New Citrix XenServer Release Makes Enterprise-Class, Cloud-Proven Virtualization Free for Everyone

Information Technology Press Releases Wednesday April 22, 2009 11:41
Bangkok--22 Apr--PC & Associates Consulting

Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), the global leader in application delivery infrastructure, unveiled a groundbreaking new version of Citrix® XenServer™ – the company’s enterprise-class, cloud-proven virtualization platform – that will be offered free of charge to any user for unlimited production deployment. While basic hypervisors have been free for years, most have had limited practical use in real world environments. With this new release, XenServer sets an entirely new standard for free virtualization with the addition of powerful new features like centralized multi-node management, multi-server resource sharing and full live motion. Dramatically lowering the entry price of virtualization also helps address today’s challenging economic climate by making enterprise-class virtualization far more accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of budget.

Now in production in more than 5,000 enterprise datacenters worldwide, XenServer is a key component of the Citrix Delivery Center™ product family, a comprehensive datacenter-to-desktop system that helps customers transform static datacenters into dynamic “delivery centers.” XenServer is powered by the same Xen® virtualization engine that runs most every independent cloud today, including the largest single virtualization deployment in the world. With more than 75 percent of corporate servers worldwide still not virtualized1, today’s announcement helps accelerate the adoption of virtualization by bringing the simplicity, scale and economics of the cloud to enterprise datacenter for the first time ever.

“Free hypervisors with limited functionality have been around for a long time. We see this move as substantially different because it offers a competitive, enterprise-ready virtual infrastructure platform with full centralized management, live motion and support for unlimited virtual machines and servers – with no strings attached,” said Mark Bowker, analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “This is a very positive move that has the potential to accelerate the adoption of virtualization for enterprise customers of all sizes and make it easier for external cloud providers to add full Windows support to their existing Linux offerings. Anyone who dismissed XenServer in the past as a legitimate player in enterprise virtualization clearly owes it to themselves to take a look at this offering.”

For instance, SAP AG will be virtualizing an estimated 500 servers with Citrix® XenServer™ by the middle of 2009. SAP has also deployed Citrix® XenApp™ application virtualization technology to deliver applications to both SAP employees and external partners. In addition, SAP expects to receive the benefits that a combined XenServer and XenApp solution provides – such as streaming standardized workload images and superior management functionality – which the company anticipates will generate a 35 percent savings in terminal server costs. SAP has also deployed Citrix XenApp application virtualization technology to deliver more than 40 applications, including Microsoft Office and the SAP Business Suite software, to its entire user base. In total, there are more than 50,000 end users who access the XenApp infrastructure to work on tasks such as product development and support.

“We were impressed by the performance benefits that the Citrix server and application virtualization solutions provided,” said Dietmar Bruder, vice president, SAP IT Infrastructure Services. “Our goal in implementing Citrix XenServer is to not only reduce the costs of our server infrastructure, but to also significantly lower its carbon footprint. By leveraging Citrix virtualization technology we believe that in the future we will be able to cut SAP’s carbon emissions by up to 600 tons annually in addition to the immediate savings on hardware.”

Tesco (LSE: TSCO), Britain’s leading supermarket chain, has announced pioneering updates to its mission-critical Real Time Sales (RTS) systems, virtualizing key business applications with Citrix® XenServer™ running on HP ProLiant BL680c G5 blade servers. Tesco has increased its RTS capacity by 75 percent, handling 1,500 sales-related messages per second – catering to the critical nature of the RTS systems and creating room for growth. Tesco began investigating virtualization as an alternative to adding more physical servers to handle its growing capacity demands as well as fulfilling its community commitment to reduce carbon emission levels. While adding physical servers would require an increase in power and cooling, virtualization has better equipped Tesco to hit its target of reducing carbon emissions from its UK datacenters by 20 percent.

“After conducting a major evaluation of virtualization providers, we went with Citrix based on the strength of the Xen® technology, the ability XenServer has to provide high levels of performance for heavy duty 64-bit applications, its licensing model and its UK-based engineering team – decisions that have already paid off for us,” said Nick Folkes, IT director at Tesco. “The virtualized RTS environment uses less than half of the energy of the physical bare metal equivalents, which supports our CO2 targets and means we have already saved a significant amount on our electricity bills. We’re running far more efficiently and the ongoing management of the environment is much simpler. While our primary goal in working with Citrix and HP was to create a more flexible IT infrastructure, the consolidation benefits are significant.”

