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Citrix XenServer Virtualization Platform Now Free

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the gateway-drugs-and-other-business-models dept.

Software 259

Pedro writes "Citrix announced today that they are giving away their Xen OSS based virtualization platform XenServer with all the goodies included for free. The big highlights are XenMotion, which lets you move VMs from box to box without downtime, and multi server management. The same stuff in VMware land is $5k. They plan to sell new products for XenServer and also the same stuff on Microsoft's virtualization technology called Hyper-V. It will be interesting to see what VMware does. The announcement comes the day before VMware's big user event VMworld."

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heh (4, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961073)

I like the marketing for this The enterprise-class features you need at none of the cost. [postclickmarketing.com] I'm thinking this is a pretty big deal.

Re:heh (3, Insightful)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961177)

This is definitely a big deal, and it's pretty good timing too for Citrix. I bet this has got VMWare rushing to re-think some of what's going on tomorrow at VMWorld.

We currently use VMWare's solution, but will be having a serious look at this option as a way of cutting costs.

Re:heh (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961387)

I'm downloading it now, will be testing it out by tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing how performance looks compared to VMware Server, especially on relatively low-powered virtualization hosts. I haven't been all that unhappy with VMware, but the UI in VMware Server 2 is glitchy to say the least.

Re:heh (3, Informative)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961593)

While you're at it, download ESXi [vmware.com] to be fair. VMware Server is no comparison with the Enterprise products and comparing it against XenServer would be unfair at best.

Now, in counterpoint, you DO have to pay for the advanced features of ESXi that are free in XenServer, but at least you'll have a fair comparison to work with.

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961705)

That's the kicker isn't it? If the two are even close to even then XenServer just crushed it. Where I work we run ESXi - but they can afford it. It's nice to know if I wanted to do something on my own and I couldn't, that I would have options.

Re:heh (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962399)

Just because they can afford it doesn't mean that money wouldn't be better used somewhere else. Maybe you can even get a raise ?

Re:heh (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962051)

But if your budget is 0, then xenserver is a viable alternative to vmware server..
That it can also compete with esxi while still being free is a big extra point in its favour.

Re:heh (1)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962293)

Hopefully he'll have better luck getting ESXi installed on his hardware than I did. My test server was on the list of 'supported' machines for ESXi, and it still wouldn't install.

Out of curiosity, what does one use to manage ESXi if you're not willing to shell out for VMWare Infrastructure? Does it have a web GUI management setup like VMWare Server?

Re:heh (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962353)

Out of curiosity, what does one use to manage ESXi if you're not willing to shell out for VMWare Infrastructure? Does it have a web GUI management setup like VMWare Server?

VMWare Infrastructure Client. It's missing a lot of the fun features like live migration, but you can work around it using SSH most of the time.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962505)

Does VMware still require an extra management server?

The product doesnt seem to have moved on much since I last looked at it 3-4 years ago. Sure, more management/orchestration tools like lab manager, but the core ESX product seems to have only had a name change.

Is there a definitive list of Xenserver clients? I see some listed here [360is.com] but is there an official Citrix list?

AG

Do you know what else is free? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962077)

Do you know what else is free? ...

Admission for one ride on my penis!

Offer applies to women only.

Re:Do you know what else is free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962345)

There's always a catch, isn't there?

Re:Do you know what else is free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962785)

Not this time. At least not by you.

Is Virtualization the New OS? (0)

olddotter (638430) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961139)

Instead of browsers being the new os, is some sort of hyper visor system the New OS, with sub-oses running. How about virtualization of cool embedded products?

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (5, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961421)

You're describing the practice of using virtualization to host multiple dedicated-purpose "appliances." I use this approach myself; I've got a Debian VPS doing proxy work, another couple of nodes for static HTML serving, another for dynamic apps, one that just serves as an XHTML validation server, etc.

Hardware is cheap these days, and virtualization makes the clean separation of appliances on a single managed box very easy to accomplish. The benefits I get include improved security (difference services run on partitioned hosts) and ease of management (upgrading one application doesn't break others).

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961527)

How long before we see multiple dedicated-purpose appliances packaged in a single box with the only thing different between multiple models is a license key that 'turns on' the proxy, static web server, router, firewall, e-mail server, etc.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (3, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961573)

PBX's have been doing that for a long time now with systems that support Voice Mail, VOIP clients, multi site grouping and routing.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961853)

You're describing the practice of using virtualization to host multiple dedicated-purpose "appliances." I use this approach myself; I've got a Debian VPS doing proxy work, another couple of nodes for static HTML serving, another for dynamic apps, one that just serves as an XHTML validation server, etc.

