Virtualization shoot-out: Citrix XenServer

Citrix tackles server virtualization with a fast hypervisor and enterprise features, but leaves a few rough edges

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Overall, the Linux concurrent thread tests showed that XenServer has a slight edge over Hyper-V, RHEV, and even VMware vSphere, but by a very small margin. This advantage was more pronounced in the Windows tests, but only when the physical host was not also carrying the weight of other loaded VMs. Running on an otherwise quiescent host, the Windows tests showed significant leads in intercore bandwidth, but with an accompanying increase in latency. This is likely due to the scheduling and core selection methods of the XenServer hypervisor.

Once the same physical host was loaded down with other VMs, several of XenServer's Windows numbers drop significantly, coming in under the results posted by the competition. Other numbers, including the crypto bandwidth tests, were in line with those of VMware. (Like VMware vSphere, XenServer exposes the AES-NI instructions of the Intel Westmere CPUs to the VMs.) When compared to vSphere, the storage numbers were slightly lower. 

Citrix XenServer offers plenty of virtualization bang for no up-front cost whatsoever, and the licensing for the Enterprise edition -- which includes every feature save for the physical host provisioning, site recovery, and lifecycle management options -- is a reasonable $2,500 per physical server. Because there are no restrictions on server type, you can use four-socket servers with the same license.

Read the main article and the other reviews:

This article, "Virtualization shoot-out: Citrix XenServer," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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