November 2009 Archives

On March 30, 2009 Citrix opened the floodgates and started offering Citrix XenServer Enterprise for free. However to get some of the enterprise features such as High Availability it is necessary to purchase Citrix Essentials for XenServer. Here is a comparison of enterprise virtualization offerings from Citrix and VMware:

  • Citrix XenServer Enterprise with Citrix Essentials for XenServer Enterprise Edition: $2,750 per server with one year Subscription Advantage.
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise: $2,875 per CPU (up to 6 cores) + VMware vCenter Server Standard: $4,995.

Price Comparison

  • N two-way servers (N > 3): $4,995 + N x $3,000
    • Citrix XenServer Enterprise with Citrix Essentials for XenServer Enterprise Edition: $2,750 x N
    • Citrix XenCenter: $0
    • VMware vSphere Enterprise: $5,750 x N
    • VMware vCenter Server Standard: $4,995
  • N four-way servers (N > 3): $4,995 + N x $8,750
    • Citrix XenServer Enterprise with Citrix Essentials for XenServer Enterprise Edition: $2750 x N
    • Citrix XenCenter: $0
    • VMware vSphere Enterprise: $11,500 x N
    • VMware vCenter Server Standard: $4,995

 

  vmware-vsphere-enterprise-citrix-xenserver-enterprise.pngExamples

  • 5 two-way servers: $4,995 + 5 x $3,000 = $19,995 savings with Citrix XenServer
  • 5 four-way servers: $4,995 + 5 x $8,750 = $48,745 savings with Citrix XenServer
  • 10 two-way servers: $4,995 + 10 x $3,000 = $34,995 savings with Citrix XenServer
  • 10 four-way servers: $4,995 + 10 x $8,750 = $92,495 savings with Citrix XenServer

To take full advantage of VMware vSphere Enterprise six-core licensing limit, it may be worthwhile to consider the following servers with six-core AMD and Intel processors to maximize VM density:

With AMD Opteron 24xx or 84xx Series
  • HP ProLiant BL465c G6, BL495c G6, BL685C G6
  • HP ProLiant DL385 G6, DL585 G6, DL785 G6
  • IBM BladeCenter LS22, LS42
  • IBM System x3755
  • Sun Blade X6240, X6440
  • Sun Fire X4140, X4240, X4440
With Intel Xeon 74xx Series
  • HP ProLiant BL680c G5
  • HP ProLiant DL580 G5
  • IBM System x3850 M2, x3950 M2
  • Sun Blade X6450
  • Sun Fire X4450

Of course software licensing costs are only a component of the total cost of ownership and a number of other factors such as performance and management applications available must be considered when choosing a virtualization platform. This is exactly what solution providers using Lanamark Suite try to accomplish when presenting enterprise customers with side-by-side comparisons across end-to-end virtualization solutions that encompass hardware, software and service components.

On November 10, 2009 Lanamark announced Lanamark Suite 2009 R2. The new release dramatically extends scalability to 50,000 systems and adds support for the latest OS and virtualization platforms, including: Citrix XenServer 5.5, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V, Microsoft Windows 7, VMware vSphere 4.0 and VMware vCenter. Lanamark also introduces aggressive pricing for virtual machines and enhances the Lanamark Storage Design Module to provide deep insight into current and historical usage of local and networked storage resources.

The new release is a culmination of more than nine months of close collaboration with our alliance and channel partners. Many thanks to everyone who helped us push the envelope of innovation and deliver a world-class product.

Read the official press release

Learn more about what's new in Lanamark Suite 2009 R2

On November 3, Red Hat announced general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers. How does the server virtualization offering from Red Hat compare to the one from Oracle?

