Citrix Announces Free Virtual Server

Citrix announces XenServer 5.5, a free, cloud-based virtualization platform, as well as a community Website and a 5.5 release of Citrix Essentials (not free).

Boston-based virtualization firm Citrix Systems announced the availability of XenServer 5.5, a free cloud-based virtualization platform the company first debuted earlier this year. Citrix says more than 100,000 customers have downloaded XenServer from hundreds of download sites in over 50 countries worldwide.
The latest version now includes features such as consolidated backup, enhanced conversion and search tools, Active Directory integration, and expanded guest support for an encyclopedic range of Windows and Linux operating systems. Citrix says the XenServer provides all the functionality that could cost up to $5,000 per server with other virtual server vendors.
Also available today is the 5.5 release of Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, which provides advanced virtualization management capabilities for clients using Citrix XenServer or Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. Citrix Essentials 5.5 enhances both virtualization platforms by adding expanded storage integration, automated lab and stage management, and dynamic workload balancing. Citrix Essentials 5.5 for XenServer and Hyper-V are also available in a 30-day trial version on Citrix's Website. Suggested pricing for Citrix Essentials starts at $2,500 per server, regardless of the number of processors.
Citrix is, of course, taking great pains to draw focus to the "free" aspect, with Citrix's senior vice president and general manager for virtualization management, Peter Levine, saying that making XenServer free was not a one-time publicity move. "It was an integral part of our strategy to accelerate the rate of virtualization adoption and address the more than 75 percent of servers that still have not been virtualized today," he said. "The XenServer 5.5 release is a clear demonstration that Citrix will continue investing heavily in making XenServer the most compelling open virtualization platform on the market today."
In addition to the availability of the 5.5 product releases, Citrix announced the XenServer Central community Website, a resource for all things concerning XenServer. The XenServer Central Website will feature product and service information, "tips and tricks," access to the Citrix KnowledgeCenter and Web-based support forums. Offers from Citrix Ready partners for free or discounted licenses for complementary products will also be available. The company says XenServer Central will go live on June 19.
"The overwhelming download numbers we have seen in the last two months demonstrate that many customers are not happy with the growing cost and complexity of their existing virtualization solutions," Levine said. "By combining the free XenServer with the advanced management capabilities in Citrix Essentials, customers now have a proven alternative that meets all the requirements for enterprise-class virtualization at a fraction of the cost."