At VMworld Europe 2009, Citrix made an important virtualization industry announcement – their XenServer package will carry no license price (just support). This package includes centralized management of distributed VMs, and live migration capability.
It isn’t everything you need to manage a virtual machine pool, but many smaller companies who might have avoided virtualization completely will do this, and add more management tools later. It will broaden the market.
More importantly, from an industry perspective: this puts pressure on VMware – not only from Citrix, but also probably from Microsoft. Why Microsoft? Because once a competitor in the market offers free functionality, Microsoft doesn’t need to worry about antitrust concerns, and can do it themselves. Think live migration and some management.
In addition, Citrix also has opportunity with cloud computing providers with this announcement. Xen is heavily used “in the cloud.” Citrix might be able to convince some of them to use XenServer as a base – and possibly sell Citrix management tools (Essentials) on top of that. The battle for cloud virtualization has begun.
Xen has been splintered in many distributions in the past few years – Citrix (XenSource), Virtual Iron, Novell, Red Hat, Oracle, Sun. Will Citrix be able to rally any of these together on XenServer? Now that could be interesting.