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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.