The new management feature will be part of Version 4.1 of Citrix XenServer.
Citrix Systems is looking to improve the virtual storage capabilities of
XenServer by teaming up with NetApp to add new management features to the
latest version of the virtualization software.
4.1 of Citrix XenServer, which is being released March 31,
will include a new
feature dubbed Citrix XenServer Adapter for NetApp Data OnTap, which will allow
users to manage storage configuration and provisioning from a single management
This feature, jointly developed by Citrix and NetApp, will allow the
management console to directly interface with the storage array. In this
case, NetApp engineers provided an open API-OnTap-that
the XenServer management console can evoke when there's a need to clone a
virtual machine or take a snapshot of a VM, said Simon Crosby, chief technology
officer of virtualization and management for Citrix.
The new platform is not a Web-based application. The console issues an
instruction directly to the storage array through the API,
which then creates a VM snapshot within the hardware. This way allows for
better performance within the virtual environments, Crosby
"It's a much more efficient architecture, and it also means that
customers do not have to change their storage practices and repurchase all of
their storage infrastructure and backup and HA/DR [high availability/disaster
recovery] procedures specifically because they are virtualizing," Crosby
The feature will allow users more flexibility when it comes to creating and
deploying virtual environments. For example, the feature will help improve the
thin provisioning of VDIs (virtual disk images) as well as improve the
performance of snapshots and clones of VDIs.
Citrix is not the only x86 virtualization vendor beginning to develop new
features that help its products and technology better integrate with storage.
NetApp announced early in March a feature called SnapManager for Virtual
Infrastructure, which allows VMware command lines to automate virtual machine
and storage management processes.
"Virtualization touches everything in the sense that we touch systems
management, hardware, software and the other parts of the software stack,"
Crosby said. "Virtualization is going to change a
lot this year."
One of the biggest changes, Crosby
said, is products from companies such as Citrix and VMware are also getting pushed more and more into the hardware itself,
which will help
distinguish their offerings from Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization product, which
will be an option within Server 2008.