Citrix Customers Applaud XenSource Acquisition

Citrix users say the purchase makes sense, but aren't rushing to use XenSource's virtualization products.

To Citrix customer Christopher Boone, Citrix Systems decision to buy virtualization provider XenSource makes sense, given the rapid growth in the increasingly competitive space.

However, like other Citrix customers interviewed Aug. 15 after the deal was announced, that doesnt mean Boone will use XenSource technology for his virtualization needs.

"We prefer more freeware and open source," said Boone, CEO of AppCentral Technologies, in San Francisco. "We had considered XenSource in the past, but we have a partnership with Microsoft and use their [free virtualization technology]."

Citrix, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced plans Aug. 15 to buy XenSource for $500 million in a deal expected to close in the fourth quarter. XenSource, of Palo Alto, Calif., was created by the people who helped develop the open-source Xen hypervisor to compete with virtualization leader VMware.

The day before the Citrix-XenSource deal was announced, VMware launched its IPO (initial public offering.)

"I think we will see a lot of consolidation in this space," Boone said. "EMCs acquisition of VMware [in 2004] and now the IPO and its performance [are] indicative of the markets appetite for this kind of technology."

But while Boone called the integration of the Xen hypervisor into Citrixs server-based products, such as Presentation Server, a "very logical step," he said he is not interested in implementing XenSource technology.

Citrix customer Parsram Rajaram, IT manager for the city of Winter Park, Fla., is also considering the free Microsoft virtualization technology as a lower-cost alternative to VMware and XenSource.

"I work in government," said Rajaram, who said he had not heard of XenSource before the Aug. 15 announcement. "Our hands are tied [when it comes to] budgets. We have to use what we have or find free [technology]."


Click here to read more about XenSources enterprise virtualization tools.

As VMware has a firm lock on the emerging market for server virtualization, Citrix will have to prove it can do better if it is to unseat VMware even within its own customer base.

However, that may not be a difficult challenge from the point of view of Citrix Presentation Server customers such as those at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

"We havent been very successful with deployments of Presentation Server and VMware," said Mike Prewitt, team lead in the server team in the Windows & Network Infrastructure Group at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, in Chattanooga. "They havent given us the numbers we can get for what it costs [to buy] blade servers with multicore [processors]. As they tune a product [with which] we could start seeing better return, it would be interesting."

Prewitt said he is heartened to see Citrixs continue investment in new technologies that bolster its core Presentation Server offering and continued stability as a stand-alone company.

"There is other competition now that can take away from the market share of their core product. This lets us know they are still trying to support the company, so we wont walk in one day and see them declare bankruptcy," he said.


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