Hardware is cheap these days, and virtualization makes the clean separation of appliances on a single managed box very easy to accomplish.

At one installation I managed, it was decide that the single (Linux) "server-that-did-everything" approach would be scrapped in favor of multiple virtualized appliances.

Without boring everyone with the details, the "experts" brought in to do this left with tail between legs when it was found that the harware previously used, and which never exceeded 2% CPU Utilization, was woefully inadequate to handle the four virtual machines into which it was virtualized.

New hardware was going to be needed. The manager sent the experts packing, and paid his in-house staff overtime to restore the system to its prior state.

Virtualizing an entire operating system to run a single system for the sake of simplicity is still absurdly wasteful of CPU cycles, memory, and disk space.

NO, New hardware is not cheap.

Anyone who believes it is cheap is looking only at the sticker price and not the staff, power, cooling, backup, rack-space, setup-time needed.

To use the cheapness of new hardware as a justification for virtualization is to turn the whole Virtual Machine concept on its head.

At the end of the day you have to ask: Why vitrualize if doing so means you are going to have to buy new hardware? Just buy the new iron and split out your functions across different platforms and take advantage of the redundancy, and reliability of not having all services disappear do to a single component failure.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (4, Informative)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961993)

Because your anecdote can be trumped by another anecdote..

Virtualization CAN save money on hardware, cooling, rack space, etc. You have a single multi purpose server. That means that virtualization may not meet your needs. However, take into account the areas where I work, which include a data center that is thousands of square feet (No, this is not a hosting site for web servers, though I have worked for a hosting facility).

Imagine taking into account environments where you need testing, development, pre production, staging and production. Rather than put them on a single machine (Highly unlikely) you can instead buy a small farm of machines, say 20 boxes for multiple applications/environments and then have them pooled into units and use virtual servers of varying priority and power levels. Your staging should have near production capabilities, your dev box, maybe not. Set the thresholds and hardware differences to your liking. However, if each unit was a physical box, even a 1U you would have a lot more rack space required, perhaps multiple node clusters for each, for availability. In a virtual environment, you are pooling physical machines, so at worst, you are overusing capacity beyond your original spec, but the machines should still be available as much as the OS allows.

Your scenario doesn't have any availability for downtime. In mine, if Physical box 11 needs a firwmware patch, I migrate VMs to the other machines and then take P11 offline. I patch it, and rotate in low priority machines to ensure it works as needed. What do you do when you have to go down to the physical machine to patch firmware/bios? You lose all your applications, right?

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962097)

Virtualizing has overhead on it's own, plus the overhead of running 4 separate kernels, and 4 seperate copies of all the userland shared libs...
Running everything on a single OS image, when correctly configured, gives a pretty significant performance benefit.
Virtualization is more heavily used in the windows world, where it is common practice to have a complete install for a single purpose because a lot of apps don't play well together.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (5, Insightful)

spazimodo (97579) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962147)

I can't speak to what happened in your particular scenario, but yes, staff, power cooling, etc. are big drivers for virtualization. I've seen multiple racks of servers condensed down into two servers and a SAN running in about 20U. You can get to everything remotely (out-of-band) without needing an IP-KVM and can restart hung servers without needing an IP/Serial PDU.

Setup time for new servers is orders of magnitude faster. fill out a couple screens in a click-and-drool GUI and you have a new server up and running.

Redundancy and reliability are also quite a bit better. While you're right a catastrophic failure of physical server hardware will bring down the VMs hosted on that server, they can immediately be powered on again on one of the other physical hosts. (Of course if you use local storage with virtual servers, you're playing with fire and will get burned eventually) Virtualization also makes it reasonable to cluster services for HA since you don't need 100% more hardware for failover. VMotion or XenMotion (which I haven't yet tried) will let you move running VMs off a physical box you suspect of failing or need to service which is damn handy, though I don't know that it's worth the price VMWare charges in most cases.

Virtualization means NOT needing to buy new hardware since the hardware becomes a commodity, run it till it fails and then replace it. You get out of proactive replacement cycles and expensive 7x24x4 support contracts. When you need more capacity, you just add another node and redistribute your VMs rather than having to deal with the headache of migrating an overutilized server to new hardware.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962369)

While your story rings true, why not consider virtualization in the future when you'd like to add another server?

When you're ready to purchase a new server for another task, instead of virtualizing all existing services into individual servers, virtualize the entire server as-is into its own virtual host and let it keep running the way it always did. Then add another virtual server instance to run the new stuff.

That's how I'd approach cost savings with virtualization in your environment.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962537)

Why not add the service to the existing box? Thats what we ended up doing.