  Oracle Red Hat
Packaging Oracle VM comes with the Oracle VM Manager management console Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor (REVH) comes with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers management console (REVMS)
Licensing Free to download, use and re-distribute both Oracle VM (GPL) and Oracle VM Manager (private source) Subscription
Pricing / Year (USD) $599 for 24x7 support per server with up to 2 sockets
$1,199 for 24x7 support per server with unlimited sockets
$499 subscription for 12x5 support per socket
$749 subscription for 24x7 support per socket
Hypervisor Xen 3.4 in Oracle VM 2.2 (Xen is also used by Citrix, Novell and other ISVs) KVM (through acquisition of Qumranet)
Supported Operating Systems Microsoft Windows 2000, 2003, 2008, XP, Vista
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x, 4.x and 5.x
Oracle Enterprise Linux 4.x and 5.x
Microsoft Windows 2003, 2008, XP
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x, 4.x and 5.x

As part of the launch, Red Hat did a comparison of its virtualization offering versus ones from Microsoft and VMware. In reality, the closest competitors are actually Citrix and Oracle, especially if Citrix does indeed release Citrix XenServer as open source. This means that both Red Hat and VMware would get squeezed by

  • Oracle VM and Citrix XenServer on the Linux side of server virtualization
  • Microsoft Hyper-V on the Windows side of server virtualization
  • Citrix and Microsoft on the Windows side of desktop virtualization

What's more interesting is that Red Hat pitches its offering for "heterogeneous servers and clouds." With a subscription-based licensing model and without a freely downloadable, re-distributable software, this strategy is going to be rather challenging to execute.

As speculation looms around plans from Citrix to release Citrix XenServer as open source, it's worthwhile to analyze how such a move would impact other leading software vendors in the virtualization space.

On February 23, 2009 Citrix announced that it will give away the full version of Citrix XenServer for free. Since Citrix is not generating any revenue from XenServer, open sourcing it seems like a logical step. But how will such a move impact the marketplace? Why would Citrix spend $500M on XenSource and then make Citrix XenServer open source?

As a Microsoft partner, Citrix understands that it's better to cooperate than to compete with the software giant, particularly in the server virtualization space. By open-sourcing Citrix XenServer, Citrix would:

  1. Expand Citrix XenServer market share and drive additional revenue through virtualization management software such as Citrix Essentials.
  2. Offer enterprises an open-source alternative to Microsoft Hyper-V with feature parity and high degree of interoperability.
  3. Increase community-based support for development and maintenance of Citrix XenServer, rather than funding R&D completely.
  4. Enhance adoption and survivability of Citrix XenServer by getting other software vendors such as Novell and Oracle to support it.

Microsoft

Microsoft benefits the most from this move because there would be an open-source server virtualization alternative that would isolate two other Linux-based virtualization platform vendors: Red Hat and VMware. In other words, Microsoft is squeezing these vendors from one side with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and from the other side with the help of Citrix XenServer.

Novell

As a company that already has good relationships with both Citrix and Microsoft, Novell has an opportunity to provide virtualization management capabilities across these two platforms. It already does this with the PlateSpin family of products. Novell may also do a port of Citrix XenServer to Novell SUSE but this is probably not a trivial effort and would take quite a bit of time.

Oracle

Oracle VM is already based on the Xen hypervisor. Whether Oracle decides to adopt Citrix XenServer depends on whether Oracle wants to give away its intellectual property to the open source community or to build dominance in the server virtualization space on its own. However, given its active participation in the Xen community, support for open source development model and antagonism towards Red Hat, Oracle may just throw its weight behind an open source Citrix XenServer.

In a nutshell Citrix, Microsoft, Novell and Oracle have a lot to gain from an open source Citrix XenServer, while Red Hat and VMware have a lot to lose from such a move. Perhaps Citrix will also rename Citrix XenServer back to XenSource Server?!

Update (November 2, 2009)

According to an interview with Simon Crosby, CTO at Citrix, XenServer will be open-sourced but the following components will not be:

  • Citrix XenCenter
  • Citrix XenConvert
  • Drivers for Microsoft Windows
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