Citrix Kicks XenSource Acquisition into High Gear

Citrix wasted no time in prepping a new version of XenServer, rebranding Presentation Server and creating complementary product bundles. 

Three months after closing its XenSource acquisition, Citrix Systems is seeking to build momentum for its virtualization drive with the launch of a new version of XenServer, new packaging options and a rebranding campaign for its existing products around the Xen moniker.

With its XenServer Version 4.1 release, Citrix is seeking to open up the market to greater virtual machine adoption by focusing on ease-of-use enhancements.

Citrix is also improving the performance of the XenServer software and broadening its storage support by partnering with Network Appliance. Citrix is working with storage partners, including NetApp, to interface directly with intelligent storage arrays to enable cloning.

Citrix also tuned XenServer 4.1, code-named Miami, to optimize its flagship Presentation Server terminal server, which Citrix has renamed XenApp. The new XenApp moniker for Citrix Presentation Server brings greater consistency to Citrix's product names. It takes its place alongside the existing Citrix XenDesktop desktop virtualization and XenServer server virtualization products.

The company will also introduce Workflow Studio during the second quarter of 2008. Citrix has not provided details other than to say that Workflow Studio is intended to tie those three product lines together along with the NetScaler application acceleration products.

Citrix will offer a bundle of XenServer with the provisioning technology acquired with Ardence, allowing customers to centrally deploy server workloads to a virtual or physical server environment. The bundle, XenServer Platinum Edition, will supplement the existing XenServer Standard and Enterprise Editions, which will continue to focus on virtual environments only.

To read an interview with Citrix CEO Mark Templeton discussing the XenSource acquisition, click here.

The integration offered in the Platinum Edition addresses the management headache that comes with VM sprawl, said Brian Madden, independent industry analyst with The Brian Madden Co.

"VMs make it almost too easy to provision a new machine. You have all these virtual servers with all these instances of Windows to manage. As the number of installed instances of Windows Server goes up, then you have the same issue of patching and maintaining those instances you had with separate physical servers. XenServer and Provisioning Server virtualize the disk image as well as the physical server," Madden said. That disk image virtualization reduces the administrative burden of maintaining multiple separate instances of Windows Server.

XenServer Platinum Edition is priced at $5,000 for unlimited provisioning to virtual machines and to three additional physical servers.