Putting a positive spin on the CEO, CTO and VP Sales swap out at Virtual Iron, incoming CEO Ed Walsh has attempted to position VI on the high ground of virtualization and to muddy the waters around XenSource, Xen and Citrix. In my view he’d do better to do a bit of research before sounding off.

Quoting the article: One of Mr. Walsh’s goals is to clarify the difference between the two Xen-based hypervisors. “The XenSource guys confuse it on purpose,” he says. “When they say ‘Xen was purchased,’ they want the confusion there. Xen, as an open-source project, is still ongoing and independent.”

This is nonsense. There aren’t two Xen based hypervisors – only one: Xen. The Xen project is independent of Citrix, just as it was of XenSource, Red Hat, Novell, Sun and the other vendors that contribute and/or distribute the Xen hypervisor to market. All of us contribute, and all of us benefit from the effort and contributions of others. When the acquisition offer was made to XenSource by Citrix, our first and foremost concern was that Citrix would respect the community and strengthen its processes and the project. I’m delighted to say that they have more than done so.

Virtual Iron ought to visit www.xen.org, where they might learn a thing or two about contributions and the community process. Virtual Iron’s hypervisor is not Xen, and does not benefit from the collaboration, creativity and contribution of the community. Virtual Iron has barely contributed to the Xen community and seems stuck in a limbo of wishing they could call their hypervisor Xen, and wanting to say how much better their hypervisor is than everyon else’s.

It’s time for Virtual Iron to come back to Xen: every vendor that ships the Xen hypervisor is proud to say that they do so – just Xen, and not “better Xen”. I’m proud to say that XenSource has no better hypervisor than anyone else in the community as the building block for our product. The moment we make any improvements, we make them available to the community. That’s a far cry from that of a vendor that takes from open source, forgets to give back, and looks longingly over its shoulder wishing it was at the party.

Mr Walsh, please remember that Virtual Iron is invited to the party. Use the Xen hypervisor. It’s an open source reference hypervisor that quite honestly has all the speeds and feeds you need to deliver a great product, and if your product is not selling, do not turn that failure into that of XenSource or the Xen community. Feel free to take from the community, and in a community spirit, feel free to contribute back. If you use Xen, then feel free to say that your product includes Xen, just like all the other vendors in the community that ship the Xen hypervisor. But do us all a favor and don’t pretend that hypervisor is better than the community’s, or portray Citrix or any other vendor as being more or less than equal to the GPL and the community’s process.