Enterprise-Class, Cloud-Proven Virtualization

The new Citrix XenServer release provides customers with a robust, scalable, feature-rich virtualization platform that is exceptionally powerful, yet incredibly easy to learn and use. Core features of XenServer include the following:

· Powerful Centralized Management enables full multi-node management for an unlimited number of servers and virtual machines; includes easy physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual conversion tools, centralized configuration management and a resilient distributed management architecture

· Live Motion and Multi-Server Resource Sharing incorporates powerful XenMotion™ technology that allows virtual machines to be moved from server to server without service interruption for zero downtime; also includes optimal initial virtual machine placement and intelligent maintenance mode

· Proven Hypervisor Engine powered by the 64-bit industry standard Xen open source hypervisor developed jointly by more than 50 leading technology vendors, enabling users take full advantage of the latest performance, security and scalability enhancements in next-generation servers, operating systems and microprocessors

· Fast Bare Metal Performance supports an unlimited number of servers and virtual machines with industry-leading consolidation ratios, near native performance on the most challenging application workloads, and virtually zero overhead in both Microsoft Windows® and Linux environments

· Easy Setup and Administration features familiar interface with easy wizard-driven configuration, intuitive Web 2.0 style search, and built-in auto-help that makes the learning curve for new administrators a snap

· Integrated Storage Management that supports any existing storage system; includes built-in storage management features such as host-based logical volume management, and dynamic multi-pathing capabilities

“This move is all about accelerating the adoption of virtualization by tearing down the barriers of cost and complexity that have been in place for far too long,” said Yaj Malik, Area Vice President, ASEAN, Citrix Systems . “The faster we can help customers virtualize the millions of servers that remain unvirtualized today, the sooner they can start adding significant value on top, transforming static datacenters into dynamic delivery centers where every application, desktop and server workload is delivered as an on-demand service.”

Good for All Types of Customers

With the new free XenServer release, corporate customers now have everything they need to deploy and centrally manage full enterprise-class virtualization on any number of servers with no upfront costs – especially significant during difficult economic times. As a result, customers who are new to virtualization can now begin realizing all of its efficiencies and cost savings sooner, upgrading to more advanced virtualization management features when and if they need them down the road. Customers who have already made an investment in more expensive virtualization platforms in the past, now have a proven enterprise-class alternative to consider when it comes time to upgrade or expand their existing deployments.

The new free XenServer release is also great news for cloud providers, the vast majority of whom use the open source Xen hypervisor today as a core component of their platforms. By upgrading to the full XenServer product, these cloud vendors not only gain a far richer virtual infrastructure platform at no cost, they also get instant native support for Windows guests in addition to the Linux guests they offer today. This will also make it easier for Linux OS vendors who currently include Xen in their products to move to the full XenServer, giving their customers far more value and focusing their development efforts on adding differentiated services on top of the virtualization platform.

“The Xen virtualization engine has been a key component of SoftLayer's cloud computing strategy, providing the performance scalability and track record we have needed to achieve our vision of using virtualization to transform the datacenter,” said Nathan Day, CTO, SoftLayer. “With this move today by Citrix, we can gain even further leverage using the full power of XenServer in our next-generation cloud computing platform with more efficiency and richer functionality than ever before. XenServer, as part of the Citrix Cloud Center (C3) platform, is really leading the way in the emerging cloud segment by helping its customers and partners navigate the rapidly-evolving technology.”

As a result of this move, XenServer will also now be included as a core feature of Citrix® XenApp™, the company’s flagship application virtualization product line. Adding XenServer as the base platform under XenApp increases flexibility and helps customers consolidate the number of physical servers in production with virtually no overhead. More than one million servers in enterprise datacenters today are running XenApp.

Step up to Advanced Virtualization Management When Ready

Customers who wish to add more advanced virtualization management capabilities in the future will also be able to purchase Citrix Essentials™ for XenServer, a new product line that includes a rich set of capabilities specifically optimized for the XenServer environment These optional features – including lab automation, dynamic provisioning, workflow orchestration, high availability and seamless integration with leading storage systems – will be directly visible from the XenCenter™ console in grayed-out mode, making it easy for XenServer administrators to understand the additional capabilities available to them for additional purchase should their needs change over time. As Citrix adds new enhancements to the Citrix Essentials product line, all active XenServer users will be notified of these new capabilities automatically through their XenCenter management console.

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