The thing of it is, if you have enough processing power to add Virtualization, you have way more than you need to add the service to the existing box.

I fully understand the big installation guys with a rack full of servers consolidating many into one who have responded here. They are making up for excesses of the past (too much hardware) using the path of least resistance. Instead of learning how to add a service to an existing box they simply clone an existing box into a Virtual Machine, freeing up hardware, some of which is probably obsolete and due for replacement. Its a cost effective approach.

There are also security reasons to do such a thing.

But that's the opposite argument presented by the GP who was talking about the cheap price of hardware as justification to virtualize. That's just wrong on so many levels.

the security part is sort of an indictment of OSs (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962443)

One of the selling points of Unix has always been the ability to have multiple user accounts with security policies that prevent them from interacting badly. The problem, of course, is that security holes are relatively frequent. In particular, local security holes, i.e. exploits in any code that ever runs setuid, are quite frequent. That they're so frequent that people don't trust OS security at all, to the point of running separate apps in separate virtual machines, seems like a pretty conclusive determination that OS security policies have failed.

I can't help but think that one alternate route that would've ended up more efficient would be to give in and write more core software using some variety of language not vulnerable to quite as many buffer overflows and stack-smashing attacks. Doesn't have to be some big paradigm switch like using Ocaml; a C-with-some-safety dialect like Cyclone [thelanguage.org] would be fine. Besides inertia, one of the main arguments against was that it adds overhead compared to straight C. But the fact that people are willing to accept a much larger amount of overhead via virtual machines to get more solid guarantees of security that the OS is frankly failing to provide is some indication that the overhead-for-security tradeoff is something people really do want.

There are some advantages to using virtual machines regardless, such as ability to migrate apps separately. But we're using them here in some cases where multiple users on the same OS really would have been the best setup, except for the fact that we don't trust Linux to be free of local-root exploits.

Re:Is Virtualization the New OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962623)

You mean a stripped down Linux kernel acting as a VM Server is the New OS?

That's nice and all, BUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961147)

does it run Linux?

Re:That's nice and all, BUT (0, Offtopic)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961267)

Who cares, as long as it will run a Beowulf cluster!

Re:That's nice and all, BUT (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961431)

It runs EVERYTHING! Bwahahahaha!!!

Re:That's nice and all, BUT (2, Informative)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961905)

very well, actually. I use to host a slew of paravirtualized debian 'machines', alongside a couple of Windows 'machines'.

Xen Server is a nice product - it has good support for Linux and for Windows, and it's fast. I have had trouble setting up a DC under VMWare Server 1.x and 2 when using Linux as the host OS, but no such issues with Xen Server. No clock skew problems, fast networking, easy SAN support, etc.

I had managed to get the tightwads where I work to approve a budget for Xen Server this year (I'm using Xen Express), but now it looks like I'll get to use that money for something else.

Re:That's nice and all, BUT (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962385)

I had managed to get the tightwads where I work to approve a budget for Xen Server this year (I'm using Xen Express), but now it looks like I'll get to use that money for something else.

At any place I've ever worked, if funds for a certain thing were no longer needed (product became free, we found a free alternative, etc.), we did NOT get to spend the money on something else. At best, you get to brag about cost savings!

Re:That's nice and all, BUT (1)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962575)

hahaha, well, i'm hoping they don't find out ;) Maybe I can weasel in a new developer workstation or something...

In comparison... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961163)

I've been waiting several months (through multiple missed release milestones) for Sun to get a xVM Server [xvmserver.org] general release out. I'm still running a bunch of VPS nodes under VMware Server in the meantime, and I'll probably be in the ground before Sun's product is released.

It's really a shame, considering how much I like xVM VirtualBox.

Yes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961165)

but does it run Linux?

does it support Beowulf clustering?

If not Beowulf, does it support alternative clustering and, if so, what kind?

can I imagine it in a beowulf cluster configuration (even if not actually supported)?

is it affected by having hot grits dumped down its front? If so, in what way?

Re:Yes (-1, Offtopic)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961197)

That was cream of wheat you insensitive clod!

Main XenServer site. (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961201)

Here's the link: Get it while it's hot [citrix.com] .

Re:Main XenServer site. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962095)

Here's the link: Get it while it's hot. [citrix.com]

Why did I read this as Get it while it's hot. [grits] ? The I, T, R, and the X making an S sound?

Re:Main XenServer site. (1)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962217)

I'm not able to get and test it right now, while I'm at work. What exactly do you get? is this in the same vein as ESXi, an OS that installs to some hardware that I then use another machine (with a client) to connect to? Or is this -only- the console? Or is this a framework that installs into my Linux distro that I can then use to virtualize machines (I'm pretty sure it's not).

