I was lucky enough to attend the Citrix iForum in Edinburgh this week, which was a first for me and a credit crunch alternative to VMWorld. I must admit I was looking forward to it as I’ve been meaning to take a closer look at Citrix XenServer for some time now. I wasn’t disappointed as I got to spend some time on the demo stand and saw a few technical and case studies presentation. I have to admit I was impressed, I was sitting here thinking Hyper-V was the only other hypervisor worth looking at, how wrong was I.
So to quickly set the scene, Citrix XenServer 5.5 is completely free, and for that you get the following feature set .
To get hold of the value add features, known as Citrix Essentials your going to have to spend some money. I got a quote today for the Citrix Essentials offerings, at the moment it’s £1,360 for Enterprise and £1,680 for Platinum. For this price you get the following, which on first viewing is pretty good, especially when you consider the Lab and Stage management features which are separate products within the VMware product range.
Citrix Essentials / VMware price offer
As indicated by the title of this blog post Citrix were advertising a special offer around the purchase of Citrix Essentials 5.5 starting in Q3 this year. If you are willing to share with Citrix your VMware SNS renewal quotes they will give you a price for Citrix Essentials that matches or betters the price of your VMware renewal. Technically resulting in you paying out no more than you were going to be spending from your budget anyway. now you’ve just got to find the resource to rip an replace your existing virtual infrastructure (joking!). I’d suggest following up with your Citrix sales representative for more information as I can’t find anything official on the Citrix web site, it was however mentioned on 4 different occasions during iforum so it must be true.
In all seriousness though, I spoke to people at the iforum who were existing VMware customers like me. One guy had a project to add three additional ESX hosts, he reckoned he could do 3 XenServer hosts with the same functionality for the cost of one ESX host. He was off to download it and set it up in their company lab the next day, I have to say I can see why, especially with company budgets constrained the way they are.
I’m going to get my home lab setup with XenServer so I can do a few more blog posts on some of the interesting features such as Storage Link and the distributed management database. I’m genuinely intrigued now.
If you want to read a little bit more about the usage of XenServer in the real world, you might want to read about Tesco’s use of XenServer to virtualise 1,500 servers. Alternatively you might want to read the following performance review of hyper-v, ESX 3.5 and XenServer to understand a little more about how they compare (vSphere obviously tilts the performance balance back in VMware’s favour).