Today, the latest release of XenServer became available for download.  This release, which adds key functionality such as distributed virtual switching, automated VM protection and recovery and a web management console for delegated administration, marks just the latest step in a measured march to deliver customers performance, openness and choice in a virtualization platform. 

As this message percolates, we at Citrix have seen a rapid increase in the number of customer conversations concerning the use and adoption of XenServer.  It recently struck me that others might benefit from exposure to these conversations.

With that in mind, I will be regularly publishing, under the heading “Postcards from a Revolution”, the insights from conversations with customers who want to share their experiences with XenServer.

Some of these posts will call out organizations by name, some will need to remain anonymous for the time being and sometimes I will have to remove the names to protect the innocent. 

Leading Polish Website goes virtual with XenServer

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a XenServer customer – Wojciech Kowasz, who is the chief systems engineer at Xenium.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Xenium (it was my first exposure to the company as well), they are Poland’s leading technology focused Internet publisher.

While the company operates several properties, the largest by far is dobreprogramy - – think of it as the Polish version of CNET. The site reaches over 6 million users monthly and generates over 40 million monthly pages views. Additionally the debreprogramy property averages 20,000 concurrent connections, which drive hundreds of megabits per second of outgoing traffic.

The site – which was first started in 2002 – has experienced explosive growth and as a result Xenium undertook an infrastructure expansion and refresh in early 2009.  Xenium, in preparation for future growth and as a means to respond with more agility, decided to virtualize its web environment.  As part of that effort, Xenium wanted to also virtualize its network routing application using a virtual appliance from Vyatta.

Initially, they started with VMware – using ESXi, but quickly ran into stability and performance issues with Vyatta that caused them to take a fresh look at the marketplace. As Citrix is the only other provider currently supporting Vyatta virtual appliances, and because of the performance and stability of the Vyatta application during the initial tests with XenServer, Xenium decided to make the switch.

Today Xenium hosts its entire web infrastructure as well as collaborative applications such as email on XenServer.  To anyone looking to virtualize a web infrastructure, Xenium recommends using XenServer – not just because of the performance and stability of the platform – but also for the value it provides.  Wojciech specifically cites the manageability  – with tools like XenCenter and XenMotion included in the free version – the ease of integration  – with services like Active Directory easily integrated  – and the simplicity of conversion with tools like XenConvert. 

What’s next for Xenium?  Updating and Upgrading – updating to 5.6 and upgrading to take advantage of some of the value added features, like high availability and dynamic memory, in the premium editions.

 Stay tuned for the next installment – how XenServer is being used today as the foundation for a private cloud serving an institution of over 50,000 users.  In the meantime, don’t forget to get your hands on the latest XenServer release!