The world of fully open-sourced virtualized infrastructure is getting a new entrant today. Citrix is making the latest XenServer 6.2 release available under the GNU GPL v2 open source license.
The core Xen hypervisor technology has been open source since day one, but the overall server virtualization technology has not been.
XenServer's roots go back nearly 7 years to August of 2006 when XenSource released its XenEnterprise product. XenSource was acquired by Citrix in August of 2007 for $500 million, and XenEnterprise got folded into what is now known as XenServer.
The new XenServer 6.2 release is being announced today under an open source license, which is part of Citrix's recent ongoing momentum towards being more open. Citrix moved its cloud.com technology to the Apache Software Foundation in April of 2012. The resulting Apache CloudStack project recently released its first major milestone as a top-level Apache project with the CloudStack 4.1 release earlier this month.
Citrix also recently moved the Xen hypervisor project itself over to the Linux Foundation in an effort to enable and foster a broader and more transparent open development model.
"XenServer 6.2 is now fully open source, so there is a fully featured version available for free to all users," Scott Lindars, senior product marketing manager at Citrix. "Citrix will have a paid version that includes tech support and maintenance for customers that want to have a commercial engagement."
Lindars stressed that the key for any open source project is to have a community for users and developers that is open for participation. To that end, Citrix is also launching the XenServer.org community portal. The goal of the portal is to enable users and developers to have a forum for discussion with Citrix's product management.
In addition to making XenServer a fully open source product, Citrix is also changing the way it packages the virtualization server. In the past, Citrix had at least three different editions of XenServer, including Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum versions.
With XenServer 6.2 there is now only one edition, which includes all the features that had been available in the Platinum release.
"It is the same version; anyone can go and download XenServer 6.2 and use it," Lindars said. "If they are running it in a production environment and want that lifeline to be able to call into tech support with the backing of Citrix, they can buy a commercial support license."
In the enterprise space, VMware remains the dominant virtualization vendor, though Microsoft's Hyper-V and the open source Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization solutions are trying to gain share as well.
Lindars noted that the server virtualization space is already fairly mature. In his view the move to open source XenServer 6.2 is about opening up opportunities for Citrix in the cloud space.