Citrix Systems is working with Microsoft in the enterprise virtualization market with Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V.
The new product adds advanced management and automation functions to the Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms. The goal is to help customers transform virtualized data centers into "more dynamic delivery centers." The capabilities use all the virtualization buzzwords, like lab automation, dynamic provisioning, work flow orchestration, and storage-system integration.
With three-quarters of servers still not virtualized and customer choices increasing, the virtualization market is still wide open, according to Peter Levine, senior vice president and general manager of the virtualization management division at Citrix.
"We believe XenServer and Hyper-V will be the two fastest-growing virtualization platforms in this space going forward, each appealing broadly to different segments," Levine said. "Citrix is aligning its server-virtualization strategy around adding significant value to these two high-growth platforms, helping customers achieve more manageable, scalable and agile data centers in a way that leverages their existing investments in the most efficient way possible."
A One-Two Punch
Citrix said its new product line is designed to address the growing share of Citrix and Microsoft virtualization environments in corporate data centers. The products also aim to enable easy interaction with servers that have been virtualized with other products.
As data centers become increasingly virtualized, customers need hypervisor-agnostic management solutions that go beyond general virtual machine administration, said Chris Wolf, a senior analyst at Burton Group. That includes automating and streamlining virtualization throughout the application life cycle, delivering workloads across a mix of physical and virtual machines, and simplifying integration with storage systems.
"Vendors that provide practical, heterogeneous virtualization-management solutions that address not just the virtual infrastructure, but also provide a framework for third-party innovation within and beyond the virtual infrastructure, are best positioned for long-term success," Wolf said.
Is Citrix Hypervisor-Agnostic?
The latest announcement from Citrix is consistent with the way the company has worked with Microsoft in the past, in many cases letting Microsoft sell its Hyper-V as the base platform and offering value-added services. Does that make Citrix somewhat hypervisor-agnostic when it comes to its Microsoft relations?
"Citrix is still fighting to keep XenServer relevant. It's not like the company is phasing out XenServer, but it is clearly sending the message that if you want to install Microsoft Hyper-V as your base-level hypervisor, that's fine and they'd be happy to sell you additional stuff on top of Hyper-V," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminati.
Although Citrix would rather sell its XenServer, working with Microsoft gives the firm a foot in the door. Microsoft shops often will often choose Hyper-V because it offers the lowest-friction option for hypervisor virtualization. As Haff explained it, "Citrix cannot depend on the XenServer footprint to sell services. So it works with Microsoft."
Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V will be available through channel partners on April 7.