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Citrix, Free Software and Virtualization

For virtualization administrators, there are a lot of free things out there today. But how much you can do with all of this free stuff becomes harder to see. Citrix takes a different approach, however. I have long thought that the Citrix virtualization offering for virtualizing server infrastructures with XenServer has been the best free offering among free ones from Microsoft, VMware and Citrix. I'll go out on a limb and say XenServer is easier to set up than Hyper-V; you can flame me later on that.

The free stuff topic is one of the most passionate topics I deal with as a blogger and in my community interaction. All the time I receive e-mails and talk with administrators who want to get started with virtualization (I volunteered free help!), yet don't have the resources like other organizations. Inquiries frequently come from non-profit, educational or government installations that are very small and are run by people who have to balance everything on their own. In these situations where I volunteer help, the question usually ends up to be, which free product do I end up using?

When it comes to a server virtualization offering for most datacenter consolidation offerings, I usually end up recommending Hyper-V or XenServer simply out of the features offered. VMware isn't even in the conversation other than me saying, "I really know how to do it this way, but you can get a lot more out of the free offering from either of these two."

Citrix continues this trend with the release candidate of XenClient. The XenClient Express product is a type 1 client hypervisor for laptops. It was released in May and the second release candidate will be out later in 2010.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Simon Crosby on the Virtumania podcast, episode 23. Simon gave a great overview of some XenClient use cases as well as how each use case can roll in a number of different technologies. Simon also shed some light on the frequently confusing Microsoft relationship with Citrix. Their relationship has been unique for over a decade, and I've settled on calling it "co-opetition" between the two software giants.

What is clear is that Citrix is still a player in the virtualization space. Whether it be new innovations such as XenClient, a strong XenServer offering, or the robust display protocol HDX; Citrix will drop in solutions across the stack. For me, it means I get some lab time with XenClient.

Have you tinkered or read about XenClient? If so, share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 08/17/2010 at 12:47 PM


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