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Citrix pushes portable VMs with 'Kensho' launch

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Citrix Systems today is releasing a technical preview of its open-source toolkit that lets virtualized applications run across three major hypervisor platforms.

Dubbed "Project Kensho," the kit uses the the fledgling Open Virtual Format (OVF) for making pre-configured virtual applications that are deployable on Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware ESX hypervisors.

OVF wraps a virtual machine in a standards-based XML package that holds all the necessary installation and configuration parameters. Project Kensho is being released as free open source software under the Lesser General Public License.

Notably absent from the mix is support for Oracle, Red Hat, and Sun virtualization platforms. Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix's virtualization ops, told El Reg that the others are welcome to adopt the format if they're interested.

"Our agenda is simply to push forward OVF as an industry standard portable VM format," he said.

That goes for cloud computing as well. Citrix has also partnered with rPath to push OVF appliances into infrastructure clouds starting with Amazon EC2. Linux- and Windows-based OVF appliances created on XenServer or Hyper-V can be installed and run on Amazon's service.

"To accelerate the use of clouds, you don't want them to be areas where customers think they'll get locked into," said Crosby.

Amazon EC2 presently uses its own VM format, Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), but it has expressed interest in OVF generally, said Crosby. Citrix hopes more use of the OVF standard will prompt Amazon to extend their adoption of the technology, letting folks drop the same packages into the clouds used everywhere else.

The Project Kensho technology preview is available for download here. ®

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