Back in 2005, I was at a start-up company that created some of the foundations behind modern Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  This was the real early days of Cloud Computing — in fact the term wasn’t really in use yet.  It was so early that we built our first IaaS software without a hypervisor at all.  It was all Bare Metal.  However, that had a host of problems — as you can imagine.

Then, we came across this really cool open source project called the Xen project.  We made our software work with it and it solved a huge number of problems for us.  While we eventually sold off that start-up, my relationship with the Xen project didn’t end then.

While I was at Sun, we launched an ambitious plan to combine Xen project code and Solaris to create a powerful virtualization project called xVM.  We built some really cool stuff, but didn’t quite get it to market.  Sun was acquired by Oracle just as we were entering beta, and Oracle already had their own Xen project-based offering.

Which brings me to the next part of the story.  I stayed at Oracle after the Sun acquisition and worked on Oracle’s systems management products.  My team built tools to manage Oracle’s Xen project-based Oracle VM.  We built management tools for Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Cloud, and Oracle’s IaaS solution that shipped as part of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

When I joined Citrix in September last year, it was mostly to work with the team building Citrix CloudPlatform (powered by Apache CloudStack).  That’s been great fun, but starting in January this year I’m also getting to lead Citrix’s team that contributes to the Xen project — Citrix is the largest contributor.  This has been super fun to finally get to work directly with the team that creates this amazing software.  I got to visit the team in Cambridge, UK earlier this year and I’m going back to see them again next month.  I can’t wait.  I love the fact that I’m finally working on the team building this software after nearly a decade of orbiting around it!  Xen project is one of the most important pieces of software in Cloud computing (powering Amazon, Rackspace, Oracle and many other public clouds), so it’s great to be part of it.

The team has been really, really busy the last several months working on some major improvements.  It’s finally 64-bit enabled, and includes dramatic improvements in storage and network performance.  In fact, the team over at the open-source XenServer.org site has just released an Alpha candidate.  You can check it out at this link.  Please do download it, try it out and send the team some feedback!