XenServer 6.2 Goes Open Source

A couple of days ago, Citrix released XenServer 6.2. The new version provides improved scalability and promises improvements around cloud-readiness. But most importantly, Citrix moved XenServer back to Open Source. Is this good or is this bad? After interesting conversations with some of my community peers (like Shawn Bass, Thomas Koetzing and Gunnar Berger), I personally came to the conclusion that this is a good move. It gives Citrix the opportunity to get out of Microsoft’s way and not compete with Hyper-V. Even Citrix CEO Mark Templeton said that XenDesktop 7 performs best on Hyper-V. Microsoft and Citrix seem to be in sync again. XenServer did not contribute massively to the Citrix revenue stream anyway, so the decision to bet on Hyper-V for the broad market makes a lot of sense.

But in addition to that, Citrix states that moving XenServer 6.2 to Open Source provides them with a better way to enable innovation. At Citrix Synergy, all keynote attendees had the opportunity to see first results after Citrix allowed NVIDIA to add specific XenServer kernel components for a deeper integration of their new high-end GRID graphic cards. Running XenDesktop 7 on top of such a modified XenServer results in superior graphics performance for virtual desktop. Today, this may only be important for a few customers with advanced requirements for engineering, design or medical imaging. But 3D design and gaming from the cloud may be the natural next step. And knowledge workers may appreciate the advantage good graphics performance brings for eye candy, such as smooth PowerPoint slide transitions.

In summary, moving XenServer 6.2 to Open Source allows Citrix to stay ahead of the pack and introduce sophisticated features to those niche scenarios that may become main stream in a couple of months or years. So in essence, the Citrix success story continues.

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