Re:Main XenServer site. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962973)

It installs to bare metal like ESXi, and you use a network client to manage it.

Re:Main XenServer site. (2, Informative)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962693)

The licensing key is only temporary. The full shipping version license will not be available till March 25. I have better things to do than try to implement partial-ware.

Re:Main XenServer site. (3, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963019)

It's not partial-ware. It's exactly the same product that will be re-released in March; you just have to enter the free key into it.

I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961237)

As I've pointed out before, the reason many organizations use VMWare is because it just works. Their stuff is solid, and it works in mixed environments real well. Unless they've made some major improvements, Xen has the problem of being only good at Linux on Linux. If you run Linux servers, and want Linux guests, it's great. However it is not good at Windows as a guest, and of course can't run on it at all. While I've never used Hyper-V, I'm sure it is the same for Windows.

However VMWare isn't a problem like that. You can run VMWare on Windows or on Linux (or Mac for that matter). On either platform, it'll run pretty much anything as a guest OS and run it well. Linux, Windows, Solaris, etc all work great and they've got native tools for most platforms.

That's really valuable to us. We aren't interested in playing around with what OSes we can and can't run on our virtual servers. We aren't interested in fiddling and tweaking to make shit work. We want to install it and go.

There's also a whole bunch of other tools/features VMWare has that are really slick, but the OS support is a big one. Unless Xen gets good at supporting Windows as a guest, and by good I mean no problems, high speed, native tools, etc, it just doesn't compare. Same deal with Hyper-V. It may be the best thing ever for Windows on Windows, but if it's Linux support isn't equally good, then I don't see it as threatening VMWare.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961367)

VT changed the game. Nowadays Xen (and others like Sun's VirtualBox) runs Windows just fine.

It's sad to notice that both VMWare and Citrix are neglecting building non-Windows management clients by the way :(

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (2, Informative)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961563)

Hmm...

Ask [yellow-bricks.com] and ye shall receive [vmware.com]

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961591)

Still, it's no good for managing. It's just the management server. You still need Windows .NET built client, or use Internet Explorer with the ActiveX extensions to manage your virtualized environments. Sorry.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961633)

(sigh)

Amazing what 15 seconds of Google finds [windowsitpro.com] , isn't it?

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961837)

Come back to us when that vaporware is released. They have been promising it for 3 years or so now, and there has been no sign of imminent actual release yet.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Huh? (105485) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962753)

VCenter is NOT the management client. However, I do believe VMWare is developing a cross platform VI Client. [techtarget.com]

Two problems with that (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961599)

1) Requires new hardware. VT is only available on newer Intel processors. So if you have an older server, and many people do, it isn't suitable for that purpose. That will become a non-issue eventually but at this time there are still lots of servers that aren't.

2) In my experience with toying with it, it still has problems with Windows like occasional random crashes and such. VMWare seems as solid as if you are running on real hardware, Xen seems to have additional problems.

Again, it comes down to the "It just works," thing. If you have the hardware that can support it and are willing to tool around and maybe deal with problems, ok then. However if you don't want to do that, then VMWare is what you want.

Re:Two problems with that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962179)

Isn't windows famous for having problems like occasional random crashes?

Re:Two problems with that (1)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962485)

Well, I guess by some definitions the Pentium 4 / Pentium D processors would be considered 'newer' (november 2005 for the P4, 2006 for the Pentium D), but I wouldn't think that would be new for production hardware. Except for Intel's bargain bin stuff, even the Core 2 processors since Conroe have had VT support. Unless someone's interested in hosting a virtual server farm on a batch of used P2/P3 Proliants they picked up from eBay I don't think this isn't such a valid concern.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961617)

VirtualBox runs windows pretty well, but it can't run OSX at all. VMWare can.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961899)

What do you mean "just fine"?

In my experience VirtualBox sucks compared to VMware. Xen is no better.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (4, Interesting)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961543)

The other thing to think about is actual support... as in picking up a phone and calling someone when something breaks.

Sure, with a good admin that's rarely a problem... but that 1% of the time you actually need it, you're 100% glad you've got it!

I've managed VM farms since ESX 1... now I have a rather nice ESX 3.5 farm I manage. We've recently gone into an head-to-head between Xen and VMware running Xenapp servers. You know what? We're still buying VMware. Make of that what you will.

