It was with very little fanfare, and is being lost in VMware’s latest attempt at maximizing revenue, but the venerable hypervisor which launched x86 virtualization, VMware ESX, has been put out to pasture.  Sadly, VMware vSphere 5 no longer supports VMware ESX.  This once gold standard of virtual infrastructure was so solid that realistically few even questioned purchasing it.  Yes it’s had its share of challenges over the years, most notably a variety of security and update issues, but for many organizations VMware ESX is the foundation upon which virtualized data centers were built.   In fact, a recent survey showed there are over 25% of you still using ESX.

For those of you still using ESX 4, you should know that your investment is safe until 2014, at which point product support officially ends.  As you would expect, VMware wants you to stay a vSphere customer and has put together some guides to assist with migration.  While they do indicate migration to be fairly painless, as we in IT know, “fairly painless” isn’t quite the same as “seamless” and “smooth”.  Due to the potential for the ESX to ESXi conversion to be destabilizing, if for no other reason than the management differences, you probably owe it to yourself and your organization to take a look at your options out there.  One such option is Citrix XenServer, and you might find that even when you factor in conversion costs, you come out ahead of the game with no loss of either performance or functionality.

For those of you interested in seeing what the true value you can achieve with XenServer is, please follow these easy steps.

  1. Download and install XenServer
  2. Using the XenCenter virtual appliance import tool, import any VMDK disk image
  3. Start the VM and verify that it indeed does what it should

The free XenServer platform is completely free for production deployments of an unlimited number of hosts and VMs, and includes key items such as shared storage, live migration and centralized management.  If you’re using vSphere Essentials, this may be all you need, but for more advanced situations we have you covered as well.  XenServer comes in multiple editions, and is priced per host, not per CPU socket or consumed memory.  vSphere Standard users will find XenServer Advanced features completely familiar, but may be pleasantly surprised to see distributed virtual network management and switching included at no additional cost.  XenServer Enterprise and Platinum are geared towards providing full enterprise functionality and supporting advanced virtualization usages such as disaster recovery and cloud management.

All it takes to try out any of these features is a Premium XenServer trial license.  Get yours for free today, and realize the full potential of cost effective virtualization.  When you’re ready to purchase, we have several options available for your convenience.  XenServer has come a long way since Citrix first acquired it over three years ago, and I’m certain you’ll agree the progress has been impressive.