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Xen vs. Citrix Xenserver?

© March 2009 Anthony Lawrence

The news that Citrix is planning to give away their Xen server product has people talking. I think it's very interesting how this announcement was made:

The new free Citrix XenServer release will be available for download from the Citrix website and other download portals by the end of March 2009.

But.. the product page at Citrix says a free version IS available now..

Here's the interesting thing: Citrix Xenserver requires a 64 bit machine AND a Windows box to manage it. You can download the free open source Xen from The University of Cambridge and run it on 32 bit hardware and without a Windows client to manage it. So why should you care about Citrix Xenserver?

OK, Citrix probably has added stuff. Specifically, they've probably added hooks for their Citrix Essentials for XenServer, which is NOT a free product. If you need that, obviously you'd want the Citrix Xen rather than the open source version. They may also have made it easier for non-technical people to deploy - though I have to wonder why non-technical people would be dabbling in virtualization at all!

As a sub page specifically notes that "You can buy support", presumably that might be a reason to choose this over raw Xen.

Aside from the annoying requirement of a Windows management box, is there any other reason not to embrace this? I'd be worried about divergence and lock-in: will Citrix keep up with the Xen project or will they lag behind because of the need to keep their hooks in place? On the other hand, is it possible for Citrix Xen to leap ahead of the Xen project in features?

Assuming you don't need the "Essentials", would you ever consider a corporatized (I can't believe spell-check didn't flag THAT!) version of a product that is freely available as open source?

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-> Xen vs. Citrix Xenserver?


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Wed Mar 25 15:13:49 2009: 5861   anonymous

Classic clueless post.
I'm all for free,open-source etc but this time XenServer IS BETTER in many ways:

- you get a buinch of extra features for free including live relocation (XenMotion), storage options, pooling, central management client (XenCenter) etc
- you get FREE SUPPORT (yes, aside of their forums and emails they also have a phone number to call for FREE)
- it's market-proven, no need to "hack-your-stuff'' university-styled lazyboys love to do (try doing that in a competitive business environment where money and hours count and you get fired in weeks)

In other words it's rather an idiotic question why one WOULD NOT try XenServer instead of Xen.

Wed Mar 25 15:18:42 2009: 5862   anonymous

PS: "Assuming you don't need the "Essentials","

Nice BS there - so in other words you simply asking "if you FORGET all the FREE EXTRA FEATURES of XenServer then would you use it instead of using a Xen?"

Nobody loves Windows and posting a "Why I HATE Windows?" is pathetic enough already but this kind of utterly loser trick, stupid hypocrisy is downright lame, that is.

Wed Mar 25 15:21:55 2009: 5863   TonyLawrence

Ahh - I was wondering why all the anger..

Your second comment explains that. Thanks for your pleasantries.

Mon Aug 23 19:22:38 2010: 8929   anonymous


I believe XenServer can also be administered by commandline interface, which can be accessed via Linux....

Wed Sep 29 15:48:22 2010: 9015   anonymous2


There is nothing Xenserver offers for free that can not be done with Xen. All the APIs are there for live migrations and anything else one could want. One could do these things with either product using command line or something like Convirt.

Also, I have a customer who deploys hardware with two or three VMs running to places where no client connection is allowed. In these instances, it is nice to have a dom0 with X for the people deploying these things to access the Windows guests.


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