Personally I find the Xen product interesting, but still fundamentally missing the "mainframe-ish-ness" of VMware, even out of the box. I love the fact that I reboot my VM hosts only when I patch them, and even then I haven't lost a guest since ESX 3.0 (as in, it went down unexpectedly). I also love the fact that it's well-supported with a fantastic range of third-party products that make my job easier. I also love the fact that the one time we actually needed someone on the other end of the phone, I was able to get one of the developer leads of ESX on the phone with only about 15 minutes of troubleshooting with lower support and have him help us sort through the issues (which ended up being a bug, BTW).

When I was trying to do the Xen test, I got no support from Citrix since they wanted to charge me for the call (VMware didn't), and even when I had a problem I told them that it was a serious issue that would impact this head-to-head they told me I needed to give them a credit card number before I could get anyone to even listen to the problem. So much for support.

Disclaimer: I'm a firm believer in using the "best tool for the job", whether it's free software or commercial. The simple fact is that in my job, commercial software often wins out despite the cost because companies want someone to look to when things go wrong and are willing to pay for the privilege.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (5, Interesting)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961601)

So, VMWare gives you free support for their paid product but citrix charges you for support on their free product? Boggles the mind.

We are currently doing a similar head-to-head and so far it seems that for the ESX license costs alone we can hire two full-time admins and buy plenty of support from citrix when needed. YMMV.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961719)

The problem was probably that he was talking to their support department. If you ask for free support for an evaluation from the *Sales* department you'd probably get more traction. I've never had any problem getting support pre-sales. Of course I work for a 5 trillion dollar company, so YMMV. (p.s. Even though the company I work for is huge, we sometimes have problems getting support post-sales... Again, YMMV)

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961861)

Oh I agree, YMMV... as will anyone's. It depends on what you want to do with your infrastructure. VMware still excels in the management of virtual machines, managing as an enterprise rather than a discrete set of virtual hosts.

Part of it is also supportability. VMware is supported by third-party vendors as well to a significant degree. As a result, third-party support and tools are incredibly good (I run a few from Veeam) and finding a solution to a particular problem is usually really easy.

I would advise everyone to do what you and I have both already done; test it and figure out what suits your needs. We figured that (a) we already had a significant investment in VMware and managing two environments would be unnecessary overhead, and (b) my senior management wanted to reduce the number of phone calls we would ever have to make to a vendor... so our last set of host machines were bought from HP, including VMware licenses... so all we need do is call them. (the legacy licenses will be rolled up under an agreement we're penning now).

That kind of support is invaluable when you just want to get the job done. We're in the business of doing business, not trying to place blame so we can fix infrastructure problems.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962031)

Before you go completely down that route, look at the number of servers you can virtualize on the single (or clustered) set of servers.

Typically with VMWare you can get a much higher Virtual to Physical count than you can with any other virtualization product.

I've seen xVM and others stop at 5 VMs, on a box that VMWare will run 10 or more without issues.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (2, Funny)

danlor (309557) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962289)

Please specify where i can hire a citrix admin for 5k a year salary... forget two.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (3, Informative)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962467)

That's $5k for each ESX host license, plus $5k for Virtual Center to control it all, plus licensing costs for SQL Server or Oracle for Virtual Center's back end database needs. If they have 30 hosts or more then the licensing costs can be substantial.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962929)

They're virtualized admins.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962677)

You can always use VMWare server if price is the issue...

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (2, Informative)

sniperu (585466) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961703)

VMWare is the only vendor that has never disappointed as far as support goes. If you have one of them gold/platinum (whatever) contracts and you open a high priority issue with them, you WILL get a knowledgeable support person on the other end of the line in less than 10 minutes. Having problems with a VMWare (or other vendor) cluster is equivalent to having a few racks of physical servers on fire. Knowledgeable, efficient support is the only thing saving your ass.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

nickh01uk (749576) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962637)

Re: unsupported trials.

If you'd dropped my company [360is.com] a line we'd have offered a supported trial with an allocated engineer (okay, time spent would depend partly on potential size of a deployment...) but you'd certainly have spent nothing finding out what the product could and could not do in a supported way. We'd probably both have learnt something, I love real-life tests :-) Sometimes there are benefits in NOT buying direct off the vendor's web store :-) End of outrageous plug! Oh, we also do VMware, I guess what Im saying is that deployment is about more than just the upfront sticker price of the product.
PK

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

cexshun (770970) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962907)

The free version of Xenserver does not include HA, which is crucial in our environment. Also, no load balancing servers on Xenserver. We need the ability to move a VM to a new server for load balancing purposes. Considering these 2 factors, We will not be leaving ESX anytime soon.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961553)

Yup. I run vmware-server on my linux box (free for personal use). It is the only free solution around that:

1. Doesn't require anything more than a 386 on the host (ie works on 2+year old CPUs).
2. Doesn't require anything special in the guests to make them run (at least minimally).
3. Doesn't need to be attached to a console of some kind to run (ie runs detached in the background).

