Citrix, HP Team Up on Embedded Hypervisor

Citrix has become the latest entry into the increasingly-crowded field ofembedded hypervisors.

The Fort Lauderdale, FL-based company Thursday announced a deal to embed a small, lightweight version of its standardhypervisor, XenServer, into ProLiant brand servers from HP. Called CitrixXenServer HP Select Edition, the hypervisor will come pre-installed, givingcustomers the opportunity to try virtualization out of the box.

Hypervisors enable virtualization by decoupling software from theunderlying hardware. Embedded hypervisors do not have all the functionalityof their full-fledged brethren, but do have the advantage of small size andintegrated capabilities.

By shrinking down and embedding itsflagship hypervisor, Citrix now competes more directly with VMware, whichannounced a similar deal several weeks ago. In that pact, four OEMs -- IBM, Dell,Fujitsu, and HP -- agreed to offer VMware's ESX 3i hypervisor as an embeddedoption. One potential advantage XenServer Select may have over ESX 3i is agraphical user interface, which may make it more attractive to Windowsadmins, who tend to favor GUIs over command-line interfaces.

Thedeal also means that HP offers customers the choice of several differentembedded hypervisors.

It appears that most hypervisor makers aretrying to break into the "available-out-of-the-box" market. Microsoft, forexample, is offering something along the same lines, without an embeddedoption: its brand-new hypervisor, Hyper-V, is bundled with Windows Server2008 (and also offered as a stand-alone server). Hyper-V is now at the releasecandidate stage, and could be available soon. Microsoft, however, hasnot announced any intent to embed Hyper-V, the way Citrix and VMwareare.

Citrix says that XenServer HP Select Edition will be availableand supported as of March 31. No pricing information was given.

About the Author

Keith Ward is online news editor for the Redmond Media Group. You can contact him at kward@1105media.com.

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