Feeds

Citrix rides virtualization into 2009

Nonexistent machines cut costs

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

You might be thinking that Citrix is bummed out by the Meltdown. Little more than a year ago, it shelled out a whopping $500m for open source hypervisor startup XenSource. But Citrix sees virtualization as just thing a slumping economy needs. As 2009 gets going, however slowly, Citrix is planning on using virtualization as a lever to try to help companies cut costs - while lining its own pockets.

"It is really tough to come up with new ways to save money," explained David Roussain, group vice president of the application virtualization group at Citrix, in an interview. "And typically, IT departments make the wrong move by cutting innovation because this is where they can cut costs quickly and easily. But what they really need to do in 2009 is zero in on infrastructure costs. And with end user expectations on the rise as well, if there was ever a time to accelerate virtualization plans, it is now."

As you might expect, the foundation of the Citrix sales and marketing strategy this year is the XenServer virtual machine hypervisor that is based on the open source Xen project controlled by Citrix. (As much as you can say a vendor controls an open source project, that is). "Xen is free, and virtualizing servers will free up existing capacity to support new workloads," says Roussain.

While many companies are doing a planned upgrade to new hardware to move to virtualized operating systems, not everyone is going to be able to afford that this year. And many companies will be looking to virtualize the servers they have to gain the benefits that virtual environments bring, such as higher server utilization, more flexible infrastructure, and resilience for applications thanks to features such as live migration.

Of course, the latest Xen hypervisor needs a fairly modern chip from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices, with their respective VT or AMD-V hardware-assisted virtualization electronics; VMware's entry VMware Server (which is not a bare-metal hypervisor, but a hypervisor that runs atop Windows or Linux and then hosts these and other operating systems) does not require these features, and neither does its ESX Server bare-metal hypervisor. (However, VMware Server and ESX Server can make use of these features).

While Xen needs these features, the commercially supported and more fully featured versions of XenServer are generally less expensive than the Virtual Infrastructure 3 alternatives from VMware. Either way, companies with slightly old servers (Xeon and Opteron machines that predate VT and AMD-V technology) are facing either a hardware upgrade or a software fee if they want to virtualize, unless they get smart and use virtual private server (VPS) virtualization (which has a single operating system kernel and file system supporting multiple operating system images on a single machine) such as Parallels' Virtuozzo or Sun Microsystems' Solaris containers.

Because this is 2009, Roussain can't help but toss in a reference to cloud computing. He says that Citrix will do the cloud thing through its Citrix Cloud Center (C3) software stack (which includes a tweaked version of XenServer), its Workflow Studio management tools (for orchestrating XenServer VMs on the network), its NetScaler load balancing and caching software, its WANScaler network traffic shaping software, and a bridge to server infrastructure.

As far as Citrix is concerned, cloud computing is just another twist on the kind of host-based computing that the company has made lots of money on since the days of MetaFrame and still makes with Presentation Server (known as XenApp for the past year).

Citrix is, as you might expect, talking to the current commercial cloud computing providers and pitching C3 as an integrated, supported stack that does what they need to do, and what in most cases cloud providers have built by hand. For instance, while Amazon's EC2 cloud is based on a Xen hypervisor, it is the open source version and Amazon has done a lot of work to make it cloud-friendly and easier to manage. But the real money with C3 might not be with the relatively few commercial cloud providers like Amazon, but with internal IT departments who want to do their own clouds.

"We see very high interest in internal clouds," says Roussain. "A lot of people want to build their own cloud-like infrastructure. Customers will want to build their own clouds first and then have a bridge to public clouds. Once these bridges are easy and secure, then the economics is going to make this happen."

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Next page: Counting Clouds

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.