I'm not aware of any other solutions that meet these criteria. I messed around with VirtualBox, which works fine except that it runs in a window and you can't run it NOT in a window and attach/detach from the console at will. You can run vmware-server on a system that doesn't even have X11 installed...

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (2, Informative)

eagle486 (553102) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962741)

I run the VirtualBox headless all the time: "VBoxHeadless -s XP1" and I connect to it with rdesktop. It is running on an old P4 2.4, so can't say if it would run on a 386.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962835)

Part of the installation of VMWare Server involves installation several X libraries, which certainly blurs the line of "doesn't even have X11 installed".

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

kamochan (883582) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963029)

Use VBoxHeadless from the command line to launch a non-windowed VM, then use tsclient (Linux) or Microsoft's Remote Desktop client (Win, Mac) to connect to the console.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963109)

Yup. I run vmware-server on my linux box (free for personal use). It is the only free solution around that:

1. Doesn't require anything more than a 386 on the host (ie works on 2+year old CPUs).
2. Doesn't require anything special in the guests to make them run (at least minimally).
3. Doesn't need to be attached to a console of some kind to run (ie runs detached in the background).

I'm not aware of any other solutions that meet these criteria. I messed around with VirtualBox, which works fine except that it runs in a window and you can't run it NOT in a window and attach/detach from the console at will. You can run vmware-server on a system that doesn't even have X11 installed...

Ummm..no you CAN run Virtualbox without a head. vboxmanage and vboxheadless commands

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961607)

With VT XenServer runs windows fairly well. It is actually a lot better than opensource Xen running windows since Citrix has written decent para-virtualized drivers for windows.

I've heard, but not confirmed, that XenServer V5 is able to use all the paravirtualization extensions that MS put into Windows Server 2008, including the MS PV IO drivers and other stuff. Ie WS2008 on Xen runs like it does on HyperV..

These days Linux also works out of the box on XenServer, modern kernels have all the paravirt features and drivers built in. Good stuff.

Anyone know for sure?

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961669)

I agree with your sentiments, but you should take a look at Amazon EC2 if you want to see how slick Windows on Xen could be. Granted, it's not as good as Linux on Xen, but it's not half bad. I think it took them a lot of effort, and hopefully some of their work will trickle back down to the community version.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961855)

It may be the best thing ever for Windows on Windows

Steve Balmer and Bill Gates check into a hotel...

*boom-chicka-chicka-bow-wow-boom-chicka-chicka*

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961887)

> You can run VMWare on Windows or on Linux (or Mac for that matter).

And bigger installations run Vmware on Bare metal.

And that's where it REALLY shines.

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961981)

Actually, you're dead wrong. Xen runs Windows servers very well (2003 R2 and 2008). In fact, I have managed to get a stable and reliable AD configured on Xen VMs, which is far more than I could get while attempting the same thing on VMware. Xen has been much easier to install than ESXi, even when using VMWare-approved servers, and from my small-shop experience, the performance has been better.

SQL Server 2005, MOSS 2007, Exchange 2007 - these all run without issue under Xen 5, using Server 2003 R2 or Server 2008.

VMWare issue (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962839)

As I've pointed out before, the reason many organizations use VMWare is because it just works.

Just don't try to uninstall it. I have a box that I had been using since 2002 completely melt down after I uninstalled a copy of VMWare. It required a full nuke and pave to rebuild the OS...

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963249)

Unless they've made some major improvements, Xen has the problem of being only good at Linux on Linux. If you run Linux servers, and want Linux guests, it's great.

But XenServer is a Bare-metal hypervisor, like ESXi, correct? There is no 'Windows on Linux' or 'Linux servers'. There is a hypervisor, and the guest operating systems run on the hypervisor.

Am I wrong? Are you talking about something else?

Re:I'm guessing VMWare isn't that worried (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963377)

I originally thought VMWare would be great. I tried, as did a few other Linux gurus, to get VMWare working properly in our scenario. We all found it to be an abomination. True, we were using the "free" stuff, but I don't trust any company that offers a broken product for free and then tries to pull a bait and switch. I respect your like of VMWare, but please don't misinform people. It does not just work.

OTOH VirtualBox OSE (Open Source Edition) works flawlessly for me out of the box (i.e. repository), though I concede that it might not just work for others.

Xen Cores=number of VMs still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961323)

Last I checked, Xen is still limited to VMs=number of cores, which Virtual Infrastructure is not... Correct me if i'm wrong.

given the huge size of some vmware consolidations, Xenserver isn't much of an option to many people.

