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Citrix Waving the White Flag? XenServer now free – as in ESXi…

February 23, 2009

According to a recent announcement from Citrix, XenServer (without advanced features) is now Free (as in April 2009). The question now? How does XenServer/Free match-up to ESXi/Free and what does it mean for the enterprise customer?

See the community announcement here… and the official press release here…

According to their approach – which reads more like ESXi plus motion – the “free” server still needs a significant investment in “management” products to be “enterprise worthy.” This still means an “enterprise-class” virtualization product WITH live motion technology can be had for the U-build price, but the revenue shifts from “product license” to “management and service license.” Who does that sound like? VMware (ESXi) and RedHat (CentOS).

Since Citrix will retain the intellectual property rights to its closed-source version of Xen, there is no reason to believe a huge number of open source offerings will immediately crop up. It is more likely this is the first salvo in an ever increasing spiral towards Microsoft’s acquisition of Citrix and wholesale incorporation of XenSource into its product line.

Still, the “free” tag line is compelling. Citrix is claiming that for “free” you will get from Citrix and XenSource what you would have to pay $5,000 in licensing to VMware. However, the free version of XenSource will NOT have HA, detailed monitoring or cluster management. You will need their $5,000 “Essentials” license for that…

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