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Competition Coming for Virtual Switches

Fresh from the recent Citrix Synergy event, there are mounting mumblings that Citrix will provide a virtual switch for the XenServer and KVM hypervisor platforms. Citrix may be circling around an open source virtual switch, which, like the XenServer hypervisor, has its roots in open source that eventually evolves into a revenue generating product.

Chris Wolf, Virtualization Review's Virtual Advisor columnist, mentions the possibility of a Citrix-backed virtual switch on his personal blog. Wolf is dead-on about why a virtual switch is important, and that the competitive landscape may give Cisco a run for the money.

This comes on the heels of Cisco, which is in the beta phase of their offering with the Nexus 1000V for VMware virtual environments.

It's worth speculating on whether an open source virtual switch could be released as a virtual appliance. If so, could a Citrix-sponsored open source virtual switch be run on VMware's ESX? Imagine an open source virtual switch that could be competitive with Cisco's offering on multiple hypervisor platforms. I still think, though, that Cisco will have an overall edge, simply by offering a tighter integration to existing physical networking infrastructure using Cisco equipment.

Wolf mentions that details for the concept product are not out yet, but we should hear about this soon. Competitively it's a must-do, since many network administrators are excited about the Nexus 1000V. Citrix XenServer environments should be excited about the start of this movement, especially if there is corresponding activity in Xen, where many of the features start out before being folded into the revenue product.

Are you excited about the upcoming virtual switches? Share your comments below or shoot me a message.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 05/19/2009 at 12:47 PM


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