Re:Xen Cores=number of VMs still? (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961901)

This was never true; I'm not sure where you heard it.

Re:Xen Cores=number of VMs still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961955)

"Last I checked, Xen is still limited to VMs=number of cores"

You haven't checked for the last three years, then.

Re:Xen Cores=number of VMs still? (1)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962197)

not since Xen 5, actually.
Xen 4 was obnoxious, in that you could only use 1 or 2 cores, and were limited to 4GB of RAM with the free version.

Still needs Windows, right? (1)

mr.gson (458099) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961465)

It seems the only way to administer XenServer is from Windows - is this correct?

Re:Still needs Windows, right? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962111)

Yup, So another option is Virtual Iron. It is based on Xen and they have a free product.

Their admin console is a java webapp. It is great.

Certification games (3, Interesting)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961501)

A major issue with virtualization in the enterprise is certification by various enterprise software vendors. If your entire platform stack (hardware, Virtualization, OS, etc.) (can you believe we actually have platform stacks now? Geez...) isn't certified, you just give them an excuse to not support you. VMWare has made some solid inroads here, but the last time I saw Xen on the list of certified platforms for something I was integrating was, oh, I'd say never. Not to say such apps don't exist, but they certainly aren't anywhere near what one would call ubiquitous. For many companies, paying the ridiculous price of VMWare is worth it for this reason alone.

Re:Certification games (2, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961577)

Perhaps... but that argument reminds me a lot of the days of networks like Novell and other similar systems like Banyan.

Eventually other apps will become certified on other hosts, and once that door starts creaking open more and more will jump ship. VMWare should be worried, maybe not for the short term, but definitly for the long term.

Re:Certification games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962015)

Yes sir indeedy. Try getting support for Orrible on anything other than Oracle VM. Last time I asked our Oracle rep "when will you support VMWare" for our OEM install he said "never!". I suspect he's right.

Re:Certification games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962801)

Oracle is developing/offering their own version of Xen.

Re:Certification games (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962313)

Recently Microsoft didn't support products running inside of VMWare. You told them that, they'd say replicate the problem outside of VMWare then we will support you.

For the most part, they support VMWare today. That is very nice to have. XEN would have to gain such support, imo, to be viable.

Re:Certification games (1)

JayGuerette (457133) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962523)

For many companies, paying the ridiculous price of VMWare is worth it for this reason alone.

Ridiculous? Quick & dirty numbers here: we have at least 90 ESX servers, with at least 800 virtual guest servers. That's 4 million US dollars worth of physical servers we didn't buy. Not to mention the cost of power, rack space, and associated infrastructure. I can't begin to estimate the cost savings in 100% remote management of every aspect of those 800 servers. Cost is all relative.

Fuck You America!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961515)

I'm 24 years old. I don't want to go through the next 50 years of my life living in an international air of worry and uncertainty. I don't want to live in a permanent state of fear, generated by a megalomaniacal American government taking advantage of the majority low IQ populous' capacity for being brainwashed.

I don't want to live like Israel, fighting militant Muslims round every corner. The problem of Muslim extremists exists and needs to be dealt with, not encouraged by invading innocent countries and waging war on people who have done nothing to deserve it. I want my children to grow up in a world free from military oppression and I want a government that understands that the wars of the future are guerrilla ones which can never be won, even if they are waged for noble purposes (which theirs never are).

The world is fu*cked up enough as it is. The food chain has been poisoned so badly the average human is full of chemicals normally found in plastics and toxic waste. I'm sick of global warning and environmental damage to the planet and the fact the all this time the greenies were right. I'm sick of America being the biggest wilful contributor to the pollution of the planet.

I'm sick of an American school system that produces children who are brought up to believe that America IS the world and anything that goes on outside is irrelevant. Children so stupid they think America invented the Internet, computer, motor car, light bulb, telephone etc ad infinitum....

The Internet or it's successor is the future of entertainment and I'm sick of stupid low IQ, ignorant Americans infecting every corner of it with their insular, jingoistic mindsets, their whiny voices and manifestations of their low self esteem driven by the fact that despite it being their turn as the world's super power, no one actually takes them seriously or gives them the respect that the British or the Ancient Greeks got because a superpower best known for producing mass produced crap is never going to get the respect that one who gave the world Shakespeare, culture, philosophy or mathematics will get.

I'm sick of hypocrisy and two facedness. I'm sick of Gangsta Rap and hamburgers, Political Correctness and TV programmes that begin with 'When' and end in 'go bad and attack people'. I'm sick of reality TV and I'm sick of news programmes that are more censored than accurate. I'm sick of tokens, token minorities, token universities, token degrees, token attempts at the truth, tokens. I'm sick of fat people, ugly people, stupid people, gay people, coloured people, female people, whiny people all complaining they don't have the opportunities in life they would like and it must be someone else's fault. I'm sick of women that act like men and femininity being a crime, unless you're a man in which case you're a new man which nobody ever wanted because there was nothing wrong with the old one. I'm sick of people falling over and suing the ground and people watching nipples and suing the TV and I'm sick of coffee cups with 'don't pour over yourself, you may get burnt' on the side to try and counter this.

I'm sick of stupid Americans who don't know the difference between patriotism and jingoism and who think flag waving should be an Olympic event. I'm sick of Americans who cry that people hate them or are jealous of them or who are anti them because someone dares to point out that the America they've been programmed to believe in from birth bears no relation to the one that exists in real life.

Re:Fuck You America!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26961545)

Well, sounds like suicide is the cheap and easy option for you, good buddy. Good luck with that! We Americans wish you nothing but the very best!

Not quite all.... (4, Informative)

BuhDuh (1102769) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961517)

the goodies OP would have us believe are actually included. From this story [yahoo.com]

In another move to counter VMware's lead, Citrix will offer its XenServer software free starting in April. One or two high-end features from that product, including the high-availability features, will be moved to Citrix Essentials for XenServer, but many of the existing capabilities will be available for no charge, said Citrix CTO Simon Crosby. Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V and Citrix Essentials for XenServer each will be priced at US$1,500 to $5,000 per server, depending on the features selected, Crosby said.

So . . . (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 4 years ago | (#26961819)

They want you to use it and depend on it so you buy support and additional product. In my opinion, if you're running an enterprise virtualization platform for critical tasks, you'd be an idiot to do it without a support contract.

So if you need support anyway, how much of a difference is this vs. buying VMware with support?

I'm not buying that they "tend to win" in a head-to-head with VMware. Sorry. The market numbers (and the fact that they're now giving it away) doesn't really support that. To compete, I suspect they were discounting to the point where they were giving it away when they really wanted to make a sale to a particular account.

Once you buy VMware, support isn't expensive, so the ongoing cost isn't that bad. The installed base isn't going to evaporate, any more than OpenOffice has managed to get rid of Microsoft Office.

This does make the Oracle and Novell versions of Xen look a little pointless, though.

Re:So . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962647)

VMware support is hundreds of dollars per box. Citrix support model has you buy bundles of calls. If you run ten servers but only place five calls a year, the difference is tremendous...

Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962191)

VMWare ESXi server was free with no support and has more than enough functionality for the average user.

Has to be good news for the customer because.... (1)

nickh01uk (749576) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962373)

it will provide free access to competitive technology, keep the established vendor(s) straight, and (eventually) will give rise to cross-platform management tools and frameworks.

At last it looks like there will be a free, supported, commercial-grade virtualization solution for those of us who dont have the budget for VMware and have been disappointed with Hyper-V and its predecessors.

I can only imagine this is unhappy news for VMware who surely must now take a reality check on their pricing. I sincerely hope they do not go the same way as Netscape, having 3 strong vendors in the market stops a lot of the kind of bad behavior you see from ERP, CRM, and BI vendors (you know who you are guys!). There was a balanced 2 minute comparison of Hyper-v, XenServer, and VMware over at the 360 blog here [blogspot.com] .

For the VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V fanboys (are there any Hyper-V fanboys yet?), calm down and take a tip from that blog:

"Providers of the core hypervisor technology will continue to play a game of technical leapfrog with one another for at least a couple of years, while those with a management, enterprise framework, or suite will claim more strategic long-term positions around "liquid infrastructure" or something else suitably bendy. What is most important right now is that you have the right information processing architecture, not any one particular product within it."

What is it used for? (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962383)

For those of us who are out of date, what is XenServer USED for?

I understand VMs, I've tinkered with them a bit but I don't understand XenServers practical application.

Can someone give a usage scenario?

Re:What is it used for? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963367)

Keeping all nodes of a server cluster always-online even while transferring to new hardware?

Still no Windows without hardware VT (4, Informative)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962449)

We recently did a re-evaluation of our virtualization tech, and VMware won out over Xen. The simple reason: VMware can run Windows on machines that don't have hardware VT. Sure, if we wanted to immediately replace every single server with a new one containing a new cpu, that'd be different, but in this economy you don't really want to throw away perfectly good hardware that still runs VMware at a very nice speed. Xen requires hardware VT, or you aren't running Windows guests, period. VMware doesn't care; it uses hardware VT if you have it, or it does software virtualization otherwise.
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