Fresh off a long U.S. holiday weekend and what should I stumble across this morning but iXen for the Apple iPad.  It looks like a cool little app that enables customers to perform basic management functions on XenServer installations remotely from their iPad. 

According to Inpirationlabs (I haven’t yet had the chance to try the product), the current version enables the following functions:

- Add remote hosts
- Remove remote hosts
- Store your passwords securely in the keychain
- Activate SSL encryption
- Option to ignore SSL certificate errors
- Show virtual machines on the remote host
- Show the status of the virtual machine (RUNNING, SUSPENDED, HALTED)
- Booting the virtual machine
- Shutdown the virtual machine
- Suspend the virtual machine
- Reset the virtual machine (if the PV – driver or the guest OS aren’t responding)
- Turn off the virtual machine (if no clean shutdown possible). 

Beyond the obvious (a cool new app for XenServer), iXen caught my eye simply because, until it went live, no one here even knew this product was in development!   And while it really isn’t a surprise in the world of the App Store (and existing apps like Citrix Receiver for iPad and GoToMeeting App for iPad) – it does take some adjustment. 

So as I wandered down the hall to mooch an iPad so I could try this out, it occurred to me that not only does it provide another example of the diverse ecosystem that is out there developing products for a large and growing XenServer base but, more broadly, is a great display of what happens when the concept of openness is fully embraced. 

Yes – the openness of XenServer is why cloud providers like Rackspace have chosen to standardize on XenServer. It is also what swayed customers like Tesco and TomTom when looking at alternative solutions. Openness is also a big part of why over 45,000 organizations – and 45 percent of the Fortune 500 – have chosen XenServer. 

But more importantly, openness means organizations avoid lock-in.  It means the platform can be customized for particular needs. It also means that innovators are free to innovate – in any way they see fit.  That freedom to create encourages the organic, grass-roots development of new products like that introduced by Inspirationlabs. It also means that customers can expect to be continually surprised by an ecosystem rich with innovative products for XenServer for a long time to come. 

Openness = Freedom so, to borrow a phrase, let freedom ring! 

Know of other projects like this?  Share them here.