Last week, Citrix joined other industry leaders (Google, Cisco, Intel, Verizon) to create a collaborative open source project under the Linux Foundation to drive the future development of the Xen virtualization technology now named Xen Project. This is a significant development for the open source community at large, and was premiere news at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Conference earlier this month. The acceptance of into the Linux Foundation is also a testament to the dedication Citrix has put behind the Xen technology since acquiring XenSource in 2007.

Why make the move?
As we’ve moved into the Cloud Era, Citrix has found itself in the enviable position of having been the caretaker of the most successful hypervisor in the cloud. With Xen and XenServer now powering the majority of public cloud revenue in the world and growing interest as part of trend to low-power ARM processors, interest in Xen has been growingly rapidly.  This rapid project growth led the Xen project contributors to determine that the project and sub-projects would be better managed by a governing body like the Linux Foundation to provide the project a trusted, neutrally governed vehicle that can continue to drive its success.

The Linux Foundation is the natural home for this project as it is already home to a huge amount of industry collaboration and value creation, most notably with Linux but even more recently with OpenDaylight for the acceleration of SDN and the New York Stock Exchange led high performance Middleware Agnostic Messaging OpenMAMA project. Right out of the gate, big names have pledged their support to the new Xen Project. From mega clouds like Amazon Web Services, Terremark and Google, to leading advanced processor companies like Intel, AMD, and ARM/Calxeda, to virtualization platform providers such as Citrix and Oracle.

What does this mean for Citrix?
Xen provides the core hypervisor functionality for the XenServer virtualization platform which is a recognized industry leading solution used in datacenters around the globe. XenServer also provides the core platform technology for Citrix products like XenDesktop, NetScaler and CloudPlatform, which are powering thousands of clouds and thousands of datacenters today. With the creation of the new Xen Project and the guidance of the Linux Foundation, XenServer will now benefit from the development of other industry leaders along with informed input of the most demanding virtualization users on the planet.   Advancing the development of the underlying Xen hypervisor through better industry-wide collaboration strengthens our ability to ensure that XenServer will be a strong product and platform for future innovations as well.

This is an exciting time in the virtualization space where new opportunities and use cases are rewriting the rules for how a hypervisor should function and interoperate with datacenter infrastructure. Having an all-star cast of partners to work with on the newly dubbed Xen Project should provide all of the project supporters with powerful innovations that will shape the future of many of their respective open source and commercial efforts.  I for one am very excited about the impact this will have on Citrix XenServer and our users should be as well.

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