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Citrix the company behind the open source Xen hypervisor announced in August on its Xen.org website a new Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) initiative. The company hopes that the initiative will create a large new community which will help the company in the process of further developing its Xen hypervisor in cloud computing era. The Xen Cloud Platform will accelerate the use of cloud infrastructure for enterprise customers by providing open source virtual infrastructure technology that allows for service providers to deliver secure, customizable, multi-tenant cloud services that work seamlessly with the virtualized application workloads customers are already running in their internal datacenters and private clouds, without locking them into any particular vendor.
"The Xen Cloud Platform raises the bar - going beyond the hypervisor to deliver a complete run-time virtual infrastructure platform product that virtualizes storage, server and network resources," explains Mark Bowker, analyst, ESG. "This announcement aligns the Xen community around a common compatible product, increasing the opportunity for value-added offerings from all ISVs, while promising to run VMs from any hypervisor."
The low cost and rapid development benefits of the open source model, combined with Xen's security, performance and customizability makes the hypervisor a preferred choice for many cloud computing companies. The widespread adoption of Xen in today`s successful commercial cloud offerings led the community to formalize the Xen Cloud Platform to further accelerate this growth in an open, non-proprietary way. This Citrix's initiative enables Open Source contributors and consumers to join forces to build to deliver a complete Xen-based cloud infrastructure product.
"The Xen Project has played a seminal role in enabling the creation and rapid adoption of virtualization," explains Ian Pratt, creator of Xen and founder of Xen.org. "Today Xen is already the most widely used hypervisor in the service provider market and the community will be able to build on this momentum to develop a complete, open source, cloud-optimized Xen virtual infrastructure platform. Our goal is to empower providers to offer a rich set of services that will catalyze cloud adoption by the enterprise in a way that`s open, accessible and non-proprietary."
A key focus of the XCP initiative is to provide technology that permits easy interoperability between internal enterprise "private clouds" and leading external cloud platforms like Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud Servers and GoGrid. The Xen Cloud Platform will accelerate the development of a wide variety of key technologies and standards that address this need in an open, non-proprietary way, including:
- Broad interoperability across disparate virtualization platforms - Through standards such as the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Open Virtualization Format (OVF), virtual appliances will be packaged in a hypervisor-independent format for easy transport between internal and external clouds with no proprietary vendor lock-in.
- Support for new and existing applications - Existing applications currently running in enterprise datacenters will be enabled to run in Xen-based cloud platforms without modification. This flexibility will allow users to choose where each application should run based on business needs rather than limitations of the technology or proprietary requirements of their current virtualization or cloud vendor.
- Federated computing capacity - With federated private and public clouds, the process of moving application workloads between virtual datacenters and disparate cloud service providers will be simplified.
- Standardized virtualization management - Support for DMTF standards will allow complete open management of virtual infrastructures.
- Rich virtual networking capabilities - A powerful open virtual switch will make it easy for cloud providers to add sophisticated network service offerings, including per-tenant network management, intrusion detection, firewalling, routing, and load balancing.
- Cloud-scale virtual storage infrastructures - Advanced storage features required by enterprise workloads will enable virtual machines and their physical storage to be widely separated without disrupting application performance.
Citrix, the producer of paravirtualization technology solution Xen hopes to attract the virtualization industry attention next week when the company is about to release for free XenServer Enterprise Edition. The virtualization software producer however will remove some features from the free software package and move them into Essentials for XenServer, an application positioned in price range $1,500 - $5,000 per server node.
Some features of the former Enterprise Edition which will note be included in the free XenServer edition include Workflow Studio orchestration (used for automating common tasks), and StorageLink. StorageLink is a set of storage integration modules which enable system administrators to provision virtual machine storage directly from the XenServer management console.
Workflow Studio and StorageLink will be added to Essentials for Hyper-V and XenServer.
According to popular media that covers virtualization industry - Virtualization.info at least "three things seem true in the virtualization industry".
The first one according to the media is that it does not matter how many times a vendor repeats that free software doesn’t compete against a feature-rich end-to-end solutions. "It will end up offering a free hypervisor", says Virtualization.info.
Alessandro Perilli, founder of Virtualization.info suggests that "it doesn’t matter how many surprises a vendor can pack for its premier conference, its competitors will do their best to steal the thunder".
The third conclusion of Mr. Perilli is that it "does not matter how many NDAs a vendor puts in place to embargo its most amazing announcement, the news will leak out even before hang up the conference call".
In an article titled "Citrix, Microsoft, and Red Hat or Novell gang up on VMware" Stephen Vaughn-Nichols said that Citrix will announce its free version of XenServer hypervisor during the VMware VMworld Europe 2009 conference.
Citrix is expected to lose some revenue with the release of free XenServer. The company plans to compensate it from increased sales of the Citrix Essentials new management package called. As mentioned above it will be available in 2 editions, which will cost between $1,500 and $5,000 per server. One of them will be for XenServer, the other one for Microsoft Hyper-V.
Industry analysts have already commented that the free version of XenServer will appeal to small and medium-sized businesses, that starting out with virtualization.
HowtoForge website published tutorial that provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Xen 3.3.1 on a Debian Etch (4.0) system.
Xen allows anyone to create guest OS (Unix operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD), so called "virtual machines" or domUs, under a host OS (dom0). With Xen we can separate applications into different VMs which are fully independent from each other while residing on the same physical machine.
The HowtoForge's user "Falko" says that they use Debian Etch system with the hostname server1.example.com and the IP address 192.168.0.100 as the host system (dom0) in the tutorial. They also use Debian Etch for the virtual machines (domU) as well. The user says that the guide explains how to set up image-based virtual machines and LVM-based virtual machines.
Find tutorial here: http://www.howtoforge.com/virtualization-with-xen-3.3.1-on-debian-etch