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February 23, 2009

Microsoft/Citrix combo prime Hyper-V tools

Better storage, provisioning management

By CBR Staff Writer

Citrix Systems Inc is to give a boost to the storage and provisioning capabilities of the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V virtualisation platform with a product bundle that will be known as Citrix Essentials.

“Citrix and Microsoft have a long track record of working together to add value on top of the Windows platform,” said Frank Artale, a group VP at Citrix Systems. 

The premiere feature of the release would be in the way Essentials powered Hyper-V set-ups could begin to manage all the native power of existing array-based storage systems. “At the moment, it doesn’t know an awful lot about storage, there’s some basic support for networked storage, but it doesn’t really understand shared storage” Artale explained of Hyper-V virtualisation.

Citrix today said that Advanced Storage Integration using Citrix StorageLink technology makes it easy for Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center customers to fully leverage all the native power of their existing array-based storage systems. 

Citrix Essentials makes storage more visible and allows integration with shared storage systems, Artale said. “It adds software layer on top of Hyper-V which allows all the features of storage to be used by the Hyper-V administrator, so they can better manage disk space in a storage array, or provision a virtual machine.”

Various dynamic provisioning services also come as part of the Citrix Essential release, which let administrators centrally manage a common set of master images, which can be streamed on-demand into Hyper-V virtual machines or physical servers. 

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“By working against a library of images, administrators will find they can speed the whole provisioning process” he said. It is another way that the deployment administration of virtualisation would be finessed with the new product set.

Citrix Essentials will be developed to work on top of both Microsoft’s Hyper-V software and Citrix’s own XenServer hypervisor system.

Microsoft said it will work to ensure that a future release of Microsoft System Center will support Citrix XenServer for customers with mixed Hyper-V and XenServer environments. “More customers have a desire to run both hypervisors” Artale explained. Both editions would be priced at $1,500 to $5,000 per server, depending on features.

The announcement represents the next step in partnering between the two companies, Artale added, and would mean that Microsoft’s Systems Center Machine Manager software would be able to be leveraged in Citrix XenServer environments.

The announcement came just ahead of the opening of the big European VMware shindig, and the Citrix Essentials products will become available through both vendor channels come April.

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