With the NHL and NBA championships nicely behind us, it’s time for a new champion to be announced, and for some it’s going to come as a bit of a shock.  The folks over at Info-Tech Research Group have just announced their 2011 Vendor Landscape, and Citrix XenServer is now squarely placed in the Champions quadrant alongside long time rival VMware.  For those of us on the XenServer team, this has been a long road; a road which started with the July 2009 announcement by The Burton Group that Citrix XenServer 5.5 met the requirements of an Enterprise Ready Virtualization Platform.  At the time there were both open questions and doubts. 

  • Isn’t memory over commit a requirement?
  • Enterprises need automated workload placement and rebalancing!
  • XenServer can’t scale to large datacenter requirements!

The thing is, there are always skeptics and oddly enough, assuming they’re right to start with, they’re usually not right for long.  Yes, it was true that XenServer 5.5 lacked memory overcommit and automated workload rebalancing, and it was also true that those items weren’t required criteria for The Burton Group’s definition.  Rather than point fingers, we decided to take the concerns to heart and those problems were nicely solved in June 2010 with XenServer 5.6.  In XenServer 5.6, we introduced Dynamic Memory Control and enhanced Workload Balancing to not only provide automated workload rebalancing, but went a step further and included Host Power Management as well.   Of course there will always be those who complain about performance and scale; but I submit this thought for consideration.  Would customers like Rackspace, XENIUM, Zynga, SK Telecom and Unify Mobile adopt XenServer as a platform if it couldn’t scale?  Would long term customers like Tesco and Bechtel continue to leverage XenServer for mission critical deployments if it didn’t perform well?

The thing about being a champion is that it’s not only about execution and integrity, but also leadership.  For years XenServer has been known for providing the best overall virtualization value, and not focusing on niche features. Over the past six months we’ve taken the leadership role extremely seriously, and you’ll see more from us over the coming years.  Capabilities like our OpenFlow enabled virtual network switch which provides network transparency into virtual networks, and IntelliCache which recognizes that VDI deployments can’t succeed at scale without a better storage model are just the beginning.  While it wouldn’t be prudent for me to tip our hand, suffice it to say “interesting things are afoot”.

So whether you’re among the legions of organizations adopting XenServer each and every day, a long time user of Free XenServer, or trusting your mission critical applications to a premium XenServer edition; I say “Thank you”.  Most importantly I thank everyone on the XenServer team who without your dedication to product integrity we wouldn’t be here today.  And for those of you sitting on the sidelines, I invite you try out XenServer in your environment.  I’m not saying to convert you’re environment over to XenServer, but please give us a shot.  You might just find we can do everything you need, and free up some resources in the bargain.