Sometimes it really does pay to step back, breath deep and take in the landscape surrounding you. It’s during those introspective moments that connections just seem to come a little easier.  My guess is we simply need to have the space to let pieces fall into place. I recently had that experience when I saw this.

As I read through the announcement, it occurred to me that I have been seeing a lot of similar announcements over the last few months and, while having IBM certify XenServer on System x and BladeCenter servers is huge, the announcement itself is just the latest in a steady stream of technology leaders and innovators who have chosen to invest in XenServer.

Who, specifically, am I talking about?

The ball got rolling with cloud service providers like SoftLayer and Rackspace. SoftLayer announced and has built out its cloud on XenServer and Rackspace --one of the largest cloud vendors in the world – announced that it would standardize its next-generation cloud on XenServer. This was followed by SAP’s certification of XenServer as its preferred virtualization platform, and quickly followed by EMC which verified its CLARiiON products for XenServer through the Citrix Ready® Open Storage partner program.

Also in late 2010 we had innovative companies like PhD Virtual and SEP certify their back up, data protection and disaster recovery solutions were integrated with XenServer.

More recently, Extreme Networks announced that it had certified XenServer with XNV and Cisco has included XenServer in its latest interoperability matrix (release 1.4). And, of course, in January we announced an even closer collaboration with Amazon as the two companies work to help customers to seamlessly migrate workloads between enterprise datacenters and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

Why all the love?

In a word, demand.  These partners do not lightly take on the responsibility of certifying another platform. Nor do they do so out of some altruistic desire to foster greater competition in a market.  No – quite simply, these vendors are responding to what they see as an opportunity to go deeper with existing customers or add new customers. And as organizations the world over virtualize their server and desktop workloads (on premise and off) on XenServer, the opportunity is clearly there for those that want to take it.

How big is this opportunity?

In 2010 customers deployed over 4 million new VMs with XenServer.  This includes VMs to support server and desktop virtualization projects as well as workloads living in the cloud.  And the adoption is broad based. Workloads are being virtualized in China and Brazil, the U.S. and Europe, and they happened at the smallest of startups and the largest of organizations including government, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and education. 

In 2011, that number will grow by 50 percent.  Clearly, with that kind of broad-based adoption and growth, certifying with XenServer becomes a clear and obvious business decision. 

So, the only question that remains…who will be next?