Data Centre


Citrix endorses tool that lets vSphere manage XenServer

In Citrix's world, you'd do this to leave vSphere. In the real world? This is silo-saving

By Simon Sharwood


Citrix has endorsed a third-party product that lets you manage its XenServer virtualization stack with VMware's vCenter Server.

Citrix's argument for doing so is to keep the management tools you like, but move to a better hypervisor.

Cute argument, Citrix. Shame it's fanciful.

Here's why.

Citrix decided to stop competing in the mainstream server virtualization market years ago and also sold off its cloud platform. But it keeps XenServer alive, arguing that it's the best environment in which to run its XenDesktop and XenApp products and gives buyers of those products an entitlement to the server. XenServer can do that job, but it couldn't crack the “leaders” quadrant of Gartner's last two Magic Quadrants for x86 Server Virtualization. Moving to the hypervisor is not inconceivable for mainstream workloads, but would deny users access to a few years worth of data centre and hybrid cloud innovation.

Speaking of those magic quadrants, Gartner's Michael Warrilow recently told The Register that vSphere customers are happy and he sees precious few migrations away from it. Even VMware is surprised by how well vSphere is going: in early 2016 the company predicted the product would decline, but it kept beating sales estimates and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger recently told The Register revenue is now expected to be flat for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, the product that lets users manage XenServer with vCenter is Hotlink Software's Hybrid Express. Hotlink is a fine vendor, but not quite a titan on which to build an enterprise strategy. Hybrid Express is also yet another piece of software in your stack and adding more layers is not best practice.

The Register's virtualization desk can't help but admire Citrix's cheekiness, but suspects that its fulsome praise for Hybrid Express masks a reality that XenServer is often a silo these days.

The post suggesting the deal does, however, mention new XenServer customer wins, albeit without any suggestion they've adopted it for workloads other than Citrix products.

Yet if those new customers have only bought it to run XenDesktop and XenApp, that's a win for Citrix, too, because VMware has products that compete directly with both. ®

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