Citrix's bare metal hypervisor pegged for Q3 launch

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Citrix's bare metal hypervisor pegged for Q3 launch

XenClient takes shape after nine months in beta.

Citrix is anticipating a Q3 launch of its bare metal hypervisor, XenClient, after having tested the software with "a couple of hundred" of customers during the past nine months.

The technology was first announced in 2009 as 'Project Independence', which aimed to extend desktop virtualisation for offline mobile use.

Initially, XenClient will be embedded on HP and Dell devices with Intel chips. Citrix expects to partner with more OEMs and hardware vendors within the year.

"We see that [XenClient] as something that will have a major effect on virtualisation," said Citrix's VP of advanced products Ian Pratt, who also founded Xen.

"We certainly had no shortage of customers wanting to join the [beta testing] program, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive," he told iTnews today.

Pratt said the company had taken care to deliver an enterprise-grade product that utilised Intel's Trusted Execution Technology and VT-d, while not disrupting notebook vendors' value-added software.

Beta testers, who could not be named, were required to conduct weekly calls with XenClient project managers to provide feedback about the software.

XenClient completes Citrix's XenDesktop portfolio, an open desktop virtualisation platform that the company claims to integrate with "any hypervisor, storage, or management infrastructure".

Virtual servers and the cloud

Citrix also is optimistic about uptake of its server virtualisation product XenServer, with plans to grow XenServer's market penetration from 11 percent in 2009 to 20 percent by the end of the year.

"We grew from three percent market share in 2008 ... Certainly, we're on a steep upwards trajectory at the moment," Pratt told iTnews.

In July 2009, Burton Group analysts Chris Wolf and Richard Jones considered Citrix XenServer 5.5 one of only two enterprise-ready hypervisor platforms, with the other - and more dominant - being VMWare's vSphere 4.

Pratt expected the 28 May launch of XenServer 5.6 to strengthen Citrix's position in the market with enhanced workload balancing, host power management and storage management capabilities.

Looking forward, he said future versions of XenServer would introduce tools for "extending datacentres into the cloud", which he said harked back to Xen's origins as a component of public infrastructure platform Xenoserver.

Pratt expected enterprises to move applications and workloads to the cloud in pieces - rather than migrating as a whole - and anticipated a need for tools that would allow enterprises to manage entire storage ecosystems from a single console.

"We've always had a close connection with the cloud," Pratt said. "I think that what we need in the cloud and what we need in the data centre is converging."

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