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XenServer 4.1 Coming in March

Citrix XenServer 4.1, the first upgrade to its Xen-based hypervisor since Citrix bought the open source company last year, is scheduled for release next month.

The Citrix press release claims that more than 50 enhancements have been made in the upgrade from 4.0 to 4.1. Among the changes Citrix touts most highly are improvements for XenApp, its application virtualization product, and integration with NetApp's Data ONTAP storage devices. In addition, XenServer 4.1 will support 64-bit Linux guests. Most other changes appear to be plumbing related, including NIC bonding and 10Gb/s networking capabilities.

Citrix also announced the availability of XenServer Platinum Edition, expected sometime in Q2. The company gave few details of Platinum's advantages, other than vague promises about "powerful new capabilities that dynamically provision both virtual and physical servers." It appears that it will be the most enterprise-ready of the XenServer line, and will come with the heftiest price tag: for a standard 2 CPU socket system, Platinum Edition starts at $5,000; the Enterprise Edition starts at $3,000, and $900 for Standard Edition. Annual license deals can shave some of that price, and the Express Edition continues to be free.

This is a very important release for Citrix, much more important than your standard point upgrade. It's Citrix' first release of XenServer since the XenSource acquisition; and it's no longer free. The Xen hypervisor is still free, and can be downloaded from the Xen site, which is now owned by Citrix. Despite that, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton, in a recent interview with yours truly and some other editors from 1105 Media, took pains to emphasize that Xen is still independent, and run by the open source community rather than Citrix. Here's a quote from Templeton from that interview, when asked whether complaints about the buyout of XenSource being a betrayal of open source ideals are legitimate:

"No, I think it's not. All complaints are legitimate, but it's a question of what the facts are. The facts here really straightforward. Everything that was free before the acquisition, specifically the Xen open source hypervisor, and now what we have rebranded as the Xen Server Express, they are still free. And by the way, they are better than they were before. So, they're still free and they're better. Anyone who had some angst around the open source project and the notion of quality and, you know, being free, should just go back to the Web site and download either on the open source project Web site the hypervisor there and what's free from the open source community."

A full transcript of Templeton's fascinating interview will be available on the Web site here when the story appears, and a truncated version will be in our first print issue, expected near the end of March.

Posted by Keith Ward on 02/11/2008 at 12:48 PM


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