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XenServer 5.6 Survives Blogger Tribal Council

Midnight Ride has finally seen the light of day.

In other words--despite many a dubiously blogged word--XenServer 5.6 has been officially introduced. The new and revamped version, which Citrix sees at the heart of its virtualization efforts, continues to be available gratis in the free (fully open source) XenServer edition, but there are also more advanced--and decidedly not free--Enterprise and Platinum editions from which to choose. In addition, Citrix unveiled a "low-priced" XenServer Advanced Edition, which reportedly makes it easier for users running free XenServer to cost-effectively add high availability and management features. In the wake of all this change, you can forget about Essentials for XenServer, which no longer exists; its management functionality has been spread across the new editions.

Citrix lists four primary highlights of XenServer 5.6:

The XenServer 5.6 Free edition enhances the existing enterprise features to extend the limits of host memory, CPU, network and OS support. According to Citrix, "While the free edition already provides a rich feature set for enterprises to deploy and centrally manage full enterprise-class virtualization on any number of servers with no up-front costs, the enhancements in XenServer 5.6 enable virtualization users to achieve greater server consolidation ratios, flexibility and best-in-class VM density for server, cloud and desktop workloads."

The XenServer 5.6 Advanced edition includes everything in the free edition, plus the long-awaited dynamic memory control. It also includes high availability and a host of advanced reporting and alerting capabilities. "The Advanced edition has been designed to provide a simple and cost-effective solution for enterprise customers and cloud providers to deliver highly available application services from their virtual infrastructures," Citrix notes.

New and advanced capabilities added to XenServer 5.6 Enterprise include automated workload balancing, host power management, advanced storage integration with StorageLink, live memory snapshots and role-based administration. "The Enterprise edition has been the primary choice for a majority of XenServer customers because it builds on the enterprise-ready, cloud-proven free edition to enable customers to integrate directly with a wide range of enterprise storage environments. The new XenServer 5.6 enterprise edition not only expands StorageLink support, but also adds new features to existing storage management capabilities, enabling customers to optimize application performance, reduce power consumption and define detailed access rules for managing virtualization infrastructures," Citrix says.

XenServer 5.6 Platinum extends the free, Advanced and Enterprise editions to deliver a suite of IT capabilities that help administrators accelerate the delivery of IT services that drive the business. "Specifically," the company notes, "XenServer 5.6 adds StorageLink SiteRecovery and a self-service portal extension to Lab Manager. The new SiteRecovery provides an automated way to recover from a data center outage through a single console that leverages the native capabilities of a customer’s existing storage array. The self-service portal enables employees to quickly access needed resources, allowing them to create new environments or use an existing virtual environment, along with on-demand documentation."

XenServer 5.6 will be available May 28. XenServer Advanced Edition is $1,000 per server, or $30 per month for cloud service providers. The Enterprise and Platinum Editions are $2,500 and $5,000 per server, respectively.

According to a quote from Al Gillen, Program VP, System Software, IDC, the new free version is an "entryway" for new virtualization customers, while "We are increasingly seeing vendors use a free plus premium offering strategy to build market share for a variety of infrastructure software products. XenServer Enterprise and Platinum editions provide the additional features that virtualization customers will look to as their virtualization deployments expand and mature."

Question: What do you think of the XenServer 5.6 pricing structure?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 05/19/2010 at 12:48 PM


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