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Dell, Citrix Play Ball

As Executive Editor Tom Valovic reported earlier today, Dell is the latest vendor to partner with Citrix on an embedded hypervisor. This is interesting on a couple of levels.

First, from Dell's perspective, it's clear that the company is figuring out what its place is in the virtualization universe. Rather than build out entire infrastructures, including its own hypervisor, like IBM, HP and Sun are doing, it is relying heavily on third-party support. This certainly saves on R&D, and makes the virtualization ISVs happy. And the savings help keep its prices very competitive.

Until recently, I had a hard time getting my arms around what Dell's virtualization strategy actually was. That's no longer the case. If you want to know more about what Dell's doing, make sure you check out the cover story in our May/June print issue -- Editor-in-Chief Doug Barney does a compare/contrast of all four major hardware OEMs and gives you the lowdown on the landscape.

From Citrix' point of view, it's gotten another OEM (following on the heels of HP) to stock its embedded hypervisor. What's cool about it is that it's tuned for Dell servers, the way the HP Select Edition is tuned for HP servers -- it's not "one size fits all." That makes a lot of sense to me; you want to take advantage of each manufacturer's strengths, and help your product excel on that particular machine. I would expect to see similar announcements coming in the future for IBM and Sun as well.

We've also learned about Dell's pricing for both embedded hypervisors, and it's not what many pundits in the industry thought. ESXi on Dell will start at $99, and XenServer 4.1 starts at $299 (according to the check I just did of Dell's Website. See the accompanying graphic, which was for a PowerEdge R805.)

Dell pricing for embedded hypervisors

Much speculation was that ESXi would be free. Note that it's $500 direct from VMware; so it's a lot less, but still not free.

I was also suprised to see that XenServer was three times the price, since Cixtrix never misses an opportunity to point out how much cheaper its virtualization products are than VMware. For enterprises, that may or may not make a difference. I'd bet that for SMB's, it just might. Would it make a difference for you? As always, let me know.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/07/2008 at 12:48 PM


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