I’m just back from the Burton Catalyst conference in San Diego, which featured a superb track on virtualization.  One of the highlights was a talk on the challenges in security resulting from virtualization, by Alessandro Perilli of virtualization.info.  If you haven’t seen him present before, make sure you do.  Unbiased, insightful, technical and superbly articulated.  The Burton team did a great job too, including sessions on storage, licensing, management and other key issues in virtualization. T

oday Hyper-V has finally RTM-ed.  Congratulations to Mike Neil and the Microsoft team on a job well done, and welcome to the world of hypervisor-based virtualization.   With this release comes vindication of a core thesis of the Xen project: that as an OS independent, open source reference standard hypervisor  Xen could transform the architecture of enterprise virtualization through a commitment to fast, free, ubiquitous and compatible virtualization. Microsoft Hyper-V shares a common architectural heritage with Xen , and is thus a welcome addition to the family of products that adopt this approach.  Citrix XenServer guarantees VM compatibility with Hyper-V, and in addition serves a set of use cases that effectively extend the Microsoft platform.  In the near future expect Citrix announcements for its portfolio of value-added products that extend Hyper-V to deliver powerful virtualization enabled solutions to enterprise customers.

Today at the DMTF interoperability bake-off in San Diego we also introduced another component of our virtual infrastructure toolset, Project Kensho.   Kensho showcases our commitment to open standards based virtual infrastructure management using DMTF CIM based interfaces, and will in the not too distant future allow Microsoft System Center VMM to manage XenServer.   It also allows users to quickly and easily export their virtualized workloads to and import them from the new industry standard portable virtual machine format, OVF.   You’ll be hearing much more about Kensho and its features in the near future.

The OVF standard, which I was fortunate to be able to help to develop  offers ISVs and enterprise IT staff a hypervisor-independent portable virtual machine format that packages a complete application workload with its  resource requirements, configuration and customization parameters, licebnsand signatures to facilitate appliance integrity and security checking, as an open standard. Virtualized data center workloads captured in OVF format can be installed and run on any DMTF compliant virtualization platform. OVF also supports software license checking for the enclosed VMs, and allows an installed VM to localize the applications it contains and optimize its performance for a given virtualization environment.At the DMTF interoperability event, we used Project Kensho to create VMs from VMware, Hyper-V & XenServer in the OVF format.  We also used Kensho to import and run OVF virtual appliances on XenServer and Hyper-V.  Kensho will  allow application vendors and IT users to produce virtual appliances once as “golden application templates”, independent of the virtualization platform used to deploy them – and is a clear demonstration of how Citrix will add value to Hyper-V. 

One other cool feature of Kensho is that it can use Citrix Workflow Studio based orchestration to provide an automated, environment for managing the creation of OVF packages and the import and export of OVFs from any DMTF capable virtualization platform.  The reason this is important is that Kensho will therefore directly plug into Microsoft System Center, with Power Shell bindings, and also that the workflows themselves can be customized to our partners’ and customers’ environments using WFS, to include additional policies, processes and interfaces.  A technical preview of Project Kensho will be available for download in Q3.