Citrix XenServer is here to stay

I just want to quickly clarify the editorial I wrote yesterday. Other bloggers have written that I suggested that Citrix XenServer is going away.

I just want to quickly clarify the editorial I wrote yesterday. Other bloggers have written that I suggested that Citrix XenServer is going away. This is not what I believe. I firmly believe that Citrix XenServer is here to stay, and that it was a very good thing for Citrix to buy XenSource.

My prediction, specifically, was that XenServer will evolve to work on Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor and that Citrix will ultimately drop support for Xen (or at least lessen the focus on Xen). But I want to be 100% clear on this: When I say that Citrix will drop Xen, I mean that Citrix will drop the open source Xen hypervisor. I do not believe that Citrix will drop their XenServer product.

In other words, all the value that XenServer adds to the Xen hypervisor will still be there. XenServer will still be there. It's just that XenServer will run on Hyper-V, and the value that Citrix brings to the table will be value that's brought to Hyper-V.

NOTE: Before you comment, read the main blog entry from yesterday that this is about. That has the full details of what this is about.

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Why dropping the support of the Xen Community... It is hundreds of company that are pushing their own technology usage into the Xen world... Lot's of R&D for nothing (shared in the Xen community) that VMWare couldnot afford...


This is why Citrx changing all the names with XEN in them is a giant mistake.

Citrix buys a little known company XenSource and change her main and new product names to allign with this little company's name they just bought? Now they will have to change it again as soon as they start supporting Hyper-V. This name change is not looking so brilliant after all.

Your prediction makes sense and I could bet a few € on it (or lots of $ ;-) but I really hope that you will be proved wrong at the end.
If you are right it would mean that Citrix could not manage to get the benefits of working with the open source community in parallels to maintaining successful partnerships with old time buddies like Microsoft.
The core hypervisor being open-source means more innovation coming from partners, independent developers, even from employees, global emulation and often shorter time to market commercial products based on open source components.
Do you think the brightest XenServer add-ons would already be available if Xen wasn’t open source?
Marathon Everun VM, Stratus Avance, NetApp & Symantec storage delivery controllers, ATAover Ethernet, splunk connector and much more …
I don’t know, maybe they can let us know but I doubt some of the partners’ products would exist, or at least it would take much more time to be delivered.
Some developers can take initiatives with open source code and make things happen. Closed source means securing a company partnership sometimes spending some money before you can start investing time and efforts …
At the end of the day, a major sponsor of a major open source project dropping its commitment would be a bad sign for this industry. It is not just about customers paying software or not, it is about all big players even including MSFT slowly switching to recognize open source where it makes sense …
That would be bad (but … predictable ;-) if companies like Citrix and Microsoft miss this point or if the market would not let them try this …

As we get hypervisors anywhere we want them, essentially for free, then management of VM's on those hypervisors becomes the problem. It is management that is now the focus for vendors.

What Brian is really asking is which hypervisors Citrix should support - and in some ways that  is out of their control. If organizations choose Xen then it will make sense for Citrix to support Xen, if organization do not take up Xen then it is all a moot point.

From Xen's point of view the challenge is to be the chosen hypervisor. The secondary question is the extent to which Citrix helps Xen be chosen.

 Martin Ingram



Perhaps you could clarify what you believe XenServer actually is, and what parts you think could be ported to run on Hyper-V given that Microsoft have the managment and API side covered already?

Ughh...  XenServer is everything else that is not the Hypervisior itself....  XenMotion, Management Console, Pools, etc..

Hi Brian,

As one of those bloggers who misinterpreted what you wrote yesterday, let me apologize. Once I read your entry closer, it was clear enough that you were referring to Xen and not XenServer. I still think your prediction is premature, as I said, but the fault of getting your thesis wrong is mine. Still,  a great post by you. I always like it when people take strong stands!

Keith Ward, editor,

Sure thing.. no prob. As long as you know where I stand, I'm happy for you to disagree all you want! :)

XenServer is just the name of a product Citrix sells that includes the Xen Hypervisor and a Management layer. No duh, Citrix will extend the Management layer included with XenServer to manage Hyper-V. Microsoft is doing the same with SCVMM. The only retard in the bunch that has not extended their management layer to manage other company's hypervisors is VMware. With Virtual Center I can manage ESX systems and VMware Server, but I cannot manage anything else, WTF?!?!?

Citrix will not drop the Xen Hypervisor. If they did I believe you would see reports on TV news about a hostage situation at the Citrix headquarters as all the former XenSource employees that moved to Citrix freakout and demand that Xen be brought back.

My point is the virtualization industry is moving to breakdown barriers between different virtualization vendors. Citrix gains nothing by replacing Xen with Hyper-V, but they gain a lot by supporting Hyper-V in the XenServer management tools. Let the customer decide if they want to run the Xen hypervisor or Hyper-V. Citrix does not need to make that decision for them and removing the option completely would be utterly stupid. 

My head is spinning.  I am begining to think that traditional servers and desktops may be more simple.

Riiiiight... so you think they're going to port XenMotion (can't work on Hyper-V because of LUN locking by Windows clustering), a managment console (Citrix have always pushed the line of leaving management to SCVMM, XEn has never subscribed to a centralised management architecture) and 'resource pools' which are just clusters in Xen parlance, and Hyper-V can do resource capping already anyway.

What are you gonna tell me next Guest... that XenServer is the Linux OS sitting in Dom0, and that it is going to have the ability to replace Windows running in the parent partition of a Hyper-V box?


Hi Brian, Stu from here... I too have made a correction and apologise for the misinterpretation (i got it right in my opening line but it went downhill from there :-), but I'm sticking with a prediction of XenServer's (_not_ the Xen hypervisor) eventual demise - will be interesting to see how this all plays out in a few years!

If Hypervisors begin to disappear, how long before all the VDI brokers consolodate too?  Maybe they all hang out until threre really is a market?
Is there a datasheet or a comparison chart somewhere out there that compares ESX and XenServer features sets side by side?
Do you have date on what Xen support costs? Perhaps it's not that expensive vs how much good will it generate from other contributures which XenServer gains from. So yes XenServer can extend Hyper-V may be the biggest use case, but no reason not to do Xen and keep leverage to go their own way should being MS decide to make Citrix go away. Xen is the great hedge for Citrix, and with their Network business they can extend/create new features to make things like XD much more attractive. Xen is another bet for Citrix for Client side virtualization, an area that MS is not playing in at the type 1 layer.
Just because you can hack together a few lines of code, I doubt you're qualified to assess if a market exists or not.

I guess I got confused; XenServer to me is the Hyper-Visor; not the management tools; Damn you citrix and your naming!

Xen HyperVisor is going away unless they make it easier to manage low-level stuff (adding harddrive, networking, etc.) ; Xen management and value-adds to Hyper-V are here to stay 



As an IT professional, be careful on the line that you walk when blogging about this stuff. It confuses people and creates misconceptions that are hard to explian.

Yor prediction may come to fruition in the end but be sure to blog responcibly. Your reputation is on the line!


Nothing wrong with honest and respectful speculation.  It keeps the think tankers seeing all angles and possibilities.  I don't think any major technical blunders are being made as a result of blog.

Curly Biddles