Citrix is taking steps to help advance the commercially supported version of its XenServer virtualization product, while at the same time removing some capabilities from the free edition of XenServer.
Ever since Citrix acquired XenSource for $500 million back in August 2007, there has been some form of free edition of Xen available for end-users. XenServer itself, which is Citrix's commercially supported edition of Xen, was open sourced in June 2013 alongside the XenServer 6.2 release.
Now in December 2017, while there is still a free edition, with the new XenServer 7.3 update that edition has had multiple features removed. XenServer is available in Free, Standard and Enterprise editions.
"The Standard edition is almost identical to the Free edition in terms of feature set, but includes commercial support and an extended period of hotfix availability from Citrix, whilst the Enterprise edition enables a variety of additional features," David Cottingham, Director, XenServer Project Management and Partner Engineering at Citrix, wrote in a blog post. "Having carefully considered what features are in each edition, we've taken the decision to move some features out of the Free edition and into Standard."
Key Features Removed in XenServer 7.3 Free Edition
Among the features that are being removed from XenServer 7.3 are critical enterprise security capabilities, including Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Microsoft Active Directory integration.
Additionally, the Free Edition of XenServer 7.3 is being hobbled in terms of scalability and availability. The Free Edition will no longer benefit from Dynamic Memory Control, High-Availability and Disaster Recovery capabilities. And the maximum pool size of a XenServer 7.3 Free Edition cluster will now be limited to only three hosts.
Citrix's hope is that existing Free Edition users who have high-availability needs, and many users in general, will actually pay for support and get either the Standard or Enterprise edition now.
"I realize this news will be difficult for people who make use of the Free edition of XenServer in larger environments," Cottingham wrote. "We have looked carefully at how the revised Free edition compares to other free virtualization platforms on the market, and concluded that even with this change, XenServer's free feature set is still great for small deployments or home labs."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.