Citrix steps up virtualisation war against VMware

26 Mar 2008

On its quest to become a US$5bn tech giant, software player Citrix believes its acquisition of virtualisation player XenSource paved the way for a new deal with the world’s biggest tech firm, HP.

Citrix believes a similar deal the company has recently made with Dell also provided the perfect cement for the arrangement with HP.

John Glendenning (pictured), European server virtualisation sales vice-president at Citrix told that a new strategic deal with HP, which has 35pc of the world’s server market, will provide his firm with the required impetus to capture a significant share of the emerging virtualisation battlefield.

Last August, Citrix acquired fast-growing software player XenSource for US$607m.

XenSource was founded only in January last year and prior to the Citrix acquisition had already signed up 500 enterprise customers in that time. The company was building an independent software vendor (ISV) ecosystem that was threatening VMware’s dominance.

At present, virtualisation, which is tipped to provide CIOs with better utilisation of IT assets, accounts for only 6pc of the installed base of servers. “This is changing rapidly,” says Glendenning. “Around 9pc of servers currently shipping have virtualisation capabilities and growing.”

In the deal due to be announced today, Citrix has signed a strategic development and distribution agreement with HP to integrate an enhanced version of Citrix XenServer into 64-bit HP ProLiant Servers.

The new product features an easy-to-use graphical management console and is seamlessly integrated with the same HP Insight Control management software that is already used to administer HP ProLiant servers.

Glendenning says this will make it faster and easier for new and existing HP and Citrix customers to deploy and manage a virtualised environment.

“By jointly developing this with HP, we’ve raised the bar for virtualisation that goes beyond simply putting software on a server. This is also a major stamp of approval for Citrix because following a similar deal with Dell late last year, it gives us access to companies which control between them 50pc of the world’s servers.”

Asked if similar deals are in the offing with other server manufacturers, Glendenning explained that businesses using IBM and Fujitsu Siemens servers are already using Citrix XenSource software.

“The deals with HP and Dell wouldn’t be mutually exclusive. At the same time, I wouldn’t say we have 100pc of the market covered as server manufacturing requires a lot of testing. Of course, we would love all major manufacturers to deliver XenServer in the same way, and while we are in discussions with manufacturers we aren’t making any additional announcements yet.

“The great news for the channel is we are going to create a fertile ground for it to deploy more complex IT environments and see virtualisation more broadly adopted across the organisation.”

Glendenning added that with the release of XenServer 4.1 Platinum edition, a new problem haunting CIOs will be resolved.

“Some CIOs who have rolled out virtualisation have seen their storage requirements increase five-fold, but we believe version 4.1 resolves that issue,” Glendenning concluded.

By John Kennedy