosen applications in the data center and in the cloud.

"Despite the various pricing changes VMware has made, the reality is that VMware focused attention on the cost of its virtual infrastructure and companies are looking at ways to contain the cost of leveraging vSphere," said Mackey.

He went on to say this really boils down to leveraging vSphere for its strengths and, when vSphere isn't really needed, looking to alternate platform such as XenServer. That's where Conversion Manager comes into play; with it users can easily migrate their existing vSphere virtual machines over to the Citrix XenServer format.

With this latest release Citrix finds itself well positioned as a serious competitor to Microsoft and VMware. Beyond the fight to reach hypervisor features parity, Citrix is well on its way to becoming a key ingredient to moving up the cloud stack. And let's not forget, Citrix still has announcements at the upcoming Synergy 2012 event in Barcelona planned later this month, followed by the first ever Apache CloudStack Collaboration Conference to be held in November. Stay tuned!

XenServer 6.1 is available now. Citrix is offering consumers four product versions to choose from: free (according to Citrix, it has been downloaded more than 1 million times and is powering over 100,000 customer sites), Advanced, Enterprise, and Platinum. The premium editions have a starting price of $1,000 per server. Citrix also includes a management application, XenCenter, with each edition as a bonus.

This article, "Citrix takes the battle to VMware with launch of XenServer